Why Critical Thinking?
Students always make assumption about everything. They sometimes assume that their teachers are very mean to them, school life is boring, The subjects they are learning do not mean to them. They are just passive to what their teachers give to them They do not even ask about what happen in the country or in the world.
The worst thing happens when they just follow what happen around them, without asking. They join in the activities that might be dangerous to them, they feel they have to follow what their friend do. No reason for that.
What happen if we just keep teaching these students without thinking what will be the result. There will be two possibilities if school keep ‘silent’ about it :
Students will became naïve, conformist, manipulated, inflexible, easily confused ( that is why they are easily influenced by others ), narrow minded
- They just think about their own interest, not being the independent thinker, just follow the situation
As an educator, we do not want to have these kinds of students. Their quality of life should be good. Their life precisely depends on what they think. They should have responsibilities to what they are doing, but we should give them opportunity to have critical thinking, and of course it is a long process, need guidance and a step by step program.
What is Critical Thinking ?
There are some definitions of critical thinking. But here is the simple one. Critical thinking is intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating information gathered from or generated by observation, experience, reflection, reasoning or communication.
It means that we, as an educator, should bring our students to question what they see, what they hear, and think about it, and rethink again about their thinking until they make their thinking better.
When students are learning about money in maths, then they can ask about :
Why should I study money ? How can I use it in my real life ?
- What is the implication about money in my life ? How can I use money in efficient way ?
- Why there are some people who treat money as their first priority? How about me?
The questions that might arise is the part of critical thinking process. Students are expected to have deep understanding about what they are learning, but the most important thing is that they are trying to search the value of the subject.
Critical thinking is about emotion, too. It will decide whether they are open minded or not. The emotion will effect the thinking. When students are using their critical thinking, it means that they are using the both side of their brain , left and right side, which have something to do with the emotion and the logic. That make the process powerful. When they think critically, they are asking themselves, questioning their own biases.
In critical thinking process, students have to use rules or standard, which will ask them to think according to criteria or logic. The last thing is, but still important, if the students use critical thinking in their lives, they will have to think using different points of view or multiple perspectives. All of these things will relate to their behaviour.
How Do We Introduce ‘ Critical Thinking’ to Students?
As it is a long and a step by step process, teacher should give as much possible as the students can do in any occasions.
Asking, asking and asking some questions
Let the students ask about everything they see, they hear or they experience. The deep and essential questions will come up by practice. Asking questions means that they show their own curiousity. They should be active participants in any lessons.
Answering questions by reasoning them out
This part is very important. Students find the reason to answer the questions. Many aspects will come to the process. The students have to find the out first the issue, then try to have the purpose why we have the reason, what is the goal, then can be followed by having the assumption, and think about the effect, cost and benefit. Searching information or data to support the assumption is very important. Students should know their concept in reasoning to help them to conclude.
Critical thinking standard
Critical thinking should be done well. The standard of it should be given to the students, which, again, introduced step by step.
- The students should realize that their thinking is clear so there is no misunderstanding.
- The statement should be true, accurate
- How important or relevant is the thinking ?. Student can list the focus
- Let students decide if the evidence is enough, questions have been addressed sufficiently
- How deep and broad student reason the questions ?
- How precise are their reason ?
Collaborative learning is very helpful in enhancing the critical thinking in the classroom. Students can discuss or talk with peer. They can learn the differences coming from their friends during the talking, and it is very useful to them.
Make the students get used to use the six domain of taxonomy bloom : knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. These levels are very useful to the critical thinking skill development.
Giving ‘dilemma’ to discuss is a very good way to do in the classroom to help the students develop their skills.
Students as Critical Thinker
When the school is trying to develop their students’ critical thinking, teacher will see some important points from them, they become :
Open minded person, not selfish, flexible
- Truth searcher, always find information to seek the truth
- Logic person, think logically
- Balanced personality, since they use their both side of the brain : emotion and logic
- Responsible citizen. They have social responsibility.
Teacher as a Model
Teacher has an important role in developing critical thinking skills. The students will not have good skills if the teacher does not model what is a good critical thinker is. Teacher should show it in any aspects and anytime. Since it is a long process, the model is essential and will give effect to the students.
The school society is actually responsible with the process and should build supportive environment to the students.