Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Teaching critical thinking skills

I taught critical thinking as adjunct online professor for several years. Critical thinking isn’t about focusing on rhetorical devices and mnemonics, it’s about helping students make connections with the real-world. To help students evaluate information that is presented to them from a different view point. With these skills we create a better world, a better understanding of it, and empathy.

How do I teach critical thinking skills to my high students today?

Every day students walk into my class and have a bell-ringer or warm-up exercise waiting for them on the board. Once a week, that warm-up has a current event or world event discussion.

Some of the recent discussions:
  1. View this YouTube video . Give your opinion on whether or not you would like to live with a tiger and why. Would this be allowed in our state? Why or why not? Why is it allowed there?
  2. Seattle Gum Wall Clean-up. After 20 years of tourists traveling to this place and putting their gum on the wall, it is being cleaned up. Give your opinion.

Once students have posted their responses in either Google Classroom, Twitter, or both, we then have an in class discussion of the topic. For example, is the gum wall gross or art, why? What makes something art?

None of these questions have one answer. They’re open-ended questions that get kids thinking, talking, and caring about the world around them.

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