Critical thinking is the analysis, interpretation, evaluation, summarizing and synthesising of the information that is presented to us everyday. We are able to consciously and unconsciously process information and draw our own conclusions about its validity, authenticity, accuracy and usefulness. Critical thinkers don’t take all information presented to them for granted, and they often ask “Why?” a lot.
Regular reflective thinking gives students opportunities to practice and improve their critical thinking. They can think about what they know, how they know, what they need to know, and what they can do to find out that information.
Critical thinkers are able to observe issues and problems from others points of view, are open minded and willing to consider new information and evidence. After collecting a range of information from varied sources, critical thinkers are able to reconsider their position and are more flexible in negotiations.
Students that are confident critical thinkers are also able to infer meaning and information from texts; a high level comprehension skill by performing a synthesis of information from the book and from their own experiences and prior knowledge.
Working and learning in an inquiry method requires that students are able to employ critical thinking skills to enable them to understand different information sources, synthesize information from a variety of sources, and then develop further questions to progress their inquiry.
To be citizens of the 21st Century, students need robust critical thinking skills to enable them to make effective and efficient use of the information that is available to them.