Critical thinking is a term that is commonly discussed within the educational community referring to the learning, thought, and analysis that goes a stage further beyond surface-level memorisation and factual recall. Critical thinking skills revolve around being able to effectively analyse, interpret and synthesise information enabling students to form developed arguments.
The ability to form reasoned arguments is a key skill needed in everyday adult life, facilitating discussions of ideas and the ability to further responded to counter-arguments. This required skill set can be seen throughout aspects of everyday life including cultural applications and the ability to distinguish and understand different people’s points of view. Critical thinking falls under the umbrella of the 21st-century skills movement, applicable in both an educational and career setting, looking to prepare students with characteristics for future life.
As critical thinking is a loose term used to describe a broad skillset, standardised testing sometimes fails to test critical thinking skills to the same extent of factual retention and recall. This is largely due to the difficulty in quantifying critical thinking skills. However, they can be identified throughout mark schemes as the ability to form a coherent argument and effective problem-solving. These skills can be seen to be needed across a range of subjects for example Mathematics requires critical thinking skills, utilising deductive reasoning. Whereas, English language requires the ability to identify which elements of the text are beneficial when informational reading.
Content is becoming increasingly accessible due to the apparent increase in the role of technology within society, meaning that information is no longer having to be recalled outside of the classroom, instead it is a Google search away. Students need to have problem-solving skills which allow them to question evidence present by Google search and provide a new outlook to a specific problem.
In 2011, statistics were released stating that 75% of employers claim that the students they hire after 12,16 or more years of formal education were incapable of thinking critically and solving problems. This not only suggests that the education system is overlooking key critical thinking skills but also that employers are actively seeking critical thinkers. Students with critical thinking skills become more independent and self-directed learners and this is translated into the workplace.
At Crescent Tuition, all our tutors understand the need to foster critical thinking skills and actively facilitate students forming arguments and solving problems. These skills will be vital for the academic and professional development of all students.