25 Critical Thinking Strategies For The Modern Learner

Critical thinking is the engine of learning.

Within this complex process or so many other relevant themes that contribute to learning: creativity, analysis, evaluation, innovation, application, and scores of other verbs from various learning taxonomies.

So the following infographic from Mentoring Minds┬áis immediately relevant to all educators, and students as well. It’s a bit of a mash of Habits of Mind, various 21st century learning frameworks, and the aforementioned learning taxonomies, promoting collaboration, problem-solving, and real-world connections (standard “critical thinking fare” with Habits of Mind-sounding phrases such as “Open-Mindedness”).

At the bottom, it pushes a bit further, however, offering 25 critical thinking strategies to help support progressive learning. While a few are a bit vague (#12 says to “Think critically daily,” and #17 is simply “Well-informed”), overall the graphic does pool together several important themes into a single image.

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  • The best to develop critical thinking is to engage in a classical education with language analysis (via Latin), syllogistic logic, and the analysis of literature. An added benefit is that it tends produce virtuous young people.

  • This is nonsense. It misses the most important steps for any true critical thinking:

    1. Understand that you are susceptible to all sorts of cognitive biases and therefore you should mistrust your impressions and understandings.
    2. Understand that, outside your field of expertise, and perhaps even within it, you are so ignorant you don’t even know what you don’t know.
    3. Have fewer opinions.
    4. Annihilate ideology as far as possible.

      • Why 4th graders, particularly? If I had asserted good career choices as a value, would you have shot back with “so 4th graders should choose good careers?” Putting aside the issue of whether even 4th graders can be indoctrinated into ideologies (as the father of a 4th grader I rather suspect they can), obviously the issue is more pertinent to adults.

        • My point is, your describing very advanced critical thinking strategies that fly in the face of a curriculum-delivered education–which is great, but only narrowly useful for K-12 practicing teachers.

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