Critical Thinking – An important tool for skill development


Life skills are abilities that help an individual develop positive behaviour to deal with the challenges of daily life. Some of the key life skills are problem solving, critical thinking, empathy, communication and self-awareness.
Critical thinking is the process of evaluating an issue to arrive at a judgement. It involves:
  • Objective thinking – to think without being biased
  • Rational thinking – to think outside the box
  • Analytical thinking – to think by breaking down thoughts into numerous parts
Importance of critical thinking:
Apart from enabling a person to make informed decisions, critical thinking develops the ability of approaching a problem through various ways, to come up with a solution. Empathy and Time management is another crucial aspect that is developed. Critical thinking also enables a person to prioritise time and resources in an effective manner.
  • It helps in developing certain other skills like problem solving, listening and observation skills.
  • It helps students to connect ideas.
  • It helps students to construct and evaluate arguments.
  • It develops the reasoning capacity.
  • It helps to solve problems in a systematic manner.
  • It helps students to reflect on their own thoughts
  • It develops communication
Developing critical thinking:
Teachers can help students develop their critical thinking skills by –
  1. Asking questions that enable them to think better
Teachers can break the monotony by asking students questions that enable them to think better. Open ended questions are a good way to get the students thinking.
  1. Problem solving
Challenging the students with tricky/difficult problems will help them come up with newer solutions and will make them think outside the box.
  1. Creativity
Students can be encouraged to be their creative best. This works when they are not asked to adhere to certain procedures or standards.
  1. Working with peers
Students can be given assignments that involve teamwork and discussion. Working with peers will effectively improve cognitive process.
  1. Dramatization as an effective teaching aid
Teachers can encourage the students to come up with skits pertaining to certain topics from the syllabus. They can also be encouraged to come up with unique ways to deliver topics presented to them. Such tasks will help the students to stretch their thinking and develop critical thinking.
Critical thinking differs from person to person but can be developed over time. It is a valuable skill which can aid in the development of various other skills and help in the overall development of a person.

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