Critical Thinking is a buzz word at the moment. The aim is to turn children from instruction followers to instruction creators - guiding their own learning based on cleverly asked questions from the teacher. But how can critical thinking be integrated into the classroom and into the English curriculum? Below are five practical ideas to help develop bring out the critical thinker in your children
1) Problem based learning - Start the lesson off with a problem based question in which children have to solve the problem by the end of the lesson. A punctuation lesson could begin with 'Why don't my sentences make sense?' or 'How do I make my character speak?'
2) Regular group interaction - Talk partners is nothing new but allowing and planning for discussion moments can develop children's thought processes. For example, having a list of phrases and sentences on the board and then asking them to identify which ones make sense is a simple way of getting children to understand what a 'full sentence' requires.
3) Thinking Out Loud - Before children can begin to think through problems, model the thought process by thinking out loud. Perhaps even turn this process into a success criteria.
4) The ready made opinions - Flip a discussion on its head by asking a question and sharing two or three ready made opinions on the question. Give children the chance to discuss which opinion they agree with the most and why? For example, 'Lucy thinks the comma should be placed here but Peter believes the comma should be placed here, who do you agree with and why?'
5)The tailor made discussion activity - To help children develop critical thinking skills it is always worth basing some lessons and activities with the main purpose of developing these skills. For example, give children a variety of images of settings and a paragraph of a setting description. Ask the children, which image best represent the setting described. The more similar the images, the more discussion there will be.
If you have created a successful activity that has developed and used critical thinking skills, then please share it with the WAGOLL community by posting it below or on our Facebook or twitter pages.