Critical Thinking Skills

 Critical Thinking is…

…derived from the ancient Greek word Kritikos meaning questioning. Universal scholarly agreement is based on the understanding that it is the higher order cognitive skills of analysing, evaluating and creating to determine merit, affirm true worth and assess validity in any discourse. Criticality is an essential tool of inquiry and reflects the ability of taking responsibility of one’s mind through initiating self-reflective discussion of always asking for clarification, questioning beliefs or theories and drawing open-minded conclusions.

Wilson (2018) Academic English UK.

Critical thinking definitions from universities

 

Critical thinking is a systematic evaluation of the arguments, ideas and theories of others. The basic premise of critical thinking involves asking critical questions to form an educated opinion of whether or not those resources are credible’ (Stanford University, 2018).

 

Critical thinking consists of three elements: a capacity to spot weakness in other arguments, a passion for good evidence, and a capacity to reflect on your own views and values with an eye to possibly change them’ (Harvard University, 2018).

 

Critical thinking is the art of making clear, reasoned judgements based on interpreting, understanding, applying and synthesising evidence gathered from observation, reading and experimentation’ (The University of Edinburgh, 2020).

 

‘To think critically is to examine ideas, evaluate them against what you already know and make decisions about their merit. The aim of critical thinking is to try to maintain an ‘objective’ position. When you think critically, you weigh up all sides of an argument and evaluate its strengths and weaknesses’ (The Open University, 2008).

 

Thinking critically means asking questions. Instead of accepting ‘at face value’ what you read or hear, critical thinkers look for evidence and for good reasons before believing something to be true. This is at the heart of what it means to be a scientist, researcher, scholar or professional in any field. Whatever you are studying, critical thinking is the key to learning and to making progress’ (Plymouth University, 2010).

 

Critical thinking is a key skill that should be applied to all aspects of your studies. As a university student, you need to be able to think critically about the resources and information you use in your work. You need to ask the right questions when reading the work of others; your writing needs to show you have the ability to weigh up different arguments and perspectives and use evidence to help you form your own opinions, arguments, theories and ideas. Critical thinking is about questioning and learning with an open mind’ (Leeds  University, 2017).

 

Dictogloss – a critical thinking definition

 

Dictogloss: Critical Thinking

The basic history of critical thinking, the main words associated with it and its importance.Key Language: Verb + noun collocations / critical thinking terminologyLevel: ***** [C1]   /  TEACHER MEMBERSHIP 

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Academic Listening Test by AEUK

  

Critical Thinking: an introduction – Lecture Listening Lesson (new 2020)

This lecture focuses on critical thinking at university. It includes a definition, alternative thinking styles, Bloom’s taxonomy and how to apply analysing and evaluation questions to reading and writing. It includes a video, test questions, tapescript and PPT (example).  Level ***** [B2/C1] / PPT link in download /  Video [10.00]   / MEMBERSHIP 

Reading: analysing a text

 

Critical thinking – reading text analysis (new for 2020)

A great lesson for developing and practising critical thinking skills. It is a 400-word text on ‘going to university’ with over 15 possible problems. Students use the higher level thinking skills of analysis and evaluation to examine, question and critique the textExample.  Level: ***** [B1/B2/C1]  MEMBERSHIP

 

Speaking: critical thinking discussion

 

Critical Speaking – 8 questions most people get wrong! (new for 2020)

A great lesson for highlighting facts over opinions. This lesson asks students to discuss 8 questions based around a variety of topics. The lesson is based on research by Hans Rosling a UN advisor, professor of international health and medical physician, who argues many people have an over-dramatic world view that its not based on facts. The lesson includes factual data from the World Bank and UN to support all answers. Example.  Level: ***** [C1 – High level]  MEMBERSHIP

Listening on the theory of higher thinking skills.

 

Bloom’s Taxonomy – higher-order thinking skills (new for 2020) LSU Centre for Academic Success

This short video provides a brief overview of Bloom’s taxonomy: classification of learning levels. It discusses each level but pays particular attention to the higher levels of analysing, evaluating and creating. It is a nice introduction to the theory of critical thinking. Example. Level: ***** [B2/C1]  /  Video [3.51]  / MEMBERSHIP

   

Critical Thinking: Bloom’s taxonomy cue questions

This information sheet provides a set of cue questions for each level of the taxonomy. A very helpful resource to accompany the theory of Bloom’s classification of thinking levels. 

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TED Talks Listening Worksheets

 

5 tips to improve critical thinking (new for 2020) Samantha Agoos

TED TALK: This lecture discusses briefly what is critical thinking and five key strategies to apply to improve critical thinking. It is a good listening as an introduction to criticality. Example.  Level: ***** [B1/B2/C1]  /  Video [4:16]  / MEMBERSHIP

 

Would you sacrifice one person to save five? (new for 2020) Eleanor Nelson

TED TALK: This lecture discusses an ethical dilemma called ‘The Trolley Problem’ devised by Philippa Foot (1967). It highlights why this type of ethical analysis is important in contemporary society. Example.  Level: ***** [B1/B2/C1]  /  Video [4:35]  / MEMBERSHIP

Critical Thinking PDF Lesson Book

 

Critical Thinking Lesson PDF Book

AMAZING VALUE – Five lessons in one book. Introduction, definition, text analysis reading, lecture listening test, and speaking discussion. Example[TEACHER MEMBERSHIP]

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Questioning worksheets

   

Critical Thinking: questions to support critical reading 

This information sheet provides a range of questions that should be applied when reading any academic text. The answers to these question should be then applied in writing. 

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Critical Thinking: cheat sheet infographic

This is a simple infographic offering questions that work to develop critical thinking on any given topic. Whenever your students discover or talk about new information, encourage them to use these questions for sparking debate and the sharing of opinions and insights among each other.

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Critical Thinking: a linear question sheet

This information sheet shows the development of an argument: from description to analysis and evaluation. It sets out a linear model of guiding questions that lead into each level of thinking (Plymouth University).

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Critical Thinking: Socratic questioning

This information sheet uses a range of socratic question under the topics of: clarifying, challenging, using evidence, exploring evidence, considering consequences and questioning the question (TES).

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AEUK Critical Thinking Perspectives 

Barriers to critical thinking

 

Critical Thinking: student barriers to being critical

This information sheet discusses seven key reasons why students struggle to apply critical thinking. From misunderstanding what is critical thinking to lacking confidence in critiquing experts.

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Summary – critical thinking is…

1) Identifying other people’s stance, arguments and conclusions.

2) Evaluating the evidence for different points of view.

3) Being able to read between the lines and identify false assumptions.

4) Recognising techniques used to make certain positions more appealing than others, such as false logic and persuasive devices.

5) Drawing conclusions about whether arguments are valid and justifiable, based on good evidence and sensible assumptions.

More digital resources and lessons

 

Readings

online resources

Tests

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dictogloss

online resources

New for 2020

online resources

Writing

online resources

Summary

online resources

Grammar

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Topic-lessons

online resources

Listening

online resources

Argument

online resources

Vocabulary

online resources

Critical Thinking

online resources

Speaking

online resources

SPSE Essays

online resources

Free

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AEUK The Blog

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