What is Critical Thinking and How Can Schools Improve it?

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Critical thinking is the ability to apply reasoning and logic to new, abstract or unfamiliar ideas. If we want to think critically we need to see things in an open-minded way. We need to examine ideas from as many angles as possible. In contrast, traditional intelligence is considered “knowing many things” and being an infinite resource of information. To “know” is important but it is certainly more important to measure what we “do” and how we can apply that knowledge in real life contexts.

International schools teach critical thinking from kindergarten through to University by shaping learning processes in ways that practice these skills. In contrast to learning that is driven by textbooks and raw content, teachers encourage students to learn through practical projects, writing assignments and solving problems. Knowledge is processed through an exploration and application of facts.

In international schools younger students are asked to “walk in other shoes” or consider how their lives would be different if they were born in another country or in a different time period. They are asked to identify new questions or what else they might like to know about new ideas and topics. These tasks push students to let go of what they currently know about the world around them and challenge them to consider other perspectives. Children will apply new ideas to their own lives or new contexts that test theories, beliefs and values.

At Kingsgate International School “Critical Thinking” is a high priority. We know that best practice early learning programs maximize learning through child centered learning environments.

CEO and Education Expert Greg Parry