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3. Encouraging Critical Thinking through Assignment Instructions

Asking students to perform these specific skills on homework assignments, quizzes and tests will hone their thinking skills.

Explain how……. Explain why…… How are ….. and …. similar? How could …. be used to……? How do you know that….? How does ….. apply to everyday life? How does…. connect with what we have already learned from…..? If …. is true, what else is also probably true? List some reasons, in statements beginning, “Because…” Outline the reasoning (premises and conclusions) in…. Restate in your own words….. What are the implications of……? What are the strengths and weaknesses of….? What do we already know about……? What do you think causes…… Why? What does….. mean? What is a counterargument for……? What is a new example of……? What is another way to look at…….? What is being silently taken for granted here? What is some differences between ….. and ………? What is the nature of……? What would be the opposite viewpoint of…..? What would happen if……? Why do you think that ….? Why is ….. important?

For examples of questions such as these applied to historical documents see Part V, “20 Model Lessons Using Primary Sources from Wisconsin History”

adapted from “Comparison of SelfQuestioning, Summarizing and Notetaking Review as Strategies for Learning from Lectures,” by Alison King. American Educational Research Journal 29 (1992).

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