16 Traits of a Essential Considering Classroom |
Features of a critical thinking classroom
from Terry Heick
The premise here is simple: to clarify what critical thinking might “look like” in the classroom. In other words, what are some indicators that rational thinking and careful, critical thinking are not only “visible” but part of a classroom’s culture.
In Critical thinking is a way of thinking, I said, “Just as mathematics can be called a type of language and science, critical thinking (while it is also a ‘way of thinking’) is first a state of mind – a willingness to do something both before and after another a colorful collection of requirements and premises and tendencies and cognitive deficiencies and finally even personality traits that manifest themselves when you read a book, hold a discussion, skim a headline or research an idea. “
I also discussed this idea in Teaching disruptively, when I said, “research-based learning (or critical thinking) that encourages students not only to” discover “a preselected poet they had in mind, but to find their own reasons for reading poetry – and then finding their own poets mostly by creating self-directed learners who can ask the right question at the right time within the right community to make the kind of change that will last. “
This concept has also appeared in dozens of other things I’ve written over the years by Features of high performing classrooms to Do you teach content or teach thoughts? to Correct the deficit in critical thinking when I wondered if maybe we should “create models of learning that require critical thinking – models of learning that cannot work if students (all students) are not thinking critically. This would be a row boat where everyone has to row and stops when someone stops rowing; alternatively, completely break up the boats so that each student has to row themselves.) Someone stops rowing; Alternatively, break the boats apart completely so that each student has to row themselves. “
Which brings us to this post. How do you know if your students are “thinking critically”? Of course, the answer depends on a myriad of factors, from the grade level and area of content you teach, to your relationships with students and the nature of your curriculum, units, lessons, and activities. However, below are a few examples that, if observed with some steadfastness, could be a good sign of your students thinking.
Beliefs and “attitudes” change when / as new data emerges.
The quality of knowledge and data is more important than an intellectual “attitude” of personal opinion.
Claims – made by teachers and students to the writers and experts who study them – must stand up to clinical and intellectual test in good faith.
Emotions are separate from reason. That is, they are viewed as effects of thoughts rather than being synonymous with thoughts or a similar test, application, affirmation, recognition, etc.
Unpredictability and “disruption” (of ideas, some planning, evaluation forms, traditional thought patterns, etc.)
‘Intellectual divergence’, where thinkers try to be in the company of evidence, truth, data and perspective and not emotionally (although sometimes that’s fine) but conceptually and intellectually from one another / you / authors, etc.
“Truth” is based on reason and affection rather than opinion and belief.
Learning is research-based and “thought-driven”, not curriculum-driven.
Students ask – and then improve – questions to advance lessons, projects, discussions, etc.
The language of reason is used: words and phrases that clarify and reinforce uncertainty and the need for more knowledge / data, stems of sentences that clarify positions or try to clarify others, neutral transitional statements, etc.
Literacy in errors and prejudices. This means that heuristics, cognitive biases and logical fallacies are discussed frequently and without “great prompting” and effort.
The legacy of ideas and their origin / momentum / confirmation / change over time in response to data and new thinking etc.
Humility. (This is the core of rational, critical thinking. Humility says, “I’m not sure,” or “I don’t know enough to have an educated opinion,” or “Let’s gather knowledge so we can reduce uncertainty.” )
Students ask more questions than the teacher.
Questions are valued over answers.
Questions are revised, updated, and revised.