How to Teach Thinking

You can’t ‘teach’ someone to be a creative or a critical thinker, however you can  support the development of those faculties to their fullest by consciously teaching thinking strategies and enhancing thinking skills. To teach thinking, the focus should be on the main thinking skills categories:

  • creative thinking
  • critical thinking and when the two are combined,
  • creative problem-solving

1. Creative thinking

Basically, coming up with new,  novel or original ideas and ways of doing things. (Edward de Bono’s green hat thinking performs the same function.) Looking at things from different perspectives.

Common process verbs: Imagine,Invent, change, design, create…

2. Critical thinking

Analysing and evaluating or judging information or data to find the right answer.

Common process verbs: analyse, break down, compare, categorise, list, sequence,rank…

3. Creative problem-solving

Using both analytical and creative thinking to solve problems and situations .New or creative thinking is always needed to solve a problem-you can’t rely on the same old thinking which got you into the problem, to get you out of it!
Common process verbs: improve, design, refine, find, invent criteria to, combine…

Do check out all the details outlined in our SPECIFIC STRATEGIES section!

For a detailed, practical guide, full of ready-to-use activities and worksheets to switch on the ideas in your students, see Jean Edwards book “How To Teach Thinking Skills  (just click) .

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