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14 Strategies to Help Students Improve Their Critical Thinking Skills

Matthew Lynch
Teaching Tips

Are you looking for strategies to help students improve their critical thinking skills? If so, keep reading.

1. Provide the learner duties that require logical thinking (e.g., designate the learner to water plants and give a watering can and a glass, telling the learner to use the most appropriate container, etc.).

2. Every day, give the learner problem-solving situations that require logical thinking (e.g., “A stranger takes you by the arm in a department store. What do you do?” “You see smoke coming out of a neighbor’s house and no one is home. What do you do?” etc.).

3. Make sure the learner experiences the consequences of their behavior (e.g., appropriate behavior results in positive consequences while unacceptable behavior results in negative consequences).

4. Give the learner a list of questions involving logic to answer orally (e.g., “Why do we post ‘wet’ paint signs?” “Why do we have stop signs at intersections?” “Why do we wear seat belts?” etc.).

5. On occasions where something is broken, lost, etc., have the learner find what could have been done to prevent the situation. Talk with the learner about the value of properly keeping and organizing learning materials.

6. Get the learner to read stories involving a moral (e.g., The Tortoise and the Hare, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, etc.) and explain the reason for the outcome of the story.

7. Get the learner to read short stories without endings and require the learner to create logical endings for the stories.

8. Provide the learner situations/images and have them explain what variables are related (e.g., “Snow is falling, and the wind is blowing: Is the temperature hot or cold? What should you wear outdoors?”).

9. Get the learner to sequence rearranged cartoon strips and explain the logic of the sequence they created.

10. Provide the learner fill-in-the-blank statements requiring an appropriate response from multiple-choice possibilities (e.g., “The boy’s dog was dirty, so the boy decided to give his dog a _ [ dog biscuit, bath, toy].”).

11. Present the learner with images of dangerous situations and have them explain why they are dangerous (e.g., a child running into the street from between parked cars, a child riding a bicycle without using their hands, etc.).

12. Utilize cause-and-effect relationships as they relate to nature and people. Talk about what led up to a specific situation in a story or an image and what could happen next, etc.

13. Consider using an education app designed to help students improve their critical thinking skills. Click here to view our list of recommended apps.

14. Consider using edtech to encourage students to work on their critical thinking skills. Here is an article that we wrote on the subject.