I typically ask them to record their personal reflections in writing, either working individually or in pairs; in the latter case, their task is to listen and record the reflections shared by their partner.Research has shown that one distinguishing characteristic of high-achieving college students is that they tend to reflect on their thought processes during learning and are aware of the cognitive strategies they use (Weinstein & Underwood, 1985).
When students think critically, they think deeply; they not only know the facts, but they take the additional step of going beyond the facts to do something with them.
Critical thinking involves reflecting on the information received, moving away from “surface” memorization and toward deeper levels of learning.
Furthermore, questions calling for factual recall are the type of questions that are least likely to promote student involvement.
In contrast, studies show that “open-ended” questions calling for divergent thinking (i.e., questions that allow for a variety of possible answers and encourage students to think at a deeper level than rote memory) are more effective in eliciting student responses than “closed” questions calling for convergent thinking (i.e., questions that require students to narrow-in or converge on one, and only one, correct answer) (Andrews, 1980; Bligh, 2000).
National surveys of college faculty reveal that their number-one instructional goal is to promote critical thinking (Milton, 1982; Stark et al., 1990), and national reports on the status of American higher education have consistently called for greater emphasis on the development of college students’ critical thinking skills (Association of American Colleges, 1985; National Institute of Education, 1984).
While the call for critical thinking has remained consistent since the early 1980s, there has been much less consistency in how critical thinking is defined or described by those who endorse it (Fisher & Scriven, 1997).
For instance, following a 25-year review of the critical thinking literature, Mc Millan concluded that, “What is lacking in the research is a common definition of critical thinking and a clear definition of the nature of an experience that should enhance critical thinking” (1987, p. Scholarly definitions of critical thinking have ranged from the very narrow—a well-reasoned evaluative judgment (King & Kitchener, 1994), to the very broad—all thinking that involves more than the mere acquisition and recall of factual information (Greeno, 1989).
In this article, I adopt a more inclusive definition of critical thinking that embraces all thought processes that are “deeper” than memorization and recall of factual information.
” I would argue that one criterion for determining the beauty of a question is its capacity for promoting deep, reflective thinking; in effect, it launches the learner on a quest for critical thinking.3.
Analysis: to break down or dissect information into its component parts in order to detect the relationship among the parts, or the relationship between the parts and the whole.