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1. 30 Classroom Techniques That Encourage Critical Thinking

Adapted from The Miniature Guide for Those Who Teach on Practical Ways to Promote Active & Cooperative Learning by Wesley Hiler and Richard Paul (Sonoma State Univ.: Foundation for Critical Thinking, 2002) and Using Internet Primary Sources to Teach Critical Thinking Skills in History by Kathleen W. Craver (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1999)

  • 1.

    Start classes with a question: set up anticipation before class begins.

  • 2.

    Assign questions for them to answer about their reading: ʺexplain why and

how...

ʺ

  • 3.

    Give a 5minute quiz at the start of class (keeps students engaged).

  • 4.

    Use charts and graphics (visual learners abound).

  • 5.

    Have them play roles: give a speech as if they were the author of the document.

  • 6.

    Have them identify premises, assumptions and conclusions in todayʹs

newspaper.

7. Have them evaluate reasoning, evidence, and completeness in todayʹs newspaper.

  • 8.

    Use index cards to call on all students randomly.

  • 9.

    Make students figure things out in class (combine them into small groups to

discuss solutions).

  • 10.

    Interview each other and restate the other personʹs views to the class.

  • 11.

    Talk less; give them time to think about what youʹve said .

  • 12.

    Model critical thinking: think aloud on your feet in front of them.

  • 13.

    Use Socratic questioning: ʺWhat precisely do you mean?ʺ ʺHow do you

know?ʺ ʺWhat is your reason?ʺ ʺWhat else has to be true for that to be so?ʺ etc.

  • 14.

    Promote collaboration: have small groups solve problems and adopt positions.

  • 15.

    Use pyramid teaching: discuss in pairs, then small groups, then larger groups.

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