Classroom Q&A

With larry ferlazzo.

In this EdWeek blog, an experiment in knowledge-gathering, Ferlazzo will address readers’ questions on classroom management, ELL instruction, lesson planning, and other issues facing teachers. Send your questions to [email protected]. Read more from this blog.

Eight Instructional Strategies for Promoting Critical Thinking

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

  • Share article

(This is the first post in a three-part series.)

The new question-of-the-week is:

What is critical thinking and how can we integrate it into the classroom?

This three-part series will explore what critical thinking is, if it can be specifically taught and, if so, how can teachers do so in their classrooms.

Today’s guests are Dara Laws Savage, Patrick Brown, Meg Riordan, Ph.D., and Dr. PJ Caposey. Dara, Patrick, and Meg were also guests on my 10-minute BAM! Radio Show . You can also find a list of, and links to, previous shows here.

You might also be interested in The Best Resources On Teaching & Learning Critical Thinking In The Classroom .

Current Events

Dara Laws Savage is an English teacher at the Early College High School at Delaware State University, where she serves as a teacher and instructional coach and lead mentor. Dara has been teaching for 25 years (career preparation, English, photography, yearbook, newspaper, and graphic design) and has presented nationally on project-based learning and technology integration:

There is so much going on right now and there is an overload of information for us to process. Did you ever stop to think how our students are processing current events? They see news feeds, hear news reports, and scan photos and posts, but are they truly thinking about what they are hearing and seeing?

I tell my students that my job is not to give them answers but to teach them how to think about what they read and hear. So what is critical thinking and how can we integrate it into the classroom? There are just as many definitions of critical thinking as there are people trying to define it. However, the Critical Think Consortium focuses on the tools to create a thinking-based classroom rather than a definition: “Shape the climate to support thinking, create opportunities for thinking, build capacity to think, provide guidance to inform thinking.” Using these four criteria and pairing them with current events, teachers easily create learning spaces that thrive on thinking and keep students engaged.

One successful technique I use is the FIRE Write. Students are given a quote, a paragraph, an excerpt, or a photo from the headlines. Students are asked to F ocus and respond to the selection for three minutes. Next, students are asked to I dentify a phrase or section of the photo and write for two minutes. Third, students are asked to R eframe their response around a specific word, phrase, or section within their previous selection. Finally, students E xchange their thoughts with a classmate. Within the exchange, students also talk about how the selection connects to what we are covering in class.

There was a controversial Pepsi ad in 2017 involving Kylie Jenner and a protest with a police presence. The imagery in the photo was strikingly similar to a photo that went viral with a young lady standing opposite a police line. Using that image from a current event engaged my students and gave them the opportunity to critically think about events of the time.

Here are the two photos and a student response:

F - Focus on both photos and respond for three minutes

In the first picture, you see a strong and courageous black female, bravely standing in front of two officers in protest. She is risking her life to do so. Iesha Evans is simply proving to the world she does NOT mean less because she is black … and yet officers are there to stop her. She did not step down. In the picture below, you see Kendall Jenner handing a police officer a Pepsi. Maybe this wouldn’t be a big deal, except this was Pepsi’s weak, pathetic, and outrageous excuse of a commercial that belittles the whole movement of people fighting for their lives.

I - Identify a word or phrase, underline it, then write about it for two minutes

A white, privileged female in place of a fighting black woman was asking for trouble. A struggle we are continuously fighting every day, and they make a mockery of it. “I know what will work! Here Mr. Police Officer! Drink some Pepsi!” As if. Pepsi made a fool of themselves, and now their already dwindling fan base continues to ever shrink smaller.

R - Reframe your thoughts by choosing a different word, then write about that for one minute

You don’t know privilege until it’s gone. You don’t know privilege while it’s there—but you can and will be made accountable and aware. Don’t use it for evil. You are not stupid. Use it to do something. Kendall could’ve NOT done the commercial. Kendall could’ve released another commercial standing behind a black woman. Anything!

Exchange - Remember to discuss how this connects to our school song project and our previous discussions?

This connects two ways - 1) We want to convey a strong message. Be powerful. Show who we are. And Pepsi definitely tried. … Which leads to the second connection. 2) Not mess up and offend anyone, as had the one alma mater had been linked to black minstrels. We want to be amazing, but we have to be smart and careful and make sure we include everyone who goes to our school and everyone who may go to our school.

As a final step, students read and annotate the full article and compare it to their initial response.

Using current events and critical-thinking strategies like FIRE writing helps create a learning space where thinking is the goal rather than a score on a multiple-choice assessment. Critical-thinking skills can cross over to any of students’ other courses and into life outside the classroom. After all, we as teachers want to help the whole student be successful, and critical thinking is an important part of navigating life after they leave our classrooms.



Patrick Brown is the executive director of STEM and CTE for the Fort Zumwalt school district in Missouri and an experienced educator and author :

Planning for critical thinking focuses on teaching the most crucial science concepts, practices, and logical-thinking skills as well as the best use of instructional time. One way to ensure that lessons maintain a focus on critical thinking is to focus on the instructional sequence used to teach.

Explore-before-explain teaching is all about promoting critical thinking for learners to better prepare students for the reality of their world. What having an explore-before-explain mindset means is that in our planning, we prioritize giving students firsthand experiences with data, allow students to construct evidence-based claims that focus on conceptual understanding, and challenge students to discuss and think about the why behind phenomena.

Just think of the critical thinking that has to occur for students to construct a scientific claim. 1) They need the opportunity to collect data, analyze it, and determine how to make sense of what the data may mean. 2) With data in hand, students can begin thinking about the validity and reliability of their experience and information collected. 3) They can consider what differences, if any, they might have if they completed the investigation again. 4) They can scrutinize outlying data points for they may be an artifact of a true difference that merits further exploration of a misstep in the procedure, measuring device, or measurement. All of these intellectual activities help them form more robust understanding and are evidence of their critical thinking.

In explore-before-explain teaching, all of these hard critical-thinking tasks come before teacher explanations of content. Whether we use discovery experiences, problem-based learning, and or inquiry-based activities, strategies that are geared toward helping students construct understanding promote critical thinking because students learn content by doing the practices valued in the field to generate knowledge.


An Issue of Equity

Meg Riordan, Ph.D., is the chief learning officer at The Possible Project, an out-of-school program that collaborates with youth to build entrepreneurial skills and mindsets and provides pathways to careers and long-term economic prosperity. She has been in the field of education for over 25 years as a middle and high school teacher, school coach, college professor, regional director of N.Y.C. Outward Bound Schools, and director of external research with EL Education:

Although critical thinking often defies straightforward definition, most in the education field agree it consists of several components: reasoning, problem-solving, and decisionmaking, plus analysis and evaluation of information, such that multiple sides of an issue can be explored. It also includes dispositions and “the willingness to apply critical-thinking principles, rather than fall back on existing unexamined beliefs, or simply believe what you’re told by authority figures.”

Despite variation in definitions, critical thinking is nonetheless promoted as an essential outcome of students’ learning—we want to see students and adults demonstrate it across all fields, professions, and in their personal lives. Yet there is simultaneously a rationing of opportunities in schools for students of color, students from under-resourced communities, and other historically marginalized groups to deeply learn and practice critical thinking.

For example, many of our most underserved students often spend class time filling out worksheets, promoting high compliance but low engagement, inquiry, critical thinking, or creation of new ideas. At a time in our world when college and careers are critical for participation in society and the global, knowledge-based economy, far too many students struggle within classrooms and schools that reinforce low-expectations and inequity.

If educators aim to prepare all students for an ever-evolving marketplace and develop skills that will be valued no matter what tomorrow’s jobs are, then we must move critical thinking to the forefront of classroom experiences. And educators must design learning to cultivate it.

So, what does that really look like?

Unpack and define critical thinking

To understand critical thinking, educators need to first unpack and define its components. What exactly are we looking for when we speak about reasoning or exploring multiple perspectives on an issue? How does problem-solving show up in English, math, science, art, or other disciplines—and how is it assessed? At Two Rivers, an EL Education school, the faculty identified five constructs of critical thinking, defined each, and created rubrics to generate a shared picture of quality for teachers and students. The rubrics were then adapted across grade levels to indicate students’ learning progressions.

At Avenues World School, critical thinking is one of the Avenues World Elements and is an enduring outcome embedded in students’ early experiences through 12th grade. For instance, a kindergarten student may be expected to “identify cause and effect in familiar contexts,” while an 8th grader should demonstrate the ability to “seek out sufficient evidence before accepting a claim as true,” “identify bias in claims and evidence,” and “reconsider strongly held points of view in light of new evidence.”

When faculty and students embrace a common vision of what critical thinking looks and sounds like and how it is assessed, educators can then explicitly design learning experiences that call for students to employ critical-thinking skills. This kind of work must occur across all schools and programs, especially those serving large numbers of students of color. As Linda Darling-Hammond asserts , “Schools that serve large numbers of students of color are least likely to offer the kind of curriculum needed to ... help students attain the [critical-thinking] skills needed in a knowledge work economy. ”

So, what can it look like to create those kinds of learning experiences?

Designing experiences for critical thinking

After defining a shared understanding of “what” critical thinking is and “how” it shows up across multiple disciplines and grade levels, it is essential to create learning experiences that impel students to cultivate, practice, and apply these skills. There are several levers that offer pathways for teachers to promote critical thinking in lessons:

1.Choose Compelling Topics: Keep it relevant

A key Common Core State Standard asks for students to “write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.” That might not sound exciting or culturally relevant. But a learning experience designed for a 12th grade humanities class engaged learners in a compelling topic— policing in America —to analyze and evaluate multiple texts (including primary sources) and share the reasoning for their perspectives through discussion and writing. Students grappled with ideas and their beliefs and employed deep critical-thinking skills to develop arguments for their claims. Embedding critical-thinking skills in curriculum that students care about and connect with can ignite powerful learning experiences.

2. Make Local Connections: Keep it real

At The Possible Project , an out-of-school-time program designed to promote entrepreneurial skills and mindsets, students in a recent summer online program (modified from in-person due to COVID-19) explored the impact of COVID-19 on their communities and local BIPOC-owned businesses. They learned interviewing skills through a partnership with Everyday Boston , conducted virtual interviews with entrepreneurs, evaluated information from their interviews and local data, and examined their previously held beliefs. They created blog posts and videos to reflect on their learning and consider how their mindsets had changed as a result of the experience. In this way, we can design powerful community-based learning and invite students into productive struggle with multiple perspectives.

3. Create Authentic Projects: Keep it rigorous

At Big Picture Learning schools, students engage in internship-based learning experiences as a central part of their schooling. Their school-based adviser and internship-based mentor support them in developing real-world projects that promote deeper learning and critical-thinking skills. Such authentic experiences teach “young people to be thinkers, to be curious, to get from curiosity to creation … and it helps students design a learning experience that answers their questions, [providing an] opportunity to communicate it to a larger audience—a major indicator of postsecondary success.” Even in a remote environment, we can design projects that ask more of students than rote memorization and that spark critical thinking.

Our call to action is this: As educators, we need to make opportunities for critical thinking available not only to the affluent or those fortunate enough to be placed in advanced courses. The tools are available, let’s use them. Let’s interrogate our current curriculum and design learning experiences that engage all students in real, relevant, and rigorous experiences that require critical thinking and prepare them for promising postsecondary pathways.


Critical Thinking & Student Engagement

Dr. PJ Caposey is an award-winning educator, keynote speaker, consultant, and author of seven books who currently serves as the superintendent of schools for the award-winning Meridian CUSD 223 in northwest Illinois. You can find PJ on most social-media platforms as MCUSDSupe:

When I start my keynote on student engagement, I invite two people up on stage and give them each five paper balls to shoot at a garbage can also conveniently placed on stage. Contestant One shoots their shot, and the audience gives approval. Four out of 5 is a heckuva score. Then just before Contestant Two shoots, I blindfold them and start moving the garbage can back and forth. I usually try to ensure that they can at least make one of their shots. Nobody is successful in this unfair environment.

I thank them and send them back to their seats and then explain that this little activity was akin to student engagement. While we all know we want student engagement, we are shooting at different targets. More importantly, for teachers, it is near impossible for them to hit a target that is moving and that they cannot see.

Within the world of education and particularly as educational leaders, we have failed to simplify what student engagement looks like, and it is impossible to define or articulate what student engagement looks like if we cannot clearly articulate what critical thinking is and looks like in a classroom. Because, simply, without critical thought, there is no engagement.

The good news here is that critical thought has been defined and placed into taxonomies for decades already. This is not something new and not something that needs to be redefined. I am a Bloom’s person, but there is nothing wrong with DOK or some of the other taxonomies, either. To be precise, I am a huge fan of Daggett’s Rigor and Relevance Framework. I have used that as a core element of my practice for years, and it has shaped who I am as an instructional leader.

So, in order to explain critical thought, a teacher or a leader must familiarize themselves with these tried and true taxonomies. Easy, right? Yes, sort of. The issue is not understanding what critical thought is; it is the ability to integrate it into the classrooms. In order to do so, there are a four key steps every educator must take.

  • Integrating critical thought/rigor into a lesson does not happen by chance, it happens by design. Planning for critical thought and engagement is much different from planning for a traditional lesson. In order to plan for kids to think critically, you have to provide a base of knowledge and excellent prompts to allow them to explore their own thinking in order to analyze, evaluate, or synthesize information.
  • SIDE NOTE – Bloom’s verbs are a great way to start when writing objectives, but true planning will take you deeper than this.


  • If the questions and prompts given in a classroom have correct answers or if the teacher ends up answering their own questions, the lesson will lack critical thought and rigor.
  • Script five questions forcing higher-order thought prior to every lesson. Experienced teachers may not feel they need this, but it helps to create an effective habit.
  • If lessons are rigorous and assessments are not, students will do well on their assessments, and that may not be an accurate representation of the knowledge and skills they have mastered. If lessons are easy and assessments are rigorous, the exact opposite will happen. When deciding to increase critical thought, it must happen in all three phases of the game: planning, instruction, and assessment.


  • To increase rigor, the teacher must DO LESS. This feels counterintuitive but is accurate. Rigorous lessons involving tons of critical thought must allow for students to work on their own, collaborate with peers, and connect their ideas. This cannot happen in a silent room except for the teacher talking. In order to increase rigor, decrease talk time and become comfortable with less control. Asking questions and giving prompts that lead to no true correct answer also means less control. This is a tough ask for some teachers. Explained differently, if you assign one assignment and get 30 very similar products, you have most likely assigned a low-rigor recipe. If you assign one assignment and get multiple varied products, then the students have had a chance to think deeply, and you have successfully integrated critical thought into your classroom.


Thanks to Dara, Patrick, Meg, and PJ for their contributions!

Please feel free to leave a comment with your reactions to the topic or directly to anything that has been said in this post.

Consider contributing a question to be answered in a future post. You can send one to me at [email protected] . When you send it in, let me know if I can use your real name if it’s selected or if you’d prefer remaining anonymous and have a pseudonym in mind.

You can also contact me on Twitter at @Larryferlazzo .

Education Week has published a collection of posts from this blog, along with new material, in an e-book form. It’s titled Classroom Management Q&As: Expert Strategies for Teaching .

Just a reminder; you can subscribe and receive updates from this blog via email (The RSS feed for this blog, and for all Ed Week articles, has been changed by the new redesign—new ones won’t be available until February). And if you missed any of the highlights from the first nine years of this blog, you can see a categorized list below.

  • This Year’s Most Popular Q&A Posts
  • Race & Racism in Schools
  • School Closures & the Coronavirus Crisis
  • Classroom-Management Advice
  • Best Ways to Begin the School Year
  • Best Ways to End the School Year
  • Student Motivation & Social-Emotional Learning
  • Implementing the Common Core
  • Facing Gender Challenges in Education
  • Teaching Social Studies
  • Cooperative & Collaborative Learning
  • Using Tech in the Classroom
  • Student Voices
  • Parent Engagement in Schools
  • Teaching English-Language Learners
  • Reading Instruction
  • Writing Instruction
  • Education Policy Issues
  • Differentiating Instruction
  • Math Instruction
  • Science Instruction
  • Advice for New Teachers
  • Author Interviews
  • Entering the Teaching Profession
  • The Inclusive Classroom
  • Learning & the Brain
  • Administrator Leadership
  • Teacher Leadership
  • Relationships in Schools
  • Professional Development
  • Instructional Strategies
  • Best of Classroom Q&A
  • Professional Collaboration
  • Classroom Organization
  • Mistakes in Education
  • Project-Based Learning

I am also creating a Twitter list including all contributors to this column .

The opinions expressed in Classroom Q&A With Larry Ferlazzo are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Sign Up for EdWeek Update

Edweek top school jobs.

Tight cropped photo of a young professional male using a smartphone which is illuminated with floating social media icons above.

Sign Up & Sign In

module image 9

Center for Teaching

Teaching problem solving.

Print Version

Tips and Techniques

Expert vs. novice problem solvers, communicate.

  • Have students  identify specific problems, difficulties, or confusions . Don’t waste time working through problems that students already understand.
  • If students are unable to articulate their concerns, determine where they are having trouble by  asking them to identify the specific concepts or principles associated with the problem.
  • In a one-on-one tutoring session, ask the student to  work his/her problem out loud . This slows down the thinking process, making it more accurate and allowing you to access understanding.
  • When working with larger groups you can ask students to provide a written “two-column solution.” Have students write up their solution to a problem by putting all their calculations in one column and all of their reasoning (in complete sentences) in the other column. This helps them to think critically about their own problem solving and helps you to more easily identify where they may be having problems. Two-Column Solution (Math) Two-Column Solution (Physics)

Encourage Independence

  • Model the problem solving process rather than just giving students the answer. As you work through the problem, consider how a novice might struggle with the concepts and make your thinking clear
  • Have students work through problems on their own. Ask directing questions or give helpful suggestions, but  provide only minimal assistance and only when needed to overcome obstacles.
  • Don’t fear  group work ! Students can frequently help each other, and talking about a problem helps them think more critically about the steps needed to solve the problem. Additionally, group work helps students realize that problems often have multiple solution strategies, some that might be more effective than others

Be sensitive

  • Frequently, when working problems, students are unsure of themselves. This lack of confidence may hamper their learning. It is important to recognize this when students come to us for help, and to give each student some feeling of mastery. Do this by providing  positive reinforcement to let students know when they have mastered a new concept or skill.

Encourage Thoroughness and Patience

  • Try to communicate that  the process is more important than the answer so that the student learns that it is OK to not have an instant solution. This is learned through your acceptance of his/her pace of doing things, through your refusal to let anxiety pressure you into giving the right answer, and through your example of problem solving through a step-by step process.

Experts (teachers) in a particular field are often so fluent in solving problems from that field that they can find it difficult to articulate the problem solving principles and strategies they use to novices (students) in their field because these principles and strategies are second nature to the expert. To teach students problem solving skills,  a teacher should be aware of principles and strategies of good problem solving in his or her discipline .

The mathematician George Polya captured the problem solving principles and strategies he used in his discipline in the book  How to Solve It: A New Aspect of Mathematical Method (Princeton University Press, 1957). The book includes  a summary of Polya’s problem solving heuristic as well as advice on the teaching of problem solving.

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

Teaching Guides

  • Online Course Development Resources
  • Principles & Frameworks
  • Pedagogies & Strategies
  • Reflecting & Assessing
  • Challenges & Opportunities
  • Populations & Contexts

Quick Links

  • Services for Departments and Schools
  • Examples of Online Instructional Modules Engaging, transformative videos, podcasts, news stories for the e-Learning, EdTech community

  • All Articles
  • Education Technology
  • Industry News
  • Op-Ed Submission Guidelines
  • Write For Us

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

How to Promote Critical Thinking in the Classroom

By elearning inside, february 05, 2024.

Promoting critical thinking is an essential goal in education, equipping students with problem-solving skills that extend beyond the classroom. In this article, we’ll explore practical strategies for teachers and schools to foster critical thinking among students.

Fostering a Growth Mindset

Encouraging a growth mindset is fundamental to promoting critical thinking. Teachers can cultivate this mindset by praising effort rather than innate abilities.

When students understand that their abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work, they are more likely to embrace challenges and think critically to overcome obstacles.

Questioning Techniques

One of the most effective ways to promote critical thinking is through questioning. Teachers can employ various questioning techniques to stimulate thought, such as Socratic questioning.

By asking open-ended questions that require students to think deeply, analyze, and evaluate, teachers can guide students to explore complex issues and construct well-reasoned responses.

Real-World Problem Solving

Incorporating real-world problem-solving scenarios into the curriculum can provide students with practical opportunities to apply critical thinking. These problems can range from scientific experiments to ethical dilemmas, encouraging students to assess situations, weigh evidence, and make informed decisions.

Encouraging group collaboration on these tasks can further enhance critical thinking by promoting different perspectives and solutions.

Creating a Physical Environment that Supports Critical Thinking

Classroom design and furniture also play a role in promoting critical thinking. A flexible classroom setup allows for collaborative learning and group discussions, encouraging students to engage in critical dialogue.

By providing comfortable seating options and ensuring that the classroom layout is adaptable, teachers can foster a more dynamic learning environment conducive to critical thinking.

Encouraging Divergent Thinking

Divergent thinking is a vital component of critical thinking, as it involves generating multiple solutions to a problem. Teachers can encourage this by using brainstorming techniques, mind maps, or role-playing exercises.

By allowing students to explore various angles and creative solutions, educators nurture their capacity for innovative problem-solving.

Analyzing Multiple Perspectives

Critical thinking is not limited to one perspective; it involves considering multiple viewpoints. Teachers can introduce debates, case studies, or simulations where students must analyze and argue from different angles.

Encouraging students to appreciate different viewpoints and make informed judgments fosters a more well-rounded and critical thinker.

Scaffolding Critical Thinking

To ensure that students of all ages can develop critical thinking skills, educators can scaffold the learning process. This involves providing support and gradually increasing the complexity of tasks.

For instance, younger students may begin by identifying problems, while older students progress to proposing solutions and evaluating their effectiveness.

Metacognition and Self-Reflection

Metacognition is the practice of thinking about thinking. It encourages students to assess their thought processes and strategies. Teachers can promote metacognition by encouraging students to self-reflect on their learning experiences.

When students consider how they approach problems and what strategies work best for them, they can refine their critical thinking skills.

Interdisciplinary Learning

Breaking down the barriers between subjects can also promote critical thinking. Interdisciplinary learning allows students to make connections between different fields of knowledge, encouraging them to draw on a wider range of information and skills to address problems.

Teachers can collaborate to create lesson plans that bridge the gaps between subjects, promoting a more holistic approach to critical thinking.

Feedback and Assessment

Effective feedback and assessment play a significant role in promoting critical thinking. Constructive feedback helps students understand where they can improve and refine their thinking.

Moreover, formative assessment strategies can help educators gauge students’ critical thinking abilities and adjust their teaching accordingly.

In summary, cultivating critical thinking within educational settings is a complex task that necessitates fostering a growth mentality, utilizing efficient questioning methods, advocating for real-life problem resolution, and supporting diverse thought processes.

Moreover, it entails emphasizing metacognition, appreciating numerous viewpoints, integrating interdisciplinary education, and offering evaluation and feedback. By adopting these pragmatic strategies, teachers can enable students to develop critical thinking skills, equipping them to face future obstacles effectively.

If you liked this article, check out Higher Education: Using AI to Meet Student Needs . 

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

​​The Crucial Role of Translation Services in Promoting Broader eLearning Access

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

Babbel Towers In the Global Language Learning Market. But U.S. Brand Recognition Is Still a Challenge.

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

Improve Your College Prospects: Free Online Courses for Teens

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

The Top 3 Considerations for IT Pros To Set Their Institution Up for Success

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

Syandus CEO Douglas Seifert Discusses Corporate Training with 3D Virtual Environments

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

Cybersecurity Attacks on Educational Institutions Amid COVID-19: What You Need to Know

[…] Now, millions of kids receive their education through distance learning, and new security complications have emerged across all districts. […]

[…] One of the biggest challenges for distance learning is that discussions in classrooms and communication are more difficult when students and teachers are not in the same classroom. Most of the tasks must also be driven by self-direction, and it may be difficult for younger students to focus on while learning. […]

[…] In order to keep your children safe, be sure to explain the dangers of the internet—from malware to strangers. Trying to keep them off of the internet is unrealistic, so as you work to keep them safe during […]

Leave a Reply

Most popular post.

Important notice for administrators: The WordPress Popular Posts "classic" widget is going away!

This widget has been deprecated and will be removed in version 7.0 to be released sometime around June 2024. Please use either the WordPress Popular Posts block or the wpp shortcode instead.

AI in Education: the Pros...

Learning tips for student..., higher education: using a..., online math and english g..., how elearning transforms..., the 5 most common challen..., how technology has helped..., 10 most important soft sk..., how universities make and..., why do so many parents op....

eLearningInside: Engaging, transformative videos, podcasts, news stories for the e-Learning, EdTech community

© 2023 All Rights Reserved.


Teach Better

  • Meet the Team
  • Join the Team
  • Our Philosophy
  • Teach Better Mindset
  • Custom Professional Development
  • Livestream Shows & Videos
  • Administrator Mastermind
  • Academy Online Courses
  • EDUcreator Club+
  • Podcast Network
  • Speakers Network
  • EDUpreneur Mastermind
  • Free Downloads
  • Ambassador Program
  • 2024 Cozumel Cruise
  • Free Facebook Group
  • Professional Development
  • Request Training
  • Speakers Network Home
  • Keynote Speakers

Strategies to Increase Critical Thinking Skills in students

Matthew Joseph October 2, 2019 Blog , Engage Better , Lesson Plan Better , Personalize Student Learning Better

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

In This Post:

  • The importance of helping students increase critical thinking skills.
  • Ways to promote the essential skills needed to analyze and evaluate.
  • Strategies to incorporate critical thinking into your instruction.

We ask our teachers to be “future-ready” or say that we are teaching “for jobs that don’t exist yet.” These are powerful statements. At the same time, they give teachers the impression that we have to drastically change what we are doing .

So how do we plan education for an unknown job market or unknown needs?

My answer: We can’t predict the jobs, but whatever they are, students will need to think critically to do them. So, our job is to teach our students HOW to think, not WHAT to think.

Helping Students Become Critical Thinkers

My answer is rooted in the call to empower our students to be critical thinkers. I believe that to be critical thinkers, educators need to provide students with the strategies they need. And we need to ask more than just surface-level questions.

Questions to students must motivate them to dig up background knowledge. They should inspire them to make connections to real-world scenarios. These make the learning more memorable and meaningful.

Critical thinking is a general term. I believe this term means that students effectively identify, analyze, and evaluate content or skills. In this process, they (the students) will discover and present convincing reasons in support of their answers or thinking.

You can look up critical thinking and get many definitions like this one from Wikipedia: “ Critical thinking consists of a mental process of analyzing or evaluating information, particularly statements or propositions that people have offered as true. ”

Essential Skills for Critical Thinking

In my current role as director of curriculum and instruction, I work to promote the use of 21st-century tools and, more importantly, thinking skills. Some essential skills that are the basis for critical thinking are:

  • Communication and Information skills
  • Thinking and Problem-Solving skills
  • Interpersonal and Self- Directional skills
  • Collaboration skills

These four bullets are skills students are going to need in any field and in all levels of education. Hence my answer to the question. We need to teach our students to think critically and for themselves.

One of the goals of education is to prepare students to learn through discovery . Providing opportunities to practice being critical thinkers will assist students in analyzing others’ thinking and examining the logic of others.

Understanding others is an essential skill in collaboration and in everyday life. Critical thinking will allow students to do more than just memorize knowledge.

Ask Questions

So how do we do this? One recommendation is for educators to work in-depth questioning strategies into a lesson launch.

Ask thoughtful questions to allow for answers with sound reasoning. Then, word conversations and communication to shape students’ thinking. Quick answers often result in very few words and no eye contact, which are skills we don’t want to promote.

When you are asking students questions and they provide a solution, try some of these to promote further thinking:

  • Could you elaborate further on that point?
  • Will you express that point in another way?
  • Can you give me an illustration?
  • Would you give me an example?
  • Will you you provide more details?
  • Could you be more specific?
  • Do we need to consider another point of view?
  • Is there another way to look at this question?

Utilizing critical thinking skills could be seen as a change in the paradigm of teaching and learning. Engagement in education will enhance the collaboration among teachers and students. It will also provide a way for students to succeed even if the school system had to start over.

[scroll down to keep reading]

Promoting critical thinking into all aspects of instruction.

Engagement, application, and collaboration are skills that withstand the test of time. I also promote the integration of critical thinking into every aspect of instruction.

In my experience, I’ve found a few ways to make this happen.

Begin lessons/units with a probing question: It shouldn’t be a question you can answer with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no.’ These questions should inspire discovery learning and problem-solving.

Encourage Creativity: I have seen teachers prepare projects before they give it to their students many times. For example, designing snowmen or other “creative” projects. By doing the design work or by cutting all the circles out beforehand, it removes creativity options.

It may help the classroom run more smoothly if every child’s material is already cut out, but then every student’s project looks the same. Students don’t have to think on their own or problem solve.

Not having everything “glue ready” in advance is a good thing. Instead, give students all the supplies needed to create a snowman, and let them do it on their own.

Giving independence will allow students to become critical thinkers because they will have to create their own product with the supplies you give them. This might be an elementary example, but it’s one we can relate to any grade level or project.

Try not to jump to help too fast – let the students work through a productive struggle .

Build in opportunities for students to find connections in learning.  Encouraging students to make connections to a real-life situation and identify patterns is a great way to practice their critical thinking skills. The use of real-world scenarios will increase rigor, relevance, and critical thinking.

A few other techniques to encourage critical thinking are:

  • Use analogies
  • Promote interaction among students
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Allow reflection time
  • Use real-life problems
  • Allow for thinking practice

Critical thinking prepares students to think for themselves for the rest of their lives. I also believe critical thinkers are less likely to go along with the crowd because they think for themselves.

About Matthew X. Joseph, Ed.D.

Dr. Matthew X. Joseph has been a school and district leader in many capacities in public education over his 25 years in the field. Experiences such as the Director of Digital Learning and Innovation in Milford Public Schools (MA), elementary school principal in Natick, MA and Attleboro, MA, classroom teacher, and district professional development specialist have provided Matt incredible insights on how to best support teaching and learning. This experience has led to nationally publishing articles and opportunities to speak at multiple state and national events. He is the author of Power of Us: Creating Collaborative Schools and co-author of Modern Mentoring , Reimagining Teacher Mentorship (Due out, fall 2019). His master’s degree is in special education and his Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Boston College.

Visit Matthew’s Blog

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

The Edvocate

  • Lynch Educational Consulting
  • Dr. Lynch’s Personal Website
  • Write For Us
  • The Tech Edvocate Product Guide
  • The Edvocate Podcast
  • Terms and Conditions
  • Privacy Policy
  • Assistive Technology
  • Best PreK-12 Schools in America
  • Child Development
  • Classroom Management
  • Early Childhood
  • EdTech & Innovation
  • Education Leadership
  • First Year Teachers
  • Gifted and Talented Education
  • Special Education
  • Parental Involvement
  • Policy & Reform
  • Best Colleges and Universities
  • Best College and University Programs
  • HBCU’s
  • Higher Education EdTech
  • Higher Education
  • International Education
  • The Awards Process
  • Finalists and Winners of The 2022 Tech Edvocate Awards
  • Finalists and Winners of The 2021 Tech Edvocate Awards
  • Finalists and Winners of The 2020 Tech Edvocate Awards
  • Finalists and Winners of The 2019 Tech Edvocate Awards
  • Finalists and Winners of The 2018 Tech Edvocate Awards
  • Finalists and Winners of The 2017 Tech Edvocate Awards
  • Award Seals
  • GPA Calculator for College
  • GPA Calculator for High School
  • Cumulative GPA Calculator
  • Grade Calculator
  • Weighted Grade Calculator
  • Final Grade Calculator
  • The Tech Edvocate
  • AI Powered Personal Tutor

College Minor: Everything You Need to Know

14 fascinating teacher interview questions for principals, tips for success if you have a master’s degree and can’t find a job, 14 ways young teachers can get that professional look, which teacher supplies are worth the splurge, 8 business books every teacher should read, conditional admission: everything you need to know, college majors: everything you need to know, 7 things principals can do to make a teacher observation valuable, 3 easy teacher outfits to tackle parent-teacher conferences, strategies and methods to teach students problem solving and critical thinking skills.

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

The ability to problem solve and think critically are two of the most important skills that PreK-12 students can learn. Why? Because students need these skills to succeed in their academics and in life in general. It allows them to find a solution to issues and complex situations that are thrown there way, even if this is the first time they are faced with the predicament.

Okay, we know that these are essential skills that are also difficult to master. So how can we teach our students problem solve and think critically? I am glad you asked. In this piece will list and discuss strategies and methods that you can use to teach your students to do just that.

  • Direct Analogy Method

A method of problem-solving in which a problem is compared to similar problems in nature or other settings, providing solutions that could potentially be applied.

  • Attribute Listing

A technique used to encourage creative thinking in which the parts of a subject, problem, or task are listed, and then ways to change those component parts are examined.

  • Attribute Modifying

A technique used to encourage creative thinking in which the parts of a subject, problem, or task are listed, and then options for changing or improving each part are considered.

  • Attribute Transferring

A technique used to encourage creative thinking in which the parts of a subject, problem or task listed and then the problem solver uses analogies to other contexts to generate and consider potential solutions.

  • Morphological Synthesis

A technique used to encourage creative problem solving which extends on attribute transferring. A matrix is created, listing concrete attributes along the x-axis, and the ideas from a second attribute along with the y-axis, yielding a long list of idea combinations.

SCAMPER stands for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify-Magnify-Minify, Put to other uses, and Reverse or Rearrange. It is an idea checklist for solving design problems.

  • Direct Analogy

A problem-solving technique in which an individual is asked to consider the ways problems of this type are solved in nature.

  • Personal Analogy

A problem-solving technique in which an individual is challenged to become part of the problem to view it from a new perspective and identify possible solutions.

  • Fantasy Analogy

A problem-solving process in which participants are asked to consider outlandish, fantastic or bizarre solutions which may lead to original and ground-breaking ideas.

  • Symbolic Analogy

A problem-solving technique in which participants are challenged to generate a two-word phrase related to the design problem being considered and that appears self-contradictory. The process of brainstorming this phrase can stimulate design ideas.

  • Implementation Charting

An activity in which problem solvers are asked to identify the next steps to implement their creative ideas. This step follows the idea generation stage and the narrowing of ideas to one or more feasible solutions. The process helps participants to view implementation as a viable next step.

  • Thinking Skills

Skills aimed at aiding students to be critical, logical, and evaluative thinkers. They include analysis, comparison, classification, synthesis, generalization, discrimination, inference, planning, predicting, and identifying cause-effect relationships.

Can you think of any additional problems solving techniques that teachers use to improve their student’s problem-solving skills?

The 4 Types of Brainstorming

Feeling lethargic it may all that screen ....

' src=

Matthew Lynch

Related articles more from author.

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

Using Task Analysis to Teach Life Skills

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

9 Challenges Our Students Face in School Today Part III: Bullying & Cyber Bullying

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

18 Ways to Support Students Who Show Phobic Reactions

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

3 Responsibilities Teachers Have (Besides Teaching)

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

19 Techniques to Help Students Who Have Difficulty Reading or Following Written Instructions

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

10 Gifts for Teachers, According to Teachers

Reach & Teach Logo

Promoting Critical Thinking in the Classroom: Strategies and Activities

ritical thinking is a valuable skill that empowers students to analyze information, think deeply, and make reasoned judgments. By promoting critical thinking in the classroom, educators can foster intellectual curiosity, enhance problem-solving abilities, and prepare students for success in an ever-evolving world. This article explores effective strategies and engaging activities to promote critical thinking among students.

1. Ask Thought-Provoking Questions

Encourage critical thinking by asking open-ended and thought-provoking questions that stimulate students' analytical thinking. For example, in a history class, instead of asking "When did World War II start?" you could ask "What were the underlying causes of World War II and how did they contribute to its outbreak?" This prompts students to go beyond simple factual recall and encourages them to analyze historical events, evaluate multiple factors, and develop a deeper understanding of the topic. Instead of seeking one correct answer, focus on guiding students to explore different perspectives, evaluate evidence, and justify their reasoning. Engage students in discussions that require them to analyze, compare, and synthesize information.

2. Provide Real-World Examples

Connect classroom learning to real-world applications by providing relevant examples and case studies. By presenting authentic scenarios, students can apply critical thinking skills to analyze and solve complex problems. Encourage students to think critically about the implications of their decisions and consider the broader impact of their choices.

3. Foster Collaboration and Debate

Promote collaborative learning environments where students can engage in respectful debates and discussions. Encourage students to express diverse opinions, support their arguments with evidence, and listen actively to others' viewpoints. Through collaborative activities, students can learn to evaluate different perspectives, challenge assumptions, and develop their critical thinking skills.

4. Encourage Reflection and Metacognition

Provide opportunities for students to reflect on their thinking processes and metacognition. Ask students to evaluate their own problem-solving strategies, analyze their decision-making processes, and assess the effectiveness of their critical thinking skills. By promoting self-awareness and reflection, students can enhance their critical thinking abilities and become more independent learners.

5. Incorporate Problem-Based Learning

Integrate problem-based learning activities that require students to apply critical thinking skills to solve complex problems. For example, in a science class, present a real-world scenario where students need to design an experiment to test the effectiveness of different fertilizers on plant growth. This activity prompts students to analyze information about fertilizers, evaluate different options, and develop a well-reasoned experimental design. By engaging in hands-on problem-solving experiences like this, students can develop their critical thinking abilities while also building their content knowledge.

Promoting critical thinking in the classroom is essential for developing students' analytical skills, problem-solving abilities, and intellectual curiosity. By incorporating strategies such as asking thought-provoking questions, providing real-world examples, fostering collaboration and debate, encouraging reflection and metacognition, and incorporating problem-based learning, educators can create an environment that nurtures critical thinking skills. By equipping students with this valuable skill set, we empower them to navigate complex challenges and become lifelong learners.

Online Learning Platforms: Facilitating Distance Education and Remote Learning

Open educational resources (oer): free and accessible learning materials, online resources for free educational materials and lesson plans, national arts in education week: celebrating the power of the arts in learning, join our newsletter and get the latest posts to your inbox, teaching abroad in southeast asia: adventures in teaching and travel, teaching abroad in non-english speaking countries: overcoming language barriers, navigating europe: key considerations for asian teachers teaching abroad, stay in touch.

Tiktok icon

There is More Posts

Celebrating teacher innovators: creative approaches to education, balancing multiple roles as an educator: tips for teacher-administrators, international children's book day: fostering a love for reading in the classroom.

Tiktok icon

  • Our Mission

3 Simple Strategies to Improve Students’ Problem-Solving Skills

These strategies are designed to make sure students have a good understanding of problems before attempting to solve them.

Two students in math class

Research provides a striking revelation about problem solvers. The best problem solvers approach problems much differently than novices. For instance, one meta-study showed that when experts evaluate graphs , they tend to spend less time on tasks and answer choices and more time on evaluating the axes’ labels and the relationships of variables within the graphs. In other words, they spend more time up front making sense of the data before moving to addressing the task.

While slower in solving problems, experts use this additional up-front time to more efficiently and effectively solve the problem. In one study, researchers found that experts were much better at “information extraction” or pulling the information they needed to solve the problem later in the problem than novices. This was due to the fact that they started a problem-solving process by evaluating specific assumptions within problems, asking predictive questions, and then comparing and contrasting their predictions with results. For example, expert problem solvers look at the problem context and ask a number of questions:

  • What do we know about the context of the problem?
  • What assumptions are underlying the problem? What’s the story here?
  • What qualitative and quantitative information is pertinent?
  • What might the problem context be telling us? What questions arise from the information we are reading or reviewing?
  • What are important trends and patterns?

As such, expert problem solvers don’t jump to the presented problem or rush to solutions. They invest the time necessary to make sense of the problem.

Now, think about your own students: Do they immediately jump to the question, or do they take time to understand the problem context? Do they identify the relevant variables, look for patterns, and then focus on the specific tasks?

If your students are struggling to develop the habit of sense-making in a problem- solving context, this is a perfect time to incorporate a few short and sharp strategies to support them.

3 Ways to Improve Student Problem-Solving

1. Slow reveal graphs: The brilliant strategy crafted by K–8 math specialist Jenna Laib and her colleagues provides teachers with an opportunity to gradually display complex graphical information and build students’ questioning, sense-making, and evaluating predictions.

For instance, in one third-grade class, students are given a bar graph without any labels or identifying information except for bars emerging from a horizontal line on the bottom of the slide. Over time, students learn about the categories on the x -axis (types of animals) and the quantities specified on the y -axis (number of baby teeth).

The graphs and the topics range in complexity from studying the standard deviation of temperatures in Antarctica to the use of scatterplots to compare working hours across OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries. The website offers a number of graphs on Google Slides and suggests questions that teachers may ask students. Furthermore, this site allows teachers to search by type of graph (e.g., scatterplot) or topic (e.g., social justice).

2. Three reads: The three-reads strategy tasks students with evaluating a word problem in three different ways . First, students encounter a problem without having access to the question—for instance, “There are 20 kangaroos on the grassland. Three hop away.” Students are expected to discuss the context of the problem without emphasizing the quantities. For instance, a student may say, “We know that there are a total amount of kangaroos, and the total shrinks because some kangaroos hop away.”

Next, students discuss the important quantities and what questions may be generated. Finally, students receive and address the actual problem. Here they can both evaluate how close their predicted questions were from the actual questions and solve the actual problem.

To get started, consider using the numberless word problems on educator Brian Bushart’s site . For those teaching high school, consider using your own textbook word problems for this activity. Simply create three slides to present to students that include context (e.g., on the first slide state, “A salesman sold twice as much pears in the afternoon as in the morning”). The second slide would include quantities (e.g., “He sold 360 kilograms of pears”), and the third slide would include the actual question (e.g., “How many kilograms did he sell in the morning and how many in the afternoon?”). One additional suggestion for teams to consider is to have students solve the questions they generated before revealing the actual question.

3. Three-Act Tasks: Originally created by Dan Meyer, three-act tasks follow the three acts of a story . The first act is typically called the “setup,” followed by the “confrontation” and then the “resolution.”

This storyline process can be used in mathematics in which students encounter a contextual problem (e.g., a pool is being filled with soda). Here students work to identify the important aspects of the problem. During the second act, students build knowledge and skill to solve the problem (e.g., they learn how to calculate the volume of particular spaces). Finally, students solve the problem and evaluate their answers (e.g., how close were their calculations to the actual specifications of the pool and the amount of liquid that filled it).

Often, teachers add a fourth act (i.e., “the sequel”), in which students encounter a similar problem but in a different context (e.g., they have to estimate the volume of a lava lamp). There are also a number of elementary examples that have been developed by math teachers including GFletchy , which offers pre-kindergarten to middle school activities including counting squares , peas in a pod , and shark bait .

Students need to learn how to slow down and think through a problem context. The aforementioned strategies are quick ways teachers can begin to support students in developing the habits needed to effectively and efficiently tackle complex problem-solving.

JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser.

  • Order Tracking
  • Create an Account

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

200+ Award-Winning Educational Textbooks, Activity Books, & Printable eBooks!

  • Compare Products

Reading, Writing, Math, Science, Social Studies

  • Search by Book Series
  • Algebra I & II  Gr. 7-12+
  • Algebra Magic Tricks  Gr. 2-12+
  • Algebra Word Problems  Gr. 7-12+
  • Balance Benders  Gr. 2-12+
  • Balance Math & More!  Gr. 2-12+
  • Basics of Critical Thinking  Gr. 4-7
  • Brain Stretchers  Gr. 5-12+
  • Building Thinking Skills  Gr. Toddler-12+
  • Building Writing Skills  Gr. 3-7
  • Bundles - Critical Thinking  Gr. PreK-9
  • Bundles - Language Arts  Gr. K-8
  • Bundles - Mathematics  Gr. PreK-9
  • Bundles - Multi-Subject Curriculum  Gr. PreK-12+
  • Bundles - Test Prep  Gr. Toddler-12+
  • Can You Find Me?  Gr. PreK-1
  • Complete the Picture Math  Gr. 1-3
  • Cornell Critical Thinking Tests  Gr. 5-12+
  • Cranium Crackers  Gr. 3-12+
  • Creative Problem Solving  Gr. PreK-2
  • Critical Thinking Activities to Improve Writing  Gr. 4-12+
  • Critical Thinking Coloring  Gr. PreK-2
  • Critical Thinking Detective  Gr. 3-12+
  • Critical Thinking Tests  Gr. PreK-6
  • Critical Thinking for Reading Comprehension  Gr. 1-5
  • Critical Thinking in United States History  Gr. 6-12+
  • CrossNumber Math Puzzles  Gr. 4-10
  • Crypt-O-Words  Gr. 2-7
  • Crypto Mind Benders  Gr. 3-12+
  • Daily Mind Builders  Gr. 5-12+
  • Dare to Compare Math  Gr. 2-7
  • Developing Critical Thinking through Science  Gr. 1-8
  • Dr. DooRiddles  Gr. PreK-12+
  • Dr. Funster's  Gr. 2-12+
  • Editor in Chief  Gr. 2-12+
  • Fun-Time Phonics!  Gr. PreK-2
  • Half 'n Half Animals  Gr. K-4
  • Hands-On Thinking Skills  Gr. K-1
  • Inference Jones  Gr. 1-6
  • James Madison  Gr. 10-12+
  • Jumbles  Gr. 3-5
  • Language Mechanic  Gr. 4-7
  • Language Smarts  Gr. 1-4
  • Mastering Logic & Math Problem Solving  Gr. 6-9
  • Math Analogies  Gr. K-9
  • Math Detective  Gr. 3-8
  • Math Games  Gr. 3-8
  • Math Mind Benders  Gr. 5-12+
  • Math Ties  Gr. 4-8
  • Math Word Problems  Gr. 4-10
  • Mathematical Reasoning  Gr. Toddler-11
  • Middle School Science  Gr. 6-8
  • Mind Benders  Gr. PreK-12+
  • Mind Building Math  Gr. K-1
  • Mind Building Reading  Gr. K-1
  • Novel Thinking  Gr. 3-6
  • OLSAT® Test Prep  Gr. PreK-K
  • Organizing Thinking  Gr. 2-8
  • Pattern Explorer  Gr. 3-9
  • Practical Critical Thinking  Gr. 8-12+
  • Punctuation Puzzler  Gr. 3-8
  • Reading Detective  Gr. 3-12+
  • Red Herring Mysteries  Gr. 4-12+
  • Red Herrings Science Mysteries  Gr. 4-9
  • Science Detective  Gr. 3-6
  • Science Mind Benders  Gr. PreK-3
  • Science Vocabulary Crossword Puzzles  Gr. 4-6
  • Sciencewise  Gr. 4-12+
  • Scratch Your Brain  Gr. 2-12+
  • Sentence Diagramming  Gr. 3-12+
  • Smarty Pants Puzzles  Gr. 3-12+
  • Snailopolis  Gr. K-4
  • Something's Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha  Gr. 5-9
  • Teaching Technology  Gr. 3-12+
  • Tell Me a Story  Gr. PreK-1
  • Think Analogies  Gr. 3-12+
  • Think and Write  Gr. 3-8
  • Think-A-Grams  Gr. 4-12+
  • Thinking About Time  Gr. 3-6
  • Thinking Connections  Gr. 4-12+
  • Thinking Directionally  Gr. 2-6
  • Thinking Skills & Key Concepts  Gr. PreK-2
  • Thinking Skills for Tests  Gr. PreK-5
  • U.S. History Detective  Gr. 8-12+
  • Understanding Fractions  Gr. 2-6
  • Visual Perceptual Skill Building  Gr. PreK-3
  • Vocabulary Riddles  Gr. 4-8
  • Vocabulary Smarts  Gr. 2-5
  • Vocabulary Virtuoso  Gr. 2-12+
  • What Would You Do?  Gr. 2-12+
  • Who Is This Kid? Colleges Want to Know!  Gr. 9-12+
  • Word Explorer  Gr. 6-8
  • Word Roots  Gr. 3-12+
  • World History Detective  Gr. 6-12+
  • Writing Detective  Gr. 3-6
  • You Decide!  Gr. 6-12+

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

  • Special of the Month
  • Sign Up for our Best Offers
  • Bundles = Greatest Savings!
  • Sign Up for Free Puzzles
  • Sign Up for Free Activities
  • Toddler (Ages 0-3)
  • PreK (Ages 3-5)
  • Kindergarten (Ages 5-6)
  • 1st Grade (Ages 6-7)
  • 2nd Grade (Ages 7-8)
  • 3rd Grade (Ages 8-9)
  • 4th Grade (Ages 9-10)
  • 5th Grade (Ages 10-11)
  • 6th Grade (Ages 11-12)
  • 7th Grade (Ages 12-13)
  • 8th Grade (Ages 13-14)
  • 9th Grade (Ages 14-15)
  • 10th Grade (Ages 15-16)
  • 11th Grade (Ages 16-17)
  • 12th Grade (Ages 17-18)
  • 12th+ Grade (Ages 18+)
  • Test Prep Directory
  • Test Prep Bundles
  • Test Prep Guides
  • Preschool Academics
  • Store Locator
  • Submit Feedback/Request
  • Sales Alerts Sign-Up
  • Technical Support
  • Mission & History
  • Articles & Advice
  • Testimonials
  • Our Guarantee
  • New Products
  • Free Activities
  • Libros en Español

How To Promote Critical Thinking In Your Classroom

Promoting Thinking

November 25, 2006, by The Critical Thinking Co. Staff

Modeling of critical thinking skills by instructors is crucial for teaching critical thinking successfully. By making your own thought processes explicit in class - explaining your reasoning, evaluating evidence for a claim, probing the credibility of a source, or even describing what has puzzled or confused you - you provide a powerful example to students, particularly if you invite them to join in; e.g., "Can you see where we're headed with this?" "I can't think of other explanations; can you?" "This idea/principle struck me as difficult or confusing at first, but here's how I figured it out." You can encourage students to emulate this by using them in demonstrations, asking them to "think out loud" in order for classmates to observe how they reason through a problem.

Develop the habit of asking questions that require students to think critically, and tell students that you really expect them to give answers! In particular, Socratic questioning encourages students to develop and clarify their thinking: e.g., "Would your answer hold in all cases?" "How would you respond to a counter-example or counter-argument?" "Explain how you arrived at that answer?"

This is another skill that students can learn from your example, and can use in working with each other. Providing regular opportunities for pair or small group discussions after major points or demonstrations during lectures is also important: this allows students to process the new material, connect it to previously learned topics, and practice asking questions that promote further critical thinking. Obviously, conveying genuine respect for student input is essential. Communicating the message that you value and support student contributions and efforts to think critically increases confidence, and motivates students to continue building their thinking skills. An essential component of this process is the creation of a climate where students feel comfortable with exploring the process of reasoning through a problem without being "punished" for getting the wrong answer.

Researchers have found consistently that interaction among students, in the form of well-structured group discussions plays a central role in stimulating critical thinking. Discussing course material and its applications allows students to formulate and test hypotheses, practice asking thought-provoking questions, hear other perspectives, analyze claims, evaluate evidence, and explain and justify their reasoning. As they become more sophisticated and fluent in thinking critically, students can observe and critique each others' reasoning skills.

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • View all journals
  • My Account Login
  • Explore content
  • About the journal
  • Publish with us
  • Sign up for alerts
  • Review Article
  • Open access
  • Published: 11 January 2023

The effectiveness of collaborative problem solving in promoting students’ critical thinking: A meta-analysis based on empirical literature

  • Enwei Xu   ORCID: 1 ,
  • Wei Wang 1 &
  • Qingxia Wang 1  

Humanities and Social Sciences Communications volume  10 , Article number:  16 ( 2023 ) Cite this article

13k Accesses

9 Citations

3 Altmetric

Metrics details

  • Science, technology and society

Collaborative problem-solving has been widely embraced in the classroom instruction of critical thinking, which is regarded as the core of curriculum reform based on key competencies in the field of education as well as a key competence for learners in the 21st century. However, the effectiveness of collaborative problem-solving in promoting students’ critical thinking remains uncertain. This current research presents the major findings of a meta-analysis of 36 pieces of the literature revealed in worldwide educational periodicals during the 21st century to identify the effectiveness of collaborative problem-solving in promoting students’ critical thinking and to determine, based on evidence, whether and to what extent collaborative problem solving can result in a rise or decrease in critical thinking. The findings show that (1) collaborative problem solving is an effective teaching approach to foster students’ critical thinking, with a significant overall effect size (ES = 0.82, z  = 12.78, P  < 0.01, 95% CI [0.69, 0.95]); (2) in respect to the dimensions of critical thinking, collaborative problem solving can significantly and successfully enhance students’ attitudinal tendencies (ES = 1.17, z  = 7.62, P  < 0.01, 95% CI[0.87, 1.47]); nevertheless, it falls short in terms of improving students’ cognitive skills, having only an upper-middle impact (ES = 0.70, z  = 11.55, P  < 0.01, 95% CI[0.58, 0.82]); and (3) the teaching type (chi 2  = 7.20, P  < 0.05), intervention duration (chi 2  = 12.18, P  < 0.01), subject area (chi 2  = 13.36, P  < 0.05), group size (chi 2  = 8.77, P  < 0.05), and learning scaffold (chi 2  = 9.03, P  < 0.01) all have an impact on critical thinking, and they can be viewed as important moderating factors that affect how critical thinking develops. On the basis of these results, recommendations are made for further study and instruction to better support students’ critical thinking in the context of collaborative problem-solving.

Similar content being viewed by others

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

Impact of artificial intelligence on human loss in decision making, laziness and safety in education

Sayed Fayaz Ahmad, Heesup Han, … Antonio Ariza-Montes

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

Artificial intelligence and illusions of understanding in scientific research

Lisa Messeri & M. J. Crockett

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

Sleep quality, duration, and consistency are associated with better academic performance in college students

Kana Okano, Jakub R. Kaczmarzyk, … Jeffrey C. Grossman


Although critical thinking has a long history in research, the concept of critical thinking, which is regarded as an essential competence for learners in the 21st century, has recently attracted more attention from researchers and teaching practitioners (National Research Council, 2012 ). Critical thinking should be the core of curriculum reform based on key competencies in the field of education (Peng and Deng, 2017 ) because students with critical thinking can not only understand the meaning of knowledge but also effectively solve practical problems in real life even after knowledge is forgotten (Kek and Huijser, 2011 ). The definition of critical thinking is not universal (Ennis, 1989 ; Castle, 2009 ; Niu et al., 2013 ). In general, the definition of critical thinking is a self-aware and self-regulated thought process (Facione, 1990 ; Niu et al., 2013 ). It refers to the cognitive skills needed to interpret, analyze, synthesize, reason, and evaluate information as well as the attitudinal tendency to apply these abilities (Halpern, 2001 ). The view that critical thinking can be taught and learned through curriculum teaching has been widely supported by many researchers (e.g., Kuncel, 2011 ; Leng and Lu, 2020 ), leading to educators’ efforts to foster it among students. In the field of teaching practice, there are three types of courses for teaching critical thinking (Ennis, 1989 ). The first is an independent curriculum in which critical thinking is taught and cultivated without involving the knowledge of specific disciplines; the second is an integrated curriculum in which critical thinking is integrated into the teaching of other disciplines as a clear teaching goal; and the third is a mixed curriculum in which critical thinking is taught in parallel to the teaching of other disciplines for mixed teaching training. Furthermore, numerous measuring tools have been developed by researchers and educators to measure critical thinking in the context of teaching practice. These include standardized measurement tools, such as WGCTA, CCTST, CCTT, and CCTDI, which have been verified by repeated experiments and are considered effective and reliable by international scholars (Facione and Facione, 1992 ). In short, descriptions of critical thinking, including its two dimensions of attitudinal tendency and cognitive skills, different types of teaching courses, and standardized measurement tools provide a complex normative framework for understanding, teaching, and evaluating critical thinking.

Cultivating critical thinking in curriculum teaching can start with a problem, and one of the most popular critical thinking instructional approaches is problem-based learning (Liu et al., 2020 ). Duch et al. ( 2001 ) noted that problem-based learning in group collaboration is progressive active learning, which can improve students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Collaborative problem-solving is the organic integration of collaborative learning and problem-based learning, which takes learners as the center of the learning process and uses problems with poor structure in real-world situations as the starting point for the learning process (Liang et al., 2017 ). Students learn the knowledge needed to solve problems in a collaborative group, reach a consensus on problems in the field, and form solutions through social cooperation methods, such as dialogue, interpretation, questioning, debate, negotiation, and reflection, thus promoting the development of learners’ domain knowledge and critical thinking (Cindy, 2004 ; Liang et al., 2017 ).

Collaborative problem-solving has been widely used in the teaching practice of critical thinking, and several studies have attempted to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of the empirical literature on critical thinking from various perspectives. However, little attention has been paid to the impact of collaborative problem-solving on critical thinking. Therefore, the best approach for developing and enhancing critical thinking throughout collaborative problem-solving is to examine how to implement critical thinking instruction; however, this issue is still unexplored, which means that many teachers are incapable of better instructing critical thinking (Leng and Lu, 2020 ; Niu et al., 2013 ). For example, Huber ( 2016 ) provided the meta-analysis findings of 71 publications on gaining critical thinking over various time frames in college with the aim of determining whether critical thinking was truly teachable. These authors found that learners significantly improve their critical thinking while in college and that critical thinking differs with factors such as teaching strategies, intervention duration, subject area, and teaching type. The usefulness of collaborative problem-solving in fostering students’ critical thinking, however, was not determined by this study, nor did it reveal whether there existed significant variations among the different elements. A meta-analysis of 31 pieces of educational literature was conducted by Liu et al. ( 2020 ) to assess the impact of problem-solving on college students’ critical thinking. These authors found that problem-solving could promote the development of critical thinking among college students and proposed establishing a reasonable group structure for problem-solving in a follow-up study to improve students’ critical thinking. Additionally, previous empirical studies have reached inconclusive and even contradictory conclusions about whether and to what extent collaborative problem-solving increases or decreases critical thinking levels. As an illustration, Yang et al. ( 2008 ) carried out an experiment on the integrated curriculum teaching of college students based on a web bulletin board with the goal of fostering participants’ critical thinking in the context of collaborative problem-solving. These authors’ research revealed that through sharing, debating, examining, and reflecting on various experiences and ideas, collaborative problem-solving can considerably enhance students’ critical thinking in real-life problem situations. In contrast, collaborative problem-solving had a positive impact on learners’ interaction and could improve learning interest and motivation but could not significantly improve students’ critical thinking when compared to traditional classroom teaching, according to research by Naber and Wyatt ( 2014 ) and Sendag and Odabasi ( 2009 ) on undergraduate and high school students, respectively.

The above studies show that there is inconsistency regarding the effectiveness of collaborative problem-solving in promoting students’ critical thinking. Therefore, it is essential to conduct a thorough and trustworthy review to detect and decide whether and to what degree collaborative problem-solving can result in a rise or decrease in critical thinking. Meta-analysis is a quantitative analysis approach that is utilized to examine quantitative data from various separate studies that are all focused on the same research topic. This approach characterizes the effectiveness of its impact by averaging the effect sizes of numerous qualitative studies in an effort to reduce the uncertainty brought on by independent research and produce more conclusive findings (Lipsey and Wilson, 2001 ).

This paper used a meta-analytic approach and carried out a meta-analysis to examine the effectiveness of collaborative problem-solving in promoting students’ critical thinking in order to make a contribution to both research and practice. The following research questions were addressed by this meta-analysis:

What is the overall effect size of collaborative problem-solving in promoting students’ critical thinking and its impact on the two dimensions of critical thinking (i.e., attitudinal tendency and cognitive skills)?

How are the disparities between the study conclusions impacted by various moderating variables if the impacts of various experimental designs in the included studies are heterogeneous?

This research followed the strict procedures (e.g., database searching, identification, screening, eligibility, merging, duplicate removal, and analysis of included studies) of Cooper’s ( 2010 ) proposed meta-analysis approach for examining quantitative data from various separate studies that are all focused on the same research topic. The relevant empirical research that appeared in worldwide educational periodicals within the 21st century was subjected to this meta-analysis using Rev-Man 5.4. The consistency of the data extracted separately by two researchers was tested using Cohen’s kappa coefficient, and a publication bias test and a heterogeneity test were run on the sample data to ascertain the quality of this meta-analysis.

Data sources and search strategies

There were three stages to the data collection process for this meta-analysis, as shown in Fig. 1 , which shows the number of articles included and eliminated during the selection process based on the statement and study eligibility criteria.

figure 1

This flowchart shows the number of records identified, included and excluded in the article.

First, the databases used to systematically search for relevant articles were the journal papers of the Web of Science Core Collection and the Chinese Core source journal, as well as the Chinese Social Science Citation Index (CSSCI) source journal papers included in CNKI. These databases were selected because they are credible platforms that are sources of scholarly and peer-reviewed information with advanced search tools and contain literature relevant to the subject of our topic from reliable researchers and experts. The search string with the Boolean operator used in the Web of Science was “TS = (((“critical thinking” or “ct” and “pretest” or “posttest”) or (“critical thinking” or “ct” and “control group” or “quasi experiment” or “experiment”)) and (“collaboration” or “collaborative learning” or “CSCL”) and (“problem solving” or “problem-based learning” or “PBL”))”. The research area was “Education Educational Research”, and the search period was “January 1, 2000, to December 30, 2021”. A total of 412 papers were obtained. The search string with the Boolean operator used in the CNKI was “SU = (‘critical thinking’*‘collaboration’ + ‘critical thinking’*‘collaborative learning’ + ‘critical thinking’*‘CSCL’ + ‘critical thinking’*‘problem solving’ + ‘critical thinking’*‘problem-based learning’ + ‘critical thinking’*‘PBL’ + ‘critical thinking’*‘problem oriented’) AND FT = (‘experiment’ + ‘quasi experiment’ + ‘pretest’ + ‘posttest’ + ‘empirical study’)” (translated into Chinese when searching). A total of 56 studies were found throughout the search period of “January 2000 to December 2021”. From the databases, all duplicates and retractions were eliminated before exporting the references into Endnote, a program for managing bibliographic references. In all, 466 studies were found.

Second, the studies that matched the inclusion and exclusion criteria for the meta-analysis were chosen by two researchers after they had reviewed the abstracts and titles of the gathered articles, yielding a total of 126 studies.

Third, two researchers thoroughly reviewed each included article’s whole text in accordance with the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Meanwhile, a snowball search was performed using the references and citations of the included articles to ensure complete coverage of the articles. Ultimately, 36 articles were kept.

Two researchers worked together to carry out this entire process, and a consensus rate of almost 94.7% was reached after discussion and negotiation to clarify any emerging differences.

Eligibility criteria

Since not all the retrieved studies matched the criteria for this meta-analysis, eligibility criteria for both inclusion and exclusion were developed as follows:

The publication language of the included studies was limited to English and Chinese, and the full text could be obtained. Articles that did not meet the publication language and articles not published between 2000 and 2021 were excluded.

The research design of the included studies must be empirical and quantitative studies that can assess the effect of collaborative problem-solving on the development of critical thinking. Articles that could not identify the causal mechanisms by which collaborative problem-solving affects critical thinking, such as review articles and theoretical articles, were excluded.

The research method of the included studies must feature a randomized control experiment or a quasi-experiment, or a natural experiment, which have a higher degree of internal validity with strong experimental designs and can all plausibly provide evidence that critical thinking and collaborative problem-solving are causally related. Articles with non-experimental research methods, such as purely correlational or observational studies, were excluded.

The participants of the included studies were only students in school, including K-12 students and college students. Articles in which the participants were non-school students, such as social workers or adult learners, were excluded.

The research results of the included studies must mention definite signs that may be utilized to gauge critical thinking’s impact (e.g., sample size, mean value, or standard deviation). Articles that lacked specific measurement indicators for critical thinking and could not calculate the effect size were excluded.

Data coding design

In order to perform a meta-analysis, it is necessary to collect the most important information from the articles, codify that information’s properties, and convert descriptive data into quantitative data. Therefore, this study designed a data coding template (see Table 1 ). Ultimately, 16 coding fields were retained.

The designed data-coding template consisted of three pieces of information. Basic information about the papers was included in the descriptive information: the publishing year, author, serial number, and title of the paper.

The variable information for the experimental design had three variables: the independent variable (instruction method), the dependent variable (critical thinking), and the moderating variable (learning stage, teaching type, intervention duration, learning scaffold, group size, measuring tool, and subject area). Depending on the topic of this study, the intervention strategy, as the independent variable, was coded into collaborative and non-collaborative problem-solving. The dependent variable, critical thinking, was coded as a cognitive skill and an attitudinal tendency. And seven moderating variables were created by grouping and combining the experimental design variables discovered within the 36 studies (see Table 1 ), where learning stages were encoded as higher education, high school, middle school, and primary school or lower; teaching types were encoded as mixed courses, integrated courses, and independent courses; intervention durations were encoded as 0–1 weeks, 1–4 weeks, 4–12 weeks, and more than 12 weeks; group sizes were encoded as 2–3 persons, 4–6 persons, 7–10 persons, and more than 10 persons; learning scaffolds were encoded as teacher-supported learning scaffold, technique-supported learning scaffold, and resource-supported learning scaffold; measuring tools were encoded as standardized measurement tools (e.g., WGCTA, CCTT, CCTST, and CCTDI) and self-adapting measurement tools (e.g., modified or made by researchers); and subject areas were encoded according to the specific subjects used in the 36 included studies.

The data information contained three metrics for measuring critical thinking: sample size, average value, and standard deviation. It is vital to remember that studies with various experimental designs frequently adopt various formulas to determine the effect size. And this paper used Morris’ proposed standardized mean difference (SMD) calculation formula ( 2008 , p. 369; see Supplementary Table S3 ).

Procedure for extracting and coding data

According to the data coding template (see Table 1 ), the 36 papers’ information was retrieved by two researchers, who then entered them into Excel (see Supplementary Table S1 ). The results of each study were extracted separately in the data extraction procedure if an article contained numerous studies on critical thinking, or if a study assessed different critical thinking dimensions. For instance, Tiwari et al. ( 2010 ) used four time points, which were viewed as numerous different studies, to examine the outcomes of critical thinking, and Chen ( 2013 ) included the two outcome variables of attitudinal tendency and cognitive skills, which were regarded as two studies. After discussion and negotiation during data extraction, the two researchers’ consistency test coefficients were roughly 93.27%. Supplementary Table S2 details the key characteristics of the 36 included articles with 79 effect quantities, including descriptive information (e.g., the publishing year, author, serial number, and title of the paper), variable information (e.g., independent variables, dependent variables, and moderating variables), and data information (e.g., mean values, standard deviations, and sample size). Following that, testing for publication bias and heterogeneity was done on the sample data using the Rev-Man 5.4 software, and then the test results were used to conduct a meta-analysis.

Publication bias test

When the sample of studies included in a meta-analysis does not accurately reflect the general status of research on the relevant subject, publication bias is said to be exhibited in this research. The reliability and accuracy of the meta-analysis may be impacted by publication bias. Due to this, the meta-analysis needs to check the sample data for publication bias (Stewart et al., 2006 ). A popular method to check for publication bias is the funnel plot; and it is unlikely that there will be publishing bias when the data are equally dispersed on either side of the average effect size and targeted within the higher region. The data are equally dispersed within the higher portion of the efficient zone, consistent with the funnel plot connected with this analysis (see Fig. 2 ), indicating that publication bias is unlikely in this situation.

figure 2

This funnel plot shows the result of publication bias of 79 effect quantities across 36 studies.

Heterogeneity test

To select the appropriate effect models for the meta-analysis, one might use the results of a heterogeneity test on the data effect sizes. In a meta-analysis, it is common practice to gauge the degree of data heterogeneity using the I 2 value, and I 2  ≥ 50% is typically understood to denote medium-high heterogeneity, which calls for the adoption of a random effect model; if not, a fixed effect model ought to be applied (Lipsey and Wilson, 2001 ). The findings of the heterogeneity test in this paper (see Table 2 ) revealed that I 2 was 86% and displayed significant heterogeneity ( P  < 0.01). To ensure accuracy and reliability, the overall effect size ought to be calculated utilizing the random effect model.

The analysis of the overall effect size

This meta-analysis utilized a random effect model to examine 79 effect quantities from 36 studies after eliminating heterogeneity. In accordance with Cohen’s criterion (Cohen, 1992 ), it is abundantly clear from the analysis results, which are shown in the forest plot of the overall effect (see Fig. 3 ), that the cumulative impact size of cooperative problem-solving is 0.82, which is statistically significant ( z  = 12.78, P  < 0.01, 95% CI [0.69, 0.95]), and can encourage learners to practice critical thinking.

figure 3

This forest plot shows the analysis result of the overall effect size across 36 studies.

In addition, this study examined two distinct dimensions of critical thinking to better understand the precise contributions that collaborative problem-solving makes to the growth of critical thinking. The findings (see Table 3 ) indicate that collaborative problem-solving improves cognitive skills (ES = 0.70) and attitudinal tendency (ES = 1.17), with significant intergroup differences (chi 2  = 7.95, P  < 0.01). Although collaborative problem-solving improves both dimensions of critical thinking, it is essential to point out that the improvements in students’ attitudinal tendency are much more pronounced and have a significant comprehensive effect (ES = 1.17, z  = 7.62, P  < 0.01, 95% CI [0.87, 1.47]), whereas gains in learners’ cognitive skill are slightly improved and are just above average. (ES = 0.70, z  = 11.55, P  < 0.01, 95% CI [0.58, 0.82]).

The analysis of moderator effect size

The whole forest plot’s 79 effect quantities underwent a two-tailed test, which revealed significant heterogeneity ( I 2  = 86%, z  = 12.78, P  < 0.01), indicating differences between various effect sizes that may have been influenced by moderating factors other than sampling error. Therefore, exploring possible moderating factors that might produce considerable heterogeneity was done using subgroup analysis, such as the learning stage, learning scaffold, teaching type, group size, duration of the intervention, measuring tool, and the subject area included in the 36 experimental designs, in order to further explore the key factors that influence critical thinking. The findings (see Table 4 ) indicate that various moderating factors have advantageous effects on critical thinking. In this situation, the subject area (chi 2  = 13.36, P  < 0.05), group size (chi 2  = 8.77, P  < 0.05), intervention duration (chi 2  = 12.18, P  < 0.01), learning scaffold (chi 2  = 9.03, P  < 0.01), and teaching type (chi 2  = 7.20, P  < 0.05) are all significant moderators that can be applied to support the cultivation of critical thinking. However, since the learning stage and the measuring tools did not significantly differ among intergroup (chi 2  = 3.15, P  = 0.21 > 0.05, and chi 2  = 0.08, P  = 0.78 > 0.05), we are unable to explain why these two factors are crucial in supporting the cultivation of critical thinking in the context of collaborative problem-solving. These are the precise outcomes, as follows:

Various learning stages influenced critical thinking positively, without significant intergroup differences (chi 2  = 3.15, P  = 0.21 > 0.05). High school was first on the list of effect sizes (ES = 1.36, P  < 0.01), then higher education (ES = 0.78, P  < 0.01), and middle school (ES = 0.73, P  < 0.01). These results show that, despite the learning stage’s beneficial influence on cultivating learners’ critical thinking, we are unable to explain why it is essential for cultivating critical thinking in the context of collaborative problem-solving.

Different teaching types had varying degrees of positive impact on critical thinking, with significant intergroup differences (chi 2  = 7.20, P  < 0.05). The effect size was ranked as follows: mixed courses (ES = 1.34, P  < 0.01), integrated courses (ES = 0.81, P  < 0.01), and independent courses (ES = 0.27, P  < 0.01). These results indicate that the most effective approach to cultivate critical thinking utilizing collaborative problem solving is through the teaching type of mixed courses.

Various intervention durations significantly improved critical thinking, and there were significant intergroup differences (chi 2  = 12.18, P  < 0.01). The effect sizes related to this variable showed a tendency to increase with longer intervention durations. The improvement in critical thinking reached a significant level (ES = 0.85, P  < 0.01) after more than 12 weeks of training. These findings indicate that the intervention duration and critical thinking’s impact are positively correlated, with a longer intervention duration having a greater effect.

Different learning scaffolds influenced critical thinking positively, with significant intergroup differences (chi 2  = 9.03, P  < 0.01). The resource-supported learning scaffold (ES = 0.69, P  < 0.01) acquired a medium-to-higher level of impact, the technique-supported learning scaffold (ES = 0.63, P  < 0.01) also attained a medium-to-higher level of impact, and the teacher-supported learning scaffold (ES = 0.92, P  < 0.01) displayed a high level of significant impact. These results show that the learning scaffold with teacher support has the greatest impact on cultivating critical thinking.

Various group sizes influenced critical thinking positively, and the intergroup differences were statistically significant (chi 2  = 8.77, P  < 0.05). Critical thinking showed a general declining trend with increasing group size. The overall effect size of 2–3 people in this situation was the biggest (ES = 0.99, P  < 0.01), and when the group size was greater than 7 people, the improvement in critical thinking was at the lower-middle level (ES < 0.5, P  < 0.01). These results show that the impact on critical thinking is positively connected with group size, and as group size grows, so does the overall impact.

Various measuring tools influenced critical thinking positively, with significant intergroup differences (chi 2  = 0.08, P  = 0.78 > 0.05). In this situation, the self-adapting measurement tools obtained an upper-medium level of effect (ES = 0.78), whereas the complete effect size of the standardized measurement tools was the largest, achieving a significant level of effect (ES = 0.84, P  < 0.01). These results show that, despite the beneficial influence of the measuring tool on cultivating critical thinking, we are unable to explain why it is crucial in fostering the growth of critical thinking by utilizing the approach of collaborative problem-solving.

Different subject areas had a greater impact on critical thinking, and the intergroup differences were statistically significant (chi 2  = 13.36, P  < 0.05). Mathematics had the greatest overall impact, achieving a significant level of effect (ES = 1.68, P  < 0.01), followed by science (ES = 1.25, P  < 0.01) and medical science (ES = 0.87, P  < 0.01), both of which also achieved a significant level of effect. Programming technology was the least effective (ES = 0.39, P  < 0.01), only having a medium-low degree of effect compared to education (ES = 0.72, P  < 0.01) and other fields (such as language, art, and social sciences) (ES = 0.58, P  < 0.01). These results suggest that scientific fields (e.g., mathematics, science) may be the most effective subject areas for cultivating critical thinking utilizing the approach of collaborative problem-solving.

The effectiveness of collaborative problem solving with regard to teaching critical thinking

According to this meta-analysis, using collaborative problem-solving as an intervention strategy in critical thinking teaching has a considerable amount of impact on cultivating learners’ critical thinking as a whole and has a favorable promotional effect on the two dimensions of critical thinking. According to certain studies, collaborative problem solving, the most frequently used critical thinking teaching strategy in curriculum instruction can considerably enhance students’ critical thinking (e.g., Liang et al., 2017 ; Liu et al., 2020 ; Cindy, 2004 ). This meta-analysis provides convergent data support for the above research views. Thus, the findings of this meta-analysis not only effectively address the first research query regarding the overall effect of cultivating critical thinking and its impact on the two dimensions of critical thinking (i.e., attitudinal tendency and cognitive skills) utilizing the approach of collaborative problem-solving, but also enhance our confidence in cultivating critical thinking by using collaborative problem-solving intervention approach in the context of classroom teaching.

Furthermore, the associated improvements in attitudinal tendency are much stronger, but the corresponding improvements in cognitive skill are only marginally better. According to certain studies, cognitive skill differs from the attitudinal tendency in classroom instruction; the cultivation and development of the former as a key ability is a process of gradual accumulation, while the latter as an attitude is affected by the context of the teaching situation (e.g., a novel and exciting teaching approach, challenging and rewarding tasks) (Halpern, 2001 ; Wei and Hong, 2022 ). Collaborative problem-solving as a teaching approach is exciting and interesting, as well as rewarding and challenging; because it takes the learners as the focus and examines problems with poor structure in real situations, and it can inspire students to fully realize their potential for problem-solving, which will significantly improve their attitudinal tendency toward solving problems (Liu et al., 2020 ). Similar to how collaborative problem-solving influences attitudinal tendency, attitudinal tendency impacts cognitive skill when attempting to solve a problem (Liu et al., 2020 ; Zhang et al., 2022 ), and stronger attitudinal tendencies are associated with improved learning achievement and cognitive ability in students (Sison, 2008 ; Zhang et al., 2022 ). It can be seen that the two specific dimensions of critical thinking as well as critical thinking as a whole are affected by collaborative problem-solving, and this study illuminates the nuanced links between cognitive skills and attitudinal tendencies with regard to these two dimensions of critical thinking. To fully develop students’ capacity for critical thinking, future empirical research should pay closer attention to cognitive skills.

The moderating effects of collaborative problem solving with regard to teaching critical thinking

In order to further explore the key factors that influence critical thinking, exploring possible moderating effects that might produce considerable heterogeneity was done using subgroup analysis. The findings show that the moderating factors, such as the teaching type, learning stage, group size, learning scaffold, duration of the intervention, measuring tool, and the subject area included in the 36 experimental designs, could all support the cultivation of collaborative problem-solving in critical thinking. Among them, the effect size differences between the learning stage and measuring tool are not significant, which does not explain why these two factors are crucial in supporting the cultivation of critical thinking utilizing the approach of collaborative problem-solving.

In terms of the learning stage, various learning stages influenced critical thinking positively without significant intergroup differences, indicating that we are unable to explain why it is crucial in fostering the growth of critical thinking.

Although high education accounts for 70.89% of all empirical studies performed by researchers, high school may be the appropriate learning stage to foster students’ critical thinking by utilizing the approach of collaborative problem-solving since it has the largest overall effect size. This phenomenon may be related to student’s cognitive development, which needs to be further studied in follow-up research.

With regard to teaching type, mixed course teaching may be the best teaching method to cultivate students’ critical thinking. Relevant studies have shown that in the actual teaching process if students are trained in thinking methods alone, the methods they learn are isolated and divorced from subject knowledge, which is not conducive to their transfer of thinking methods; therefore, if students’ thinking is trained only in subject teaching without systematic method training, it is challenging to apply to real-world circumstances (Ruggiero, 2012 ; Hu and Liu, 2015 ). Teaching critical thinking as mixed course teaching in parallel to other subject teachings can achieve the best effect on learners’ critical thinking, and explicit critical thinking instruction is more effective than less explicit critical thinking instruction (Bensley and Spero, 2014 ).

In terms of the intervention duration, with longer intervention times, the overall effect size shows an upward tendency. Thus, the intervention duration and critical thinking’s impact are positively correlated. Critical thinking, as a key competency for students in the 21st century, is difficult to get a meaningful improvement in a brief intervention duration. Instead, it could be developed over a lengthy period of time through consistent teaching and the progressive accumulation of knowledge (Halpern, 2001 ; Hu and Liu, 2015 ). Therefore, future empirical studies ought to take these restrictions into account throughout a longer period of critical thinking instruction.

With regard to group size, a group size of 2–3 persons has the highest effect size, and the comprehensive effect size decreases with increasing group size in general. This outcome is in line with some research findings; as an example, a group composed of two to four members is most appropriate for collaborative learning (Schellens and Valcke, 2006 ). However, the meta-analysis results also indicate that once the group size exceeds 7 people, small groups cannot produce better interaction and performance than large groups. This may be because the learning scaffolds of technique support, resource support, and teacher support improve the frequency and effectiveness of interaction among group members, and a collaborative group with more members may increase the diversity of views, which is helpful to cultivate critical thinking utilizing the approach of collaborative problem-solving.

With regard to the learning scaffold, the three different kinds of learning scaffolds can all enhance critical thinking. Among them, the teacher-supported learning scaffold has the largest overall effect size, demonstrating the interdependence of effective learning scaffolds and collaborative problem-solving. This outcome is in line with some research findings; as an example, a successful strategy is to encourage learners to collaborate, come up with solutions, and develop critical thinking skills by using learning scaffolds (Reiser, 2004 ; Xu et al., 2022 ); learning scaffolds can lower task complexity and unpleasant feelings while also enticing students to engage in learning activities (Wood et al., 2006 ); learning scaffolds are designed to assist students in using learning approaches more successfully to adapt the collaborative problem-solving process, and the teacher-supported learning scaffolds have the greatest influence on critical thinking in this process because they are more targeted, informative, and timely (Xu et al., 2022 ).

With respect to the measuring tool, despite the fact that standardized measurement tools (such as the WGCTA, CCTT, and CCTST) have been acknowledged as trustworthy and effective by worldwide experts, only 54.43% of the research included in this meta-analysis adopted them for assessment, and the results indicated no intergroup differences. These results suggest that not all teaching circumstances are appropriate for measuring critical thinking using standardized measurement tools. “The measuring tools for measuring thinking ability have limits in assessing learners in educational situations and should be adapted appropriately to accurately assess the changes in learners’ critical thinking.”, according to Simpson and Courtney ( 2002 , p. 91). As a result, in order to more fully and precisely gauge how learners’ critical thinking has evolved, we must properly modify standardized measuring tools based on collaborative problem-solving learning contexts.

With regard to the subject area, the comprehensive effect size of science departments (e.g., mathematics, science, medical science) is larger than that of language arts and social sciences. Some recent international education reforms have noted that critical thinking is a basic part of scientific literacy. Students with scientific literacy can prove the rationality of their judgment according to accurate evidence and reasonable standards when they face challenges or poorly structured problems (Kyndt et al., 2013 ), which makes critical thinking crucial for developing scientific understanding and applying this understanding to practical problem solving for problems related to science, technology, and society (Yore et al., 2007 ).

Suggestions for critical thinking teaching

Other than those stated in the discussion above, the following suggestions are offered for critical thinking instruction utilizing the approach of collaborative problem-solving.

First, teachers should put a special emphasis on the two core elements, which are collaboration and problem-solving, to design real problems based on collaborative situations. This meta-analysis provides evidence to support the view that collaborative problem-solving has a strong synergistic effect on promoting students’ critical thinking. Asking questions about real situations and allowing learners to take part in critical discussions on real problems during class instruction are key ways to teach critical thinking rather than simply reading speculative articles without practice (Mulnix, 2012 ). Furthermore, the improvement of students’ critical thinking is realized through cognitive conflict with other learners in the problem situation (Yang et al., 2008 ). Consequently, it is essential for teachers to put a special emphasis on the two core elements, which are collaboration and problem-solving, and design real problems and encourage students to discuss, negotiate, and argue based on collaborative problem-solving situations.

Second, teachers should design and implement mixed courses to cultivate learners’ critical thinking, utilizing the approach of collaborative problem-solving. Critical thinking can be taught through curriculum instruction (Kuncel, 2011 ; Leng and Lu, 2020 ), with the goal of cultivating learners’ critical thinking for flexible transfer and application in real problem-solving situations. This meta-analysis shows that mixed course teaching has a highly substantial impact on the cultivation and promotion of learners’ critical thinking. Therefore, teachers should design and implement mixed course teaching with real collaborative problem-solving situations in combination with the knowledge content of specific disciplines in conventional teaching, teach methods and strategies of critical thinking based on poorly structured problems to help students master critical thinking, and provide practical activities in which students can interact with each other to develop knowledge construction and critical thinking utilizing the approach of collaborative problem-solving.

Third, teachers should be more trained in critical thinking, particularly preservice teachers, and they also should be conscious of the ways in which teachers’ support for learning scaffolds can promote critical thinking. The learning scaffold supported by teachers had the greatest impact on learners’ critical thinking, in addition to being more directive, targeted, and timely (Wood et al., 2006 ). Critical thinking can only be effectively taught when teachers recognize the significance of critical thinking for students’ growth and use the proper approaches while designing instructional activities (Forawi, 2016 ). Therefore, with the intention of enabling teachers to create learning scaffolds to cultivate learners’ critical thinking utilizing the approach of collaborative problem solving, it is essential to concentrate on the teacher-supported learning scaffolds and enhance the instruction for teaching critical thinking to teachers, especially preservice teachers.

Implications and limitations

There are certain limitations in this meta-analysis, but future research can correct them. First, the search languages were restricted to English and Chinese, so it is possible that pertinent studies that were written in other languages were overlooked, resulting in an inadequate number of articles for review. Second, these data provided by the included studies are partially missing, such as whether teachers were trained in the theory and practice of critical thinking, the average age and gender of learners, and the differences in critical thinking among learners of various ages and genders. Third, as is typical for review articles, more studies were released while this meta-analysis was being done; therefore, it had a time limit. With the development of relevant research, future studies focusing on these issues are highly relevant and needed.


The subject of the magnitude of collaborative problem-solving’s impact on fostering students’ critical thinking, which received scant attention from other studies, was successfully addressed by this study. The question of the effectiveness of collaborative problem-solving in promoting students’ critical thinking was addressed in this study, which addressed a topic that had gotten little attention in earlier research. The following conclusions can be made:

Regarding the results obtained, collaborative problem solving is an effective teaching approach to foster learners’ critical thinking, with a significant overall effect size (ES = 0.82, z  = 12.78, P  < 0.01, 95% CI [0.69, 0.95]). With respect to the dimensions of critical thinking, collaborative problem-solving can significantly and effectively improve students’ attitudinal tendency, and the comprehensive effect is significant (ES = 1.17, z  = 7.62, P  < 0.01, 95% CI [0.87, 1.47]); nevertheless, it falls short in terms of improving students’ cognitive skills, having only an upper-middle impact (ES = 0.70, z  = 11.55, P  < 0.01, 95% CI [0.58, 0.82]).

As demonstrated by both the results and the discussion, there are varying degrees of beneficial effects on students’ critical thinking from all seven moderating factors, which were found across 36 studies. In this context, the teaching type (chi 2  = 7.20, P  < 0.05), intervention duration (chi 2  = 12.18, P  < 0.01), subject area (chi 2  = 13.36, P  < 0.05), group size (chi 2  = 8.77, P  < 0.05), and learning scaffold (chi 2  = 9.03, P  < 0.01) all have a positive impact on critical thinking, and they can be viewed as important moderating factors that affect how critical thinking develops. Since the learning stage (chi 2  = 3.15, P  = 0.21 > 0.05) and measuring tools (chi 2  = 0.08, P  = 0.78 > 0.05) did not demonstrate any significant intergroup differences, we are unable to explain why these two factors are crucial in supporting the cultivation of critical thinking in the context of collaborative problem-solving.

Data availability

All data generated or analyzed during this study are included within the article and its supplementary information files, and the supplementary information files are available in the Dataverse repository: .

Bensley DA, Spero RA (2014) Improving critical thinking skills and meta-cognitive monitoring through direct infusion. Think Skills Creat 12:55–68.

Article   Google Scholar  

Castle A (2009) Defining and assessing critical thinking skills for student radiographers. Radiography 15(1):70–76.

Chen XD (2013) An empirical study on the influence of PBL teaching model on critical thinking ability of non-English majors. J PLA Foreign Lang College 36 (04):68–72

Google Scholar  

Cohen A (1992) Antecedents of organizational commitment across occupational groups: a meta-analysis. J Organ Behav.

Cooper H (2010) Research synthesis and meta-analysis: a step-by-step approach, 4th edn. Sage, London, England

Cindy HS (2004) Problem-based learning: what and how do students learn? Educ Psychol Rev 51(1):31–39

Duch BJ, Gron SD, Allen DE (2001) The power of problem-based learning: a practical “how to” for teaching undergraduate courses in any discipline. Stylus Educ Sci 2:190–198

Ennis RH (1989) Critical thinking and subject specificity: clarification and needed research. Educ Res 18(3):4–10.

Facione PA (1990) Critical thinking: a statement of expert consensus for purposes of educational assessment and instruction. Research findings and recommendations. Eric document reproduction service.

Facione PA, Facione NC (1992) The California Critical Thinking Dispositions Inventory (CCTDI) and the CCTDI test manual. California Academic Press, Millbrae, CA

Forawi SA (2016) Standard-based science education and critical thinking. Think Skills Creat 20:52–62.

Halpern DF (2001) Assessing the effectiveness of critical thinking instruction. J Gen Educ 50(4):270–286.

Hu WP, Liu J (2015) Cultivation of pupils’ thinking ability: a five-year follow-up study. Psychol Behav Res 13(05):648–654.

Huber K (2016) Does college teach critical thinking? A meta-analysis. Rev Educ Res 86(2):431–468.

Kek MYCA, Huijser H (2011) The power of problem-based learning in developing critical thinking skills: preparing students for tomorrow’s digital futures in today’s classrooms. High Educ Res Dev 30(3):329–341.

Kuncel NR (2011) Measurement and meaning of critical thinking (Research report for the NRC 21st Century Skills Workshop). National Research Council, Washington, DC

Kyndt E, Raes E, Lismont B, Timmers F, Cascallar E, Dochy F (2013) A meta-analysis of the effects of face-to-face cooperative learning. Do recent studies falsify or verify earlier findings? Educ Res Rev 10(2):133–149.

Leng J, Lu XX (2020) Is critical thinking really teachable?—A meta-analysis based on 79 experimental or quasi experimental studies. Open Educ Res 26(06):110–118.

Liang YZ, Zhu K, Zhao CL (2017) An empirical study on the depth of interaction promoted by collaborative problem solving learning activities. J E-educ Res 38(10):87–92.

Lipsey M, Wilson D (2001) Practical meta-analysis. International Educational and Professional, London, pp. 92–160

Liu Z, Wu W, Jiang Q (2020) A study on the influence of problem based learning on college students’ critical thinking-based on a meta-analysis of 31 studies. Explor High Educ 03:43–49

Morris SB (2008) Estimating effect sizes from pretest-posttest-control group designs. Organ Res Methods 11(2):364–386.

Article   ADS   Google Scholar  

Mulnix JW (2012) Thinking critically about critical thinking. Educ Philos Theory 44(5):464–479.

Naber J, Wyatt TH (2014) The effect of reflective writing interventions on the critical thinking skills and dispositions of baccalaureate nursing students. Nurse Educ Today 34(1):67–72.

National Research Council (2012) Education for life and work: developing transferable knowledge and skills in the 21st century. The National Academies Press, Washington, DC

Niu L, Behar HLS, Garvan CW (2013) Do instructional interventions influence college students’ critical thinking skills? A meta-analysis. Educ Res Rev 9(12):114–128.

Peng ZM, Deng L (2017) Towards the core of education reform: cultivating critical thinking skills as the core of skills in the 21st century. Res Educ Dev 24:57–63.

Reiser BJ (2004) Scaffolding complex learning: the mechanisms of structuring and problematizing student work. J Learn Sci 13(3):273–304.

Ruggiero VR (2012) The art of thinking: a guide to critical and creative thought, 4th edn. Harper Collins College Publishers, New York

Schellens T, Valcke M (2006) Fostering knowledge construction in university students through asynchronous discussion groups. Comput Educ 46(4):349–370.

Sendag S, Odabasi HF (2009) Effects of an online problem based learning course on content knowledge acquisition and critical thinking skills. Comput Educ 53(1):132–141.

Sison R (2008) Investigating Pair Programming in a Software Engineering Course in an Asian Setting. 2008 15th Asia-Pacific Software Engineering Conference, pp. 325–331.

Simpson E, Courtney M (2002) Critical thinking in nursing education: literature review. Mary Courtney 8(2):89–98

Stewart L, Tierney J, Burdett S (2006) Do systematic reviews based on individual patient data offer a means of circumventing biases associated with trial publications? Publication bias in meta-analysis. John Wiley and Sons Inc, New York, pp. 261–286

Tiwari A, Lai P, So M, Yuen K (2010) A comparison of the effects of problem-based learning and lecturing on the development of students’ critical thinking. Med Educ 40(6):547–554.

Wood D, Bruner JS, Ross G (2006) The role of tutoring in problem solving. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 17(2):89–100.

Wei T, Hong S (2022) The meaning and realization of teachable critical thinking. Educ Theory Practice 10:51–57

Xu EW, Wang W, Wang QX (2022) A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of programming teaching in promoting K-12 students’ computational thinking. Educ Inf Technol.

Yang YC, Newby T, Bill R (2008) Facilitating interactions through structured web-based bulletin boards: a quasi-experimental study on promoting learners’ critical thinking skills. Comput Educ 50(4):1572–1585.

Yore LD, Pimm D, Tuan HL (2007) The literacy component of mathematical and scientific literacy. Int J Sci Math Educ 5(4):559–589.

Zhang T, Zhang S, Gao QQ, Wang JH (2022) Research on the development of learners’ critical thinking in online peer review. Audio Visual Educ Res 6:53–60.

Download references


This research was supported by the graduate scientific research and innovation project of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region named “Research on in-depth learning of high school information technology courses for the cultivation of computing thinking” (No. XJ2022G190) and the independent innovation fund project for doctoral students of the College of Educational Science of Xinjiang Normal University named “Research on project-based teaching of high school information technology courses from the perspective of discipline core literacy” (No. XJNUJKYA2003).

Author information

Authors and affiliations.

College of Educational Science, Xinjiang Normal University, 830017, Urumqi, Xinjiang, China

Enwei Xu, Wei Wang & Qingxia Wang

You can also search for this author in PubMed   Google Scholar

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Enwei Xu or Wei Wang .

Ethics declarations

Competing interests.

The authors declare no competing interests.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Additional information.

Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Supplementary information

Supplementary tables, rights and permissions.

Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit .

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article.

Xu, E., Wang, W. & Wang, Q. The effectiveness of collaborative problem solving in promoting students’ critical thinking: A meta-analysis based on empirical literature. Humanit Soc Sci Commun 10 , 16 (2023).

Download citation

Received : 07 August 2022

Accepted : 04 January 2023

Published : 11 January 2023


Share this article

Anyone you share the following link with will be able to read this content:

Sorry, a shareable link is not currently available for this article.

Provided by the Springer Nature SharedIt content-sharing initiative

This article is cited by

Exploring the effects of digital technology on deep learning: a meta-analysis.

Education and Information Technologies (2024)

Impacts of online collaborative learning on students’ intercultural communication apprehension and intercultural communicative competence

  • Hoa Thi Hoang Chau
  • Hung Phu Bui
  • Quynh Thi Huong Dinh

Education and Information Technologies (2023)

Quick links

  • Explore articles by subject
  • Guide to authors
  • Editorial policies

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

The .gov means it’s official. Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.

The site is secure. The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

  • Publications
  • Account settings

Preview improvements coming to the PMC website in October 2024. Learn More or Try it out now .

  • Advanced Search
  • Journal List
  • J Athl Train
  • v.38(3); Jul-Sep 2003

Active Learning Strategies to Promote Critical Thinking

Stacy E. Walker, PhD, ATC, provided conception and design; acquisition and analysis and interpretation of the data; and drafting, critical revision, and final approval of the article.

To provide a brief introduction to the definition and disposition to think critically along with active learning strategies to promote critical thinking.

Data Sources:

I searched MEDLINE and Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) from 1933 to 2002 for literature related to critical thinking, the disposition to think critically, questioning, and various critical-thinking pedagogic techniques.

Data Synthesis:

The development of critical thinking has been the topic of many educational articles recently. Numerous instructional methods exist to promote thought and active learning in the classroom, including case studies, discussion methods, written exercises, questioning techniques, and debates. Three methods—questioning, written exercises, and discussion and debates—are highlighted.


The definition of critical thinking, the disposition to think critically, and different teaching strategies are featured. Although not appropriate for all subject matter and classes, these learning strategies can be used and adapted to facilitate critical thinking and active participation.

The development of critical thinking (CT) has been a focus of educators at every level of education for years. Imagine a certified athletic trainer (ATC) who does not consider all of the injury options when performing an assessment or an ATC who fails to consider using any new rehabilitation techniques because the ones used for years have worked. Envision ATCs who are unable to react calmly during an emergency because, although they designed the emergency action plan, they never practiced it or mentally prepared for an emergency. These are all examples of situations in which ATCs must think critically.

Presently, athletic training educators are teaching many competencies and proficiencies to entry-level athletic training students. As Davies 1 pointed out, CT is needed in clinical decision making because of the many changes occurring in education, technology, and health care reform. Yet little information exists in the athletic training literature regarding CT and methods to promote thought. Fuller, 2 using the Bloom taxonomy, classified learning objectives, written assignments, and examinations as CT and nonCT. Athletic training educators fostered more CT in their learning objectives and written assignments than in examinations. The disposition of athletic training students to think critically exists but is weak. Leaver-Dunn et al 3 concluded that teaching methods that promote the various components of CT should be used. My purpose is to provide a brief introduction to the definition and disposition to think critically along with active learning strategies to promote CT.


Four commonly referenced definitions of critical thinking are provided in Table ​ Table1. 1 . All of these definitions describe an individual who is actively engaged in the thought process. Not only is this person evaluating, analyzing, and interpreting the information, he or she is also analyzing inferences and assumptions made regarding that information. The use of CT skills such as analysis of inferences and assumptions shows involvement in the CT process. These cognitive skills are employed to form a judgment. Reflective thinking, defined by Dewey 8 as the type of thinking that consists of turning a subject over in the mind and giving it serious and consecutive consideration, can be used to evaluate the quality of judgment(s) made. 9 Unfortunately, not everyone uses CT when solving problems. Therefore, in order to think critically, there must be a certain amount of self-awareness and other characteristics present to enable a person to explain the analysis and interpretation and to evaluate any inferences made.

Various Definitions of Critical Thinking

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is i1062-6050-038-03-0263-t01.jpg


Recently researchers have begun to investigate the relationship between the disposition to think critically and CT skills. Many believe that in order to develop CT skills, the disposition to think critically must be nurtured as well. 4 , 10 – 12 Although research related to the disposition to think critically has recently increased, as far back as 1933 Dewey 8 argued that possession of knowledge is no guarantee for the ability to think well but that an individual must desire to think. Open mindedness, wholeheartedness, and responsibility were 3 of the attitudes he felt were important traits of character to develop the habit of thinking. 8

More recently, the American Philosophical Association Delphi report on critical thinking 7 was released in 1990. This report resulted from a questionnaire regarding CT completed by a cross-disciplinary panel of experts from the United States and Canada. Findings included continued support for the theory that to develop CT, an individual must possess and use certain dispositional characteristics. Based upon the dispositional phrases, the California Critical Thinking Dispositional Inventory 13 was developed. Seven dispositions (Table ​ (Table2) 2 ) were derived from the original 19 published in the Delphi report. 12 It is important to note that these are attitudes or affects, which are sought after in an individual, and not thinking skills. Facione et al 9 purported that a person who thinks critically uses these 7 dispositions to form and make judgments. For example, if an individual is not truth seeking, he or she may not consider other opinions or theories regarding an issue or problem before forming an opinion. A student may possess the knowledge to think critically about an issue, but if these dispositional affects do not work in concert, the student may fail to analyze, evaluate, and synthesize the information to think critically. More research is needed to determine the relationship between CT and the disposition to think critically.

Dispositions to Think Critically 12

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is i1062-6050-038-03-0263-t02.jpg


Educators can use various instructional methods to promote CT and problem solving. Although educators value a student who thinks critically about concepts, the spirit or disposition to think critically is, unfortunately, not always present in all students. Many college faculty expect their students to think critically. 14 Some nursing-specific common assumptions made by university nursing teaching faculty are provided 15 (Table ​ (Table3) 3 ) because no similar research exists in athletic training. Espeland and Shanta 16 argued that faculty who select lecture formats as a large part of their teaching strategy may be enabling students. When lecturing, the instructor organizes and presents essential information without student input. This practice eliminates the opportunity for students to decide for themselves what information is important to know. For example, instead of telling our students via lecture what medications could be given to athletes with an upper respiratory infection, they could be assigned to investigate medications and decide which one is appropriate.

Common Assumptions of Nursing Faculty 15

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is i1062-6050-038-03-0263-t03.jpg

Students need to be exposed to diverse teaching methods that promote CT in order to nurture the CT process. 14 , 17 – 19 As pointed out by Kloss, 20 sometimes students are stuck and unable to understand that various answers exist for one problem. Each ATC has a different method of taping a sprained ankle, performing special tests, and obtaining medical information. Kloss 20 stated that students must be exposed to ambiguity and multiple interpretations and perspectives of a situation or problem in order to stimulate growth. As students move through their clinical experiences, they witness the various methods for taping ankles, performing special tests, and obtaining a thorough history from an injured athlete. Paul and Elder 21 stated that many professors may try to encourage students to learn a body of knowledge by stating that body of knowledge in a sequence of lectures and then asking students to internalize knowledge outside of class on their own time. Not all students possess the thinking skills to analyze and synthesize information without practice. The following 3 sections present information and examples of different teaching techniques to promote CT.


An assortment of questioning tactics exists to promote CT. Depending on how a question is asked, the student may use various CT skills such as interpretation, analysis, and recognition of assumptions to form a conclusion. Mills 22 suggested that the thoughtful use of questions may be the quintessential activity of an effective teacher. Questions are only as good as the thought put into them and should go beyond knowledge-level recall. 22 Researchers 23 , 24 have found that often clinical teachers asked significantly more lower-level cognitive questions than higher-level questions. Questions should be designed to promote evaluation and synthesis of facts and concepts. Asking a student to evaluate when proprioception exercises should be included in a rehabilitation program is more challenging than asking a student to define proprioception. Higher-level thinking questions should start or end with words or phrases such as, “explain,” “compare,” “why,” “which is a solution to the problem,” “what is the best and why,” and “do you agree or disagree with this statement?” For example, a student could be asked to compare the use of parachlorophenylalanine versus serotonin for control of posttreatment soreness. Examples of words that can be used to begin questions to challenge at the different levels of the Bloom Taxonomy 25 are given in Table ​ Table4. 4 . The Bloom Taxonomy 25 is a hierarchy of thinking skills that ranges from simple skills, such as knowledge, to complex thinking, such as evaluation. Depending on the initial words used in the question, students can be challenged at different levels of cognition.

Examples of Questions 23

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is i1062-6050-038-03-0263-t04.jpg

Another type of questioning technique is Socratic questioning. Socratic questioning is defined as a type of questioning that deeply probes or explores the meaning, justification, or logical strength of a claim, position, or line of reasoning. 4 , 26 Questions are asked that investigate assumptions, viewpoints, consequences, and evidence. Questioning methods, such as calling on students who do not have their hands up, can enhance learning by engaging students to think. The Socratic method focuses on clarification. A student's answer to a question can be followed by asking a fellow student to summarize the previous answer. Summarizing the information allows the student to demonstrate whether he or she was listening, had digested the information, and understood it enough to put it into his or her own words. Avoiding questions with one set answer allows for different viewpoints and encourages students to compare problems and approaches. Asking students to explain how the high school and the collegiate or university field experiences are similar and different is an example. There is no right or wrong answer because the answers depend upon the individual student's experiences. 19 Regardless of the answer, the student must think critically about the topic to form a conclusion of how the field experiences are different and similar.

In addition to using these questioning techniques, it is equally important to orient the students to this type of classroom interaction. Mills 22 suggested that provocative questions should be brief and contain only one or two issues at a time for class reflection. It is also important to provide deliberate silence, or “wait” time, for students upon asking questions. 22 , 27 Waiting at least 5 seconds allows the students to think and encourages thought. Elliot 18 argued that waiting even as long as 10 seconds allows the students time to think about possibilities. If a thought question is asked, time must be given for the students to think about the answer.

Classroom Discussion and Debates

Classroom discussion and debates can promote critical thinking. Various techniques are available. Bernstein 28 developed a negotiation model in which students were confronted with credible but antagonistic arguments. Students were challenged to deal with the tension between the two arguments. This tension is believed to be one component driving critical thought. Controversial issues in psychology, such as animal rights and pornography, were presented and discussed. Students responded favorably and, as the class progressed over time, they reported being more comfortable arguing both sides of an issue. In athletic training education, a negotiation model could be employed to discuss certain topics, such as the use of heat versus ice or the use of ultrasound versus electric stimulation in the treatment of an injury. Students could be assigned to defend the use of a certain treatment. Another strategy to promote students to seek both sides of an issue is pro and con grids. 29 Students create grids with the pros and cons or advantages or disadvantages of an issue or treatment. Debate was used to promote CT in second-year medical students. 30 After debating, students reported improvements in literature searching, weighing risks and benefits of treatments, and making evidence-based decisions. Regardless of the teaching methods used, students should be exposed to analyzing the costs and benefits of issues, problems, and treatments to help prepare them for real-life decision making.

Observing the reasoning skills of another person was used by Galotti 31 to promote CT. Students were paired, and 4 reasoning tasks were administered. As the tasks were administered, students were told to talk aloud through the reasoning process of their decisions. Students who were observing were to write down key phrases and statements. This same process can be used in an injury-evaluation class. One student performs an evaluation while the others in the class observe. Classroom discussion can then follow. Another alternative is to divide students into pairs. One student performs an evaluation while the other observes. After the evaluation is completed, the students discuss with each other the evaluation (Table ​ (Table5 5 presents examples). Another option is to have athletic training students observe a student peer or ATC during a field evaluation of an athlete. While observing, the student can write down any questions or topics to discuss after the evaluation, providing the student an opportunity to ask why certain evaluation methods were and were not used.

Postevaluation Questions

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is i1062-6050-038-03-0263-t05.jpg

Daily newspaper clippings directly related to current classroom content also allow an instructor to incorporate discussion into the classroom. 32 For example, an athlete who has been reported to have died as a result of heat illness could provide subject matter for classroom discussion or various written assignments. Such news also affords the instructor an opportunity to discuss the affective components involved. Students could be asked to step into the role of the ATC and think about the reported implications of this death from different perspectives. They could also list any assumptions made by the article or follow-up questions they would ask if they could interview the persons involved. This provides a forum to enlighten students to think for themselves and realize that not each person in the room perceives the article the same way. Whatever the approach taken, investigators and educators agree that assignments and arguments are useful to promote thought among students.

Written Assignments

In-class and out-of-class assignments can also serve as powerful vehicles to allow students to expand their thinking processes. Emig 33 believed that involving students in writing serves their learning uniquely because writing, as process and product, possesses a cluster of attributes that correspond uniquely to certain powerful learning strategies. As a general rule, assignments for the purpose of promoting thought should be short (not long term papers) and focus on the aspect of thinking. 19 Research or 1-topic papers may or may not be a student's own thoughts, and Meyers 32 argued that term papers often prove to be exercises in recapitulating the thoughts of others.

Allegretti and Frederick 34 used a variety of cases from a book to promote CT regarding different ethical issues. Countless case-study situations can be created to allow students to practice managing situations and assess clinical decision making. For example, after reading the National Athletic Trainers' Association position statement on lightning, a student can be asked to address the following scenario: “Explain how you would handle a situation in which a coach has kept athletes outside practicing unsafely. What information would you use from this statement to explain your concerns? Explain why you picked the specific concerns.” These questions can be answered individually or in small groups and then discussed in class. The students will pick different concerns based on their thinking. This variety in answers is not only one way to show that no answer is right or wrong but also allows students to defend their answers to peers. Questions posed on listservs are excellent avenues to enrich a student's education. Using these real-life questions, students read about real issues and concerns of ATCs. These topics present excellent opportunities to pose questions to senior-level athletic training students to examine how they would handle the situation. This provides the students a safe place to analyze the problem and form a decision. Once the students make a decision, additional factors, assumptions, and inferences can be discussed by having all students share the solution they chose.

Lantz and Meyers 35 used personification and assigned students to assume the character of a drug. Students were to relate themselves to the drug, in the belief that drugs exhibit many unique characteristics, such as belonging to a family, interaction problems, adverse reactions, and so forth. The development of analogies comes from experience and comparing one theory or scenario to another with strong similarities.

Fopma-Loy and Ulrich 36 identified various CT classroom exercises educators can implement to promote higher-order thought (Table ​ (Table6). 6 ). Many incorporate a personal reaction from the student and allow the student to link that learning to his or her feelings. This personal reaction of feelings to cognitive information is important to show the relevance of material.

Exercises to Promote Critical Thought 36

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is i1062-6050-038-03-0263-t06.jpg

Last, poems are another avenue that can be used to promote CT. 20 Although poems are widely thought of as an assignment in an English class, athletic training students may benefit from this creative writing activity. The focus of this type of homework activity should be on reviewing content creatively. The lines of the poem need not rhyme as long as appropriate content is explained in the poem. For example, a poem on the knee could be required to include signs, symptoms, and anatomical content of one injury or various injuries. A poem on head injuries could focus on the different types of history questions that should be asked. Students should understand that the focus of the assignment is a creative review of the material and not a test of their poetic qualities. The instructor should complete a poem as well. To break the ice, the instructor's poem can be read first, followed by a student volunteering to read his or her poem.


Regardless of the methods used to promote CT, care must be taken to consider the many factors that may inhibit a student from thinking critically. The student's disposition to think critically is a major factor, and if a deficit in a disposition is noticed, this should be nurtured. Students should be encouraged to be inquisitive, ask questions, and not believe and accept everything they are told. As pointed out by Loving and Wilson 14 and Oermann, 19 thought develops with practice and evaluation over time using multiple strategies. Additionally, faculty should be aware of their course goals and learning objectives. If these goals and objectives are stated as higher-order thought outcomes, then activities that promote CT should be included in classroom activities and assignments. 14 Finally, it is important that CT skills be encouraged and reinforced in all classes by teaching faculty, not only at the college level but at every level of education. Although huge gains in CT may not be reflected in all college students, we can still plant the seed and encourage students to use their thinking abilities in the hope these will grow over time.

K-12 Resources By Teachers, For Teachers Provided by the K-12 Teachers Alliance

  • Teaching Strategies
  • Classroom Activities
  • Classroom Management
  • Technology in the Classroom
  • Professional Development
  • Lesson Plans
  • Writing Prompts
  • Graduate Programs

Teaching Strategies to Promote Critical Thinking

Janelle cox.

  • September 9, 2014

Young boy pointing to a light bulb drawn on a chalkboard

Critical thinking is an essential skill that all students will use in almost every aspect of their lives. From solving problems to making informed decisions, thinking critically is a valuable skill that will help students navigate the world’s complexities. In a post-COVID teaching environment , incorporating teaching strategies that help students think rationally and independently is an excellent way to strengthen students’ abilities and prepare them for any new challenges in the future.

There are several techniques to engage students and help strengthen these skills. Here are some teaching strategies that prove to be effective.

Encourage Students to Question Everything

We are now living in a world where AI ( artificial intelligence ) is slowly making its way into the classrooms. With these innovations, it’s imperative today, more than ever, for students to question everything and understand how to verify information when making an informed decision. AI has the potential to spread misinformation or be biased. Teach students to be careful of what is and is not a reliable source . Discuss credibility and bias and have students look for examples of both trusted content and misinformation. By using different forms of media for this exercise, students will need to use their critical thinking skills to determine the validity of the information.

Activate Student Curiosity

You can activate a student’s curiosity by using the inquiry-based learning model. This approach involves posing questions or problems for students to discover the answers on their own. In this method, students develop questions they want to know the answers to, and their teacher serves as their guide providing support as needed along the way. This approach nurtures curiosity and self-directed learning by encouraging students to think critically and independently. Recent  research  from 2019 supports the assertion that the use of this model significantly enhances students’ critical thinking abilities.

Incorporate Project-Based Learning

Immerse students in real-world problem scenarios by having them partake in project-based learning. Engaging in hands-on projects where students need to collaborate, communicate, analyze information, and find solutions to their challenges is a great way to develop their critical thinking skills. Throughout the project, students must engage in higher-order thinking while gathering their information and making decisions throughout various stages.

This approach pushes students to think critically while they connect to a real-world issue, and it helps them understand the relevance this issue has in their lives. Throughout the project, students will hone their critical thinking skills because PBL is a process that requires reflection and continuous improvement.

Offer Diverse Perspectives

Consider offering students a variety of viewpoints. Sometimes classrooms are filled with students who share similar perspectives on their beliefs and cultural norms. When this happens, it hinders learners from alternative viewpoints or experiences. Exposing students to diverse perspectives will help to broaden their horizons and challenge them to think beyond their perspectives. In addition, being exposed to different viewpoints encourages students to be more open-minded so they are more equipped to develop problem-solving strategies and analytical skills. It also helps them to cultivate empathy which is critical for critical thinking because it helps them appreciate others more and be concerned for them.

To support diverse viewpoints in the classroom, use various primary sources such as documentaries and articles from people who have experienced current events firsthand. Or invite in a few guest speakers who can offer varying perspectives on the same topic. Bring diverse perspectives into the classroom through guest speakers or by watching documentaries from varying experts.

Assign Tasks on Critical Writing

Assign writing tasks that encourage students to organize and articulate their thoughts and defend their position. By doing so, you are offering students the opportunity to demonstrate their critical thinking skills as well as effectively communicate their thoughts and ideas. Whether it’s through a research paper or an essay, students will need to support their claims and show evidence to prove their point of view. Critical writing also requires students to analyze information, scrutinize different perspectives, and question the reliability of sources, all of which contribute to the development of their critical thinking skills.

Promote Collaboration

Collaborative learning is a powerful tool that promotes critical thinking among students. Whether it’s through group discussions, classroom debates , or group projects, peer interaction will help students develop the ability to think critically. For example, a classroom debate will challenge students to articulate their thoughts, defend their viewpoints, and consider opposing viewpoints.

It will also challenge students to have a deep understanding of the subject matter as well as sharpen their communication skills. Any group setting where students can work together and be exposed to the thought processes of their classmates will help them understand that their way of thinking is not the only way. Through peer interaction, students will develop the ability to think critically.

Critical thinking requires consistency and commitment. This means that to make the above teaching strategies effective, they must be used consistently throughout the year. Encourage students to question everything and verify all information and resources. Activate student curiosity by using the inquiry-based learning model. Incorporate a real-world project that students can work on throughout the entire semester or school year. Assign critical writing tasks that require students to analyze information and prove their point of view. Finally, foster peer interaction where students work with their classmates to sharpen their communication skills and gain a deeper understanding of other perspectives.

The ultimate goal is for students to become independent thinkers who are capable of analyzing and solving their own problems. By modeling and developing student’s critical thinking skills in the classroom we are setting the stage for our student’s growth and success in the future.

  • #CriticalThinking , #TeachingStrategies

More in Teaching Strategies

A student works on her handwriting with her teacher.

Helping Students Improve Their Handwriting

Despite the widespread use of technology in the classroom, handwriting remains an essential…

An organized classroom has a colorful focus wall hung up on the wall.

Unleashing the Learning Potential of Classroom Focus Walls

Focus walls have emerged as an effective tool in today’s classrooms, and for…

An older student uses a microscope in science class.

Getting Older Students Excited About Science Class

As students move into middle and high school, it becomes increasingly challenging for…

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

AI-Powered Lesson Planning: Revolutionizing the Way Teachers Create Content

Traditional teaching methods are evolving since technology has been integrated into classrooms across…

Check Out the New Website Shop!

Teaching with a Mountain View

Novels & Picture Books

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

Anchor Charts


6 Strategies for Increasing Critical Thinking with Problem Solving

By Mary Montero

Share This Post:

  • Facebook Share
  • Twitter Share
  • Pinterest Share
  • Email Share

Learn six strategies for increasing critical thinking through word problems and error analysis. Also includes several FREE resources to improve critical thinking.

For many teachers, problem-solving feels synonymous with word problems, but it is so much more. That’s why I’m sharing my absolute favorite lessons and strategies for increasing critical thinking through problem solving below. You’ll learn six strategies for increasing critical thinking through mathematical word problems, the importance of incorporating error analysis into your weekly routines,  and several resources I use for improving critical thinking – almost all of which are free! I’ll also briefly touch on teaching students to dissect word problems in a way that enables them to truly understand what steps to take to solve the problem.

Learn six strategies for increasing critical thinking through word problems and error analysis. Also includes several FREE resources to improve critical thinking.

This post is based on my short and sweet (and FREE!) Increasing Critical Thinking with problem Solving math mini-course . When you enroll in the free course you’ll get access to everything you need to get started:

  • Problem Solving Essentials
  • Six lessons to implement into your classroom
  • How to Implement Error Analysis
  • FREE Error Analysis Starter Kit
  • FREE Mathematician Posters
  • FREE Multi-Step Problem Solving Starter Kit
  • FREE Task Card Starter Kit


Introduction to Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

According to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, “The term “problem solving” refers to mathematical tasks that have the potential to provide intellectual challenges for enhancing students’ mathematical understanding and development .)”

That’s a lot of words, but I’d like to focus in on the word POTENTIAL. I’m going to share with you strategies that move these tasks from having the potential to provide a challenge to actually providing that challenge that will enrich their mathematical understanding and development. 

If you’re looking for an introduction to multi-step problem solving, I have a free multi-step problem solving starter kit for that! 

I also highly encourage you to download and use my free Mathematician posters that help students see what their “jobs” are as mathematicians. Giving students this title of mathematician not only holds them accountable, but it gives them greater confidence and gives me very specific verbiage to use when discussing math with my students. 

The impacts of Incorporating Problem Solving

When I made the shift to incorporate problem solving into my everyday instruction intentionally, I saw a distinct increase in student understanding and application of mathematical concepts, more authentic connections to real-world mathematics scenarios, greater student achievement, and notably increased engagement. There are also ripple effects observed in other areas, as students learn grit and a growth mindset after tackling some more challenging problem-solving situations. I hope that by implementing some of these ideas, you see the very same shift.

Here’s an overview of some problem solving essentials I use to teach students to solve problems.

Routine vs. Non-Routine Problem Solving

Routine problems comprise the vast majority of the word problems we pose to students. They require using an algorithm through one or more of the four major operations, have relevance to real-world situations, and often have a distinct answer. They are solvable, and students can use several concrete strategies for solving, like “make a table” or “draw a picture” to solve.

Conversely, non-routine problem-solving focuses on mathematical reasoning. These are often more open-ended and allow students to make generalizations about math and numbers. There isn’t usually a straight path leading to the answer, there isn’t an algorithm readily available for finding the solution (or students are going to have to come up with the algorithm), and it IS going to require some level of experimentation and manipulation of numbers in order to solve it. In non-routine problems, students learn to look for patterns, work backwards, build models, etc. 

Incorporating both routine and non-routine problems into your instruction for EVERY student is critical. When solving non-routine problems, students can use some of the strategies they’ve learned for solving routine problems, and when solving routine problems, students benefit from a deeper understanding of the complexity of numbers that they gained from non-routine problems. For this training, we will focus heavily on routine problems, though the impacts of these practices will transition into non-routine problem solving.

Increasing Critical Thinking in Problem Solving

When tackling a problem, students need to be able to determine WHAT to do and HOW to do it.  Knowing the HOW is what you likely teach every day – your students know how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide. But knowing WHAT to do is arguably the most essential part of solving problems – once students know what needs to be done, then they can apply the conceptual skills – the algorithms and strategies – they’ve learned and will know how to solve. While dissecting word problems is an excellent starting point, exposing students to various ways to examine problems can help them figure out the WHAT. 

Being faced with a lengthy, complex word problem can be intimidating to even your most adept students. Having a toolbox of strategies to use when you tackle problems and seeing problems in various ways can enable students to get to the point where they feel comfortable knowing where to begin.

Shifting away from keywords

While it isn’t best practice to rely solely on operation “keywords” to determine what operation needs to occur when solving a problem, I’m not ready to fully ditch keyword-based instruction in math. I think there’s a huge difference between teaching students to blindly rely on keywords to determine which operation to use for a solution and using words found in the text to guide students in figuring out what to do. For that reason, I place heavy emphasis on using precise mathematical vocabulary , including specific operation keywords, and when students become accustomed to using that precise mathematical vocabulary every day, it really helps them to identify that language in word problems as well.

I also allow my students to dissect math word problems using strategies like CUBES , but in a way that is more aligned with best practice. 


Six Lessons for Easy Implementation

Here are six super quick “outside the box” word problem, problem solving lessons to begin implementing into your classroom. These lessons shouldn’t replace your everyday problem solving, but are instead extensions that will help students tackle those tricky problems they encounter everyday. As a reminder, we look at all of these lessons in the FREE Increasing Critical Thinking with problem Solving math mini-course .

Lesson #1: What’s the Question?

In this lesson, we’ll encourage students to see. just how many different questions can be asked about the same statements or information. We start with a typical, one-step, one-operation problem. Then we cross out or cover up the answer and ask students to generate possible questions.

After students have come up with a variety of questions, ask them to determine HOW they would solve for each one.

Reveal the question and ask students how they would solve this one and see if any of the questions they came up with match.

This activity is important because it demonstrates to students just how many different questions can be asked about the same statement or information. It’s perfect for your students who automatically pick out numbers and start “operating” on them blindly. I’ve had students come up with 5-8 questions with a single statement!

I like to do this throughout the year using different word problems based on the skill we’re focused on at the time AND skills we’ve previously mastered, but be careful not to only use examples based on the skill you’re teaching right then so their brains don’t automatically go to the same place.

These 32 What’s My Operation? task cards will help your student learn and review which operations to use for different types of word problems! They’re perfect to use as a quick assessment, game of SCOOT, math center activity, or homework.

Operation Task Cards 1 1644761

Lesson 2: Similar Scenarios

In this lesson, students will evaluate similar scenarios to determine the appropriate operations. Start with three similar scenarios requiring different operations and identify what situation is happening in each scenario (finding total, determining an amount, splitting or combining, etc.).

Read all three-word problems on a similar topic. Determine the similarity of all of them and determine which operation would be used to solve them. How does the situation/action of the problem help you determine what step to take?

I also created these differentiated word problem task cards after noticing my students struggling with which operation to choose, especially when given multiple problems from a similar scenario. They encourage students to select the appropriate operation for each word problem.

Whats the Operation

Lesson 3: Opposing Operations

In this lesson, students will determine relevant information from a set of facts, which requires a great deal of critical thinking to determine which operation to use. Give students a scenario and a variety of facts/information relating to the scenario as well as several questions to answer based on the facts . Students will focus on determining HOW they will solve each question using only the relevant information. 

These Operation Fascination task c ards engage students in critical thinking about operations. Each card has a scenario, multiple clues and facts to support the scenario, and four questions to accompany each scenario. The questions are a variety of operations so that students can see how using the same information can solve multiple problems.

Operation Task Cards 5243676

Lesson 4: Next Level Numberless

In this lesson, we’ll take numberless word problems to the next level by developing a strong conceptual understanding of word problems. Give students scenarios without numbers and have them write a question and/or insert numbers using a specific operation and purpose . This requires a great deal of thinking to not only determine the situation, but to also figure out numbers that fit into the situation in a way that makes sense.

By integrating these types of math problems into your daily lessons, you can significantly enhance your students’ comprehension of word problems and problem-solving. These numberless word problem task cards are the ideal to improve your students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills. They offer a variety of numbered and numberless word problems.

Numberless Word Problems 1 9656236

Lesson 5: Story Situations

In this lesson, we’ll discuss the importance of students generating their own word problems with a given set of information. This requires a great deal of quantitative reasoning as students determine how they would use a given set of numbers to create a realistic situation. Present students with two predetermined numbers and a theme. Then have students write a word problem, including a question, using the given information. 

Engage your students in additional practice with these differentiated division task cards that require your students to write their OWN word problems (and create real-world relevance in their learning!). Each task card has numbers and a theme that students use to guide their thinking and creation of a word problem.

Long Division Task Cards 2 1289301

Lesson 6: No Scenario Solving

In this lesson, we’ll decontextualize problem solving and require students to create the situation, represent it numerically, and solve. It’s a cognitively demanding task! Give students an operation and a purpose (joining, separating, comparing, etc.) with no other context, numbers, numbers, or theme. Then have students generate a word problem.

For additional practice, have students swap problems to identify the operation, purpose, and solution.

Implementing Error Analysis

Error analysis is an exceptional way to promote thinking and learning, but how do we teach students to figure out which type of math error they’ve made? This error analysis starter kit can help!

First, it is very rare that I will tell my students what error they have made in their work. I want to challenge them to figure it out on their own. So, when I see that they have a wrong answer, I ask them to go back and figure out where something went wrong. Because I resist the urge to tell them right away where their error is, my students tend to get a lot more practice identifying them!

Second, when I introduce a concept, I always, always, always create anchor charts with students and complete interactive notebook activities with them so that they have step-by-step procedures for completing tasks right at their fingertips. I have them go back and reference their notebooks while they are looking at their errors.  Usually, they can follow the anchor chart step-by-step to make sure they haven’t made a conceptual error, and if they have, they can identify it.

Third, I let them use a calculator. When worst comes to worst, and they are fairly certain they haven’t made a conceptual mistake to identify, I let them get out a calculator and start computing, step-by-step to see where they’ve made a mistake.

IF, after taking these steps, a student can’t figure out their mistake (especially if I find that it’s a conceptual mistake), I know I need to go back and do some individual reteaching with them because they don’t have a solid understanding of the concept.

This FREE addition error analysis is a good place to start, no matter the grade level. I show them the process of walking through the problem and how best to complete an error analysis task.

Digging Deeper into Error Analysis

Once students show proficiency in the standard algorithm (or strategies), I take it a step further and have them dive into error analysis where they can show a “reverse” understanding as they evaluate mistakes made and fix them. Being able to identify an error in someone else’s work requires higher order thinking not found in most other projects or activities and certainly not found in basic math fact completion.

First, teach students the difference between a computational error and a conceptual error. 

  • Computational is when they make a mistake in basic math facts. This might look as simple as  64/8 does not equal 7. Oops!
  • A Conceptual or Procedural Error is when they make a mistake in the procedure or concept. 
  • I can’t tell you how many times students show as not proficient on a topic when the mistakes they are making are COMPUTATIONAL and not conceptual or procedural. They don’t need more review in how to use a strategy… they need to slow down and pay closer attention to their math facts!

Once we’ve introduced the types of errors they should be looking out for, we move on to actually analyzing these errors in someone else’s work and fixing the mistake.

I have created error analysis tasks for you to use with you students so they can identify the errors, types of errors, rework the problem, and create their own version of the problem and solve it. I have seen great success with incorporating these tasks into ALL of my math units. I even have kids beg to take their error analysis tasks out to recess to finish! These are great resources to start:

  • Error Analysis Bundle
  • 3rd Grade Word Problem of the Day
  • 4th Grade Word Problem of the Day
  • 5th Grade Word Problem of the Day

The final step in using error analysis is actually having students correct their OWN mistakes. Once I have instructed on types of errors, I will start by simply telling them, Oops! You’ve made a computational error here! That way they aren’t furiously looking through the procedure for a mistake, instead they are looking to see where they computed wrong. Conversely, I’ll tell them if they’ve made a procedural mistake, and that can guide them in figuring out what they need to look for.

Looking at the different types of errors students are making is essential to guiding my instruction as well, so even though it takes a bit longer to grade things like this, it is immensely helpful to me as I make adjustments to my instruction.

Resources and Ideas for Critical Thinking

I’ve compiled a collection of websites for complex tasks with multiple, open-ended answers and scenarios. The majority of these tasks are non-routine and so easy to implement. I often post these tasks and allow students short bursts of time to strategize and plan for a solution. Consider using the tasks and problems from these sites as warm-ups, extensions of your morning meeting, during enrichment groups, or on a Problem of the Week board. I also highly encourage you to incorporate these non-routine problems into your core instruction time for all students at least once or twice a month.

  • NRICH provides thousands of FREE online mathematics resources for ages 3 to 18. The tasks focus on developing problem-solving skills, perseverance, mathematical reasoning, the ability to apply knowledge creatively in unfamiliar contexts, and confidence in tackling new challenges..
  • Open Middle offers challenging math word problems that require a higher depth of knowledge than most problems that assess procedural and conceptual understanding. They support the Common Core State Standards and provide students with opportunities for discussing their thinking. All problems have a “closed beginning,” meaning that they all start with the same initial problem, a “closed-end” meaning that they all end with the same answer, and an “open middle” meaning that there are multiple ways to approach and ultimately solve the problem.
  • Mathcurious offers interactive digital puzzles. Each adventure is dedicated to exploring the world of math and sharing experiences, knowledge, and ideas.
  • Robert Kaplinsky shares math strategies, lessons, and resources designed to create problem solvers. The lessons are detailed and challenging!
  • Mathigon “The mathematical playground” offers free manipulatives, activities, and lessons to make online learning interactive and engaging. The digital manipulates are a must-use!
  • Fractal Foundation uses fractals to inspire interest in science, math and art. It has numerous fractal activities, software to help your students create their own fractals, and more.
  • Greg Fletcher 3 Act Tasks contain engaging math videos with guiding questions. You can also download recording sheets to go with each video.

Mary Montero

I’m so glad you are here. I’m a current gifted and talented teacher in a small town in Colorado, and I’ve been in education since 2009. My passion (other than my family and cookies) is for making teachers’ lives easier and classrooms more engaging.

You might also like…


Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

©2023 Teaching With a Mountain View . All Rights Reserved | Designed by Ashley Hughes

Username or Email Address

Remember Me

Lost your password?

Review Cart

No products in the cart.

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom


Thinking Classrooms: How To Promote Critical Thinking In Class

The Thinking Classroom is an approach to teaching that prioritizes the development of students’ critical thinking skills. In this type of classroom, the teacher acts as a facilitator rather than a traditional lecturer. Students are encouraged to actively engage with the material and collaborate with their peers.

The key to a Thinking Classroom is to focus on the process of learning rather than simply the acquisition of knowledge. This means that teachers must create opportunities for students to think critically, solve problems, and reflect on their learning.

We’ve rounded up the 14 practices of a Thinking Classroom below. 

thinking classroom

What are the 14 Practices of a Thinking Classroom?

The fourteen principles of a Thinking Classroom are designed to promote a classroom environment that encourages critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration. 

Here’s a summary of each principle to help teachers create an engaging and effective learning environment:

1. Classroom Culture of Thinking

Create a classroom culture that values thinking, learning, and intellectual development. Start with thinking tasks that are separate from your curriculum. This eases the transition to everyday thinking classroom activities. It’s hard for students to think deeper and for longer periods, so this transition should be gradual. You can start with non-curricular tasks as an ice breaker at the beginning of the school year.

2. Opportunities to Think in Groups

Provide opportunities for students to think and engage in meaningful group learning experiences. The Thinking Classroom practices emphasize “visibly random groups” that change frequently. This reduces social anxiety in the group and decreases communication barriers. 

3. Vertical and Non-permanant Workspaces

You may have noticed that the traditional method of having students sit at their desks and take notes is only sometimes the best way to promote active thinking in your classroom. Recent research has shown that students are more engaged and productive when standing and working on vertical non-permanent surfaces (VNPSs) like whiteboards, blackboards, or windows. The fact that the surface is non-permanent encourages risk-taking and experimentation, while the vertical orientation prevents students from disengaging. 

4. Room Layout

Research has shown that traditional, front-facing classrooms promote passive learning. At the same time, a more flexible, de-fronted setup—where students are free to face any direction—can be much more effective in promoting active thinking and engagement. So when designing your classroom layout, it’s essential to consider how the physical space can support the learning you want to see.

5. Answer Questions that Promote Thinking

You answer hundreds of questions each day in class. But not all of the questions encourage your students to keep thinking. Here are the common types:

  • Proximity questions: Questions students ask because you’re close by and convenient.
  • Stop-thinking questions: Questions students ask so they can mark a task complete. (i.e., Is this right?)
  • Keep-thinking questions: Questions that help them along, so they can continue working through a task.

Answer only questions that keep students thinking.

6. Give Tasks in the Right Manner

Give tasks early in class while students are standing around a teacher. Give verbal tasks, and avoid visual cues that promote passive learning. This differs from the traditional manner of giving examples from the textbook or a worksheet.  

7. Homework

Stop giving homework and instead give students opportunities to check their understanding. Make it optional so students can freely engage with authentic practice. 

8. Promote Student Autonomy

As step 5 outlines, don’t solve problems for students. Let them struggle so they build confidence in their independence. This may mean asking a peer for help or looking around the room for a hint. When students are on their own, they take ownership of their learning. 

9. Give Support So Students Can Learn at Their Own Pace

Encourage students to learn at their own pace by creating hints, extensions, and practice that meets them where they are in their learning. This is different from the typical guided practice that occurs in most classrooms. 

10. Consolidate Lessons

Consolidation is crucial to help students combine different parts of a task or activity and ultimately form a more comprehensive understanding of the concept taught. Traditionally, teachers have relied on methods like showing, telling, or explaining to help students achieve their learning objectives.

In a thinking classroom, consolidation takes a different approach. Instead of relying on teacher-led instruction, consolidation works upward from the basic foundation of a concept. By drawing on the student work produced during their thinking on a common set of tasks, teachers can help students develop a deeper understanding of the concept.

To facilitate this process, teachers should provide open-ended questions, encourage peer-to-peer discussions, or engage in activities that allow students to explore and experiment with the concept taught.

11. Give Students Autonomy Over Notes

Only one in five students review their notes again after taking them in class. Give students the option of choosing which notes to take while learning. They are more likely to refer back to notes later.

12. Evaluate Values That Matter Most

If you want your students to participate, take risks, and persevere in the classroom, you should incorporate these values into evaluations. Assessment should go beyond curriculum knowledge. 

13. Bring Students into Formative Assessment

Your students need to understand where they are and where they need to be with their learning. This means that they need to be a partner in formative assessment . Like students taking the lead over homework, they need to take the lead on owning their success in formative assessment. 

14. Assessment Needs to Connect to an Outcome

Use assessments that measure and value thinking and understanding, not just rote memorization. This may look like standards-based grading. Students need to understand what they know and don’t know after they complete an assessment.

By implementing these principles, teachers can create a dynamic and engaging classroom that promotes deep learning and helps students develop the critical thinking and problem-solving skills they need to succeed in school and beyond.

TeacherMade helps teachers infuse technology into their Thinking Classrooms.

TeacherMade does more than convert PDFs into online activities. Teachers use TeacherMade to promote critical thinking skills. You can incorporate the Thinking Classroom practices with TeacherMade:

  • Every TeacherMade assignment is a non-permanent surface. Students can complete assignments again and again until they have reached mastery. 
  • Create a culture of practice rather than homework and worksheets. With TeacherMade, you can choose to grade or not grade assignments. Students can complete practice as many times as they need.
  • TeacherMade supports asynchronous learning so that students can learn at their own pace.
  • Students are more involved with formative assessment when they receive instant feedback via auto-grading. 
  • You can leave feedback, hints, and notes so that students fully understand their assessment results.

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

© 2024 All Rights Reserved.

Classroom Management Expert

Introducing TeachCatalystAI

TeachCatalystAI is a professional teaching assistant tool designed to help teachers create lesson plan, teaching materials, and many more with ease. Our AI-powered tool will help you streamline your classroom management, making it easier to keep track of students, assignments, and behavior. Our AI-powered tools and templates are great and configured to make you effective in teaching.

Deeper Learning Strategies for the classroom

effective learning techniques described

Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

When focusing on deeper learning strategies, I incorporate innovative methods to enhance comprehension and critical thinking. I promote inquiry-based learning, enabling students to pose questions and explore solutions.

Project-based learning entails extensive projects that enhance problem-solving abilities. Collaborative learning encourages teamwork and diverse viewpoints. Self-paced learning allows students to master concepts at their own pace.

Flipped classrooms utilize homework time for interactive discussions. Problem-based learning sharpens critical thinking skills and creativity. Feedback sessions drive progress, while technology customizes the learning experience.

Additionally, I weave storytelling into lessons to improve understanding. These strategies aim to enhance learning efficiency and skill development.

Strategies I Use to Promote Deeper Learning in My Classroom

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

Inquiry-Based Learning

I encourage my students to ask their own questions and actively seek answers, often starting projects with a guiding big question to steer our exploration. Emphasizing questioning techniques and student involvement, I aim to cultivate curiosity-driven learning experiences that enhance critical thinking skills.

Through inquiry-based learning, students embark on self-directed investigations, opening doors to in-depth learning opportunities. Encouraging students to search for answers not only empowers them to own their education but also nurtures a curiosity that propels their academic journey forward.

Big question projects form the core of our classroom, enabling student-led inquiries that spark creativity and innovation.

As we engage in self-directed exploration, students encounter challenges that demand critical thinking and problem-solving skills, laying the foundation for a solid grasp of the subject matter.

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

This approach not only boosts academic performance but also equips students with the vital skills necessary to thrive in an ever-evolving world.

Project-Based Learning

Engaging students in extensive projects that demand critical thinking and real-world problem-solving spans over several weeks.

These long-term projects serve as a cornerstone of our learning journey, enabling students to delve deeply into topics and cultivate essential skills. Here are key aspects of project-based learning that enhance the educational experience:

  • Critical Analysis : Students are tasked with scrutinizing information thoughtfully, evaluating different perspectives, and drawing well-founded conclusions.
  • Real World Applications : Projects are designed to simulate real-life scenarios, making learning practical and relevant.
  • Problem-Solving Skills : By tackling complex problems, students refine their ability to devise innovative solutions and navigate obstacles.
  • Creative Thinking : Nurturing creativity encourages originality and empowers students to think outside conventional boundaries, resulting in unique project outcomes.

Cooperative Learning

Students work in groups to discuss and solve problems together. Its amazing to hear their ideas unfold collaboratively.

When exploring Cooperative Learning , students come together in groups to collaborate on discussions and solve problems collectively, encouraging the emergence of fresh ideas.

Importance Of Using Scaffolding In The Classroom

The dynamics within the group play a crucial role in shaping how students interact, communicate, and support one another throughout the learning process.

Engaging in this collaborative approach allows individuals to enhance their problem-solving skills by sharing insights and considering diverse perspectives, ultimately leading to more effective solutions.

Within this collaborative setting, students not only work together to tackle problems but also actively participate in generating ideas. This environment fosters teamwork strategies that emphasize mutual respect, active listening, and appreciation for each member’s input.

Through Cooperative Learning , individuals learn to recognize and leverage the strengths of their peers to achieve shared objectives.

Self-Paced Learning

Each student moves through materials at their own pace, which allows them to really master each step before moving on.

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

As they navigate through the materials at their own pace, they have the opportunity to thoroughly master each step before moving forward. Self-paced learning focuses on individual progress, ensuring that no student is left behind. This approach to education allows for personalized learning, tailoring the experience to meet the unique needs of each student, which in turn enhances understanding and engagement.

Flipped Classroom

In the Flipped Classroom approach, homework time is used for watching lectures or instructional videos, and then we tackle ‘homework’ tasks together during class sessions to encourage in-depth discussions.

This method enhances comprehension through interactive lectures and engaging activities that stimulate meaningful conversations. The focus on group discussions and collaborative work fosters an environment where interactive learning flourishes, promoting active participation in class.

By shifting traditional lecture time to the homework setting, students can grasp the material at their own pace before participating in hands-on activities collectively.

This approach not only enhances understanding but also enables more interactive sessions where we explore questions together, nurturing a sense of community and shared learning experience.

In this model, our goal is to create a dynamic classroom where students actively engage and learn from one another, making the learning process both engaging and effective. The Flipped Classroom strategy transforms passive learners into active contributors, cultivating a culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Peer Teaching

Shifting from the traditional classroom setup, Peer Teaching empowers learners to actively participate in teaching each other, recognizing the value of teaching in enhancing learning.

When peers offer feedback to one another, they not only solidify their own comprehension but also support the growth of their fellow learners.

Collaborative learning, where individuals work together towards a shared objective, cultivates a sense of community and facilitates the exchange of knowledge.

Engaging in interactive teaching by discussing, questioning, and explaining concepts to peers encourages active involvement and fosters deeper understanding.

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

Each learner brings a unique perspective and skill set to the group, enriching the learning journey for all involved. Group discussions are encouraged to explore diverse viewpoints and collectively construct meaning.

Case Studies

We dissect real-life examples relevant to the subject matter. It puts theory into perspective.

When we dissect case studies, we get a practical view of the subject matter in real-life situations. This practical approach offers valuable insights that connect theory to real-world application.

Real-life examples are crucial for understanding a topic beyond just theory. Through critical analysis of case studies, we gain practical insights that deepen our understanding. Analyzing real-life examples allows us to apply theoretical concepts to concrete scenarios, enhancing our comprehension.

Exploring case studies enriches learning and helps us appreciate the nuances of the subject. By examining specific instances, learners can link abstract theories to practical realities, making their educational journey more relevant and actionable.

Socratic Seminars

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

An open forum discussion led by students’ questions. I’m just there to facilitate.

When engaging in Socratic Seminars, students lead discussions by asking questions, promoting an open forum where I play a facilitating role. These sessions empower students to actively participate and take ownership of their learning journey.

By posing and answering thought-provoking questions, students enhance their critical thinking skills and deepen their understanding of the topic being discussed.

Throughout the dialogue, I guide the conversation by redirecting, summarizing, or exploring topics further to ensure a respectful and inclusive exchange of ideas.

Collaboratively, students investigate diverse perspectives, challenge assumptions, and construct new knowledge as a group.

In these open forum debates, I witness firsthand the growth of students’ communication skills, empathy, and confidence in expressing their viewpoints.

Socratic Seminars provide a platform for meaningful discourse, where students learn from each other and develop a deeper appreciation for the power of collaborative learning.

Through these interactive sessions, students not only expand their knowledge but also cultivate essential skills for effective communication and critical thinking.

Reflective Writing

Students keep journals about their learning experiences which encourages them to reflect on and digest what theyve learned.

Engaging in reflective writing through journal entries motivates my students to actively process and absorb their learning experiences , fostering deeper understanding and personal development.

Strategies for Promoting a Growth Mindset in Students

Through thoughtful analysis, they explore the nuances of what they’ve learned, enabling them to gain valuable insights. Each journal entry acts as a tool for introspection, guiding them to not only consider what they’ve learned but also how that knowledge relates to their lives and aspirations.

These journal reflections offer them a space to assess their progress, acknowledge accomplishments, and pinpoint areas for growth. They act as a reflection of their journey of development throughout the learning process.

Mastery Learning

Mastery Learning focuses on ensuring students reach a specific level of competence before moving forward, emphasizing genuine understanding over grades.

This approach includes competency-based assessments tailored to measure proficiency in specific skills and knowledge areas. Instruction is designed to help students master each concept before progressing, allowing for individualized progression at their own pace.

The main goal is to ensure deep comprehension of the material rather than just striving for high grades.

Benefits of Using Humor in the Classroom

This method creates a supportive learning environment where students can develop at their own speed, building a solid foundation in the subject matter.

Personalized learning paths enable students to delve deeply into topics, fostering a culture of learning for understanding’s sake. By prioritizing comprehension, Mastery Learning benefits students in the long term by nurturing a genuine passion for learning.

Concept Mapping

Concept Mapping is an invaluable tool for constructing visual representations of interconnected concepts, aiding in the comprehension of complex subject matter.

This collaborative creation of visual maps promotes deep understanding by highlighting connections between different ideas within a topic.

Through the visual organization of information, I and my students engage in critical thinking to better grasp core concepts. This process of collaborative learning enhances their understanding and facilitates a thorough grasp of the subject matter.

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

Concept mapping helps them break down complex topics into manageable components, allowing them to see the bigger picture. As they work together to connect various elements, they uncover new perspectives and insights.

This approach not only aids in effective information retention but also boosts their ability to explain and apply their knowledge confidently.

Visual representation through concept mapping is a powerful tool in mastering intricate subjects, enabling my students to navigate and comprehend complex ideas more effectively.

Role Playing

Learners take on roles and act out scenarios to better understand content and perspectives.

Entering the realm of Role Playing involves immersing oneself in various personas to act out scenarios, gaining profound insights into content and diverse perspectives.

  • Engaging in role-playing activities enables a hands-on approach to learning.
  • By enacting different situations, learners can better grasp complex concepts.
  • Immerse yourself in a character to truly understand different points of view.
  • Through scenario enactment, individuals can gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

Benefits of using brain breaks for your students in the classroom

Adopting roles in role-playing exercises not only enhances content comprehension but also fosters empathy development.

By stepping into the shoes of others, learners can broaden their perspectives and gain insight into different viewpoints.

Role playing serves as a powerful tool for enhancing understanding and building a deeper connection with the material.

I stage formal debates on relevant topics! It gets quite competitive and lots of fun.

These debates provide a platform for students to express their opinions while honing their critical thinking and public speaking skills.

Through the implementation of debate strategies, I cultivate a fun and competitive atmosphere that motivates students to delve into the subject matter further.

Students learn to research, analyze information, and construct well-organized arguments through question investigation and project guidance.

During these debates, students participate in group problem-solving, where they collaborate to share and evaluate ideas.

This encourages the development of teamwork and communication skills, while also allowing for individual progress at a personalized pace.

By utilizing flipped learning techniques, interactive discussions empower students to take control of their learning journey. Below is a table outlining the key elements of the engaging debates I facilitate:


critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

Students engage in simulations using a variety of educational tools and apps to replicate real-world scenarios relevant to their academic studies.

Through virtual simulations, students actively participate in interactive learning experiences that mirror real-life situations within their field of study.

These simulations offer practical applications by presenting students with challenges and scenarios they may encounter in the real world, allowing for a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

By utilizing digital tools, students immerse themselves in these simulations, enhancing their learning through immersive experiences that feel authentic and engaging.

Students gain valuable hands-on practice through these simulations, promoting experiential learning that goes beyond traditional classroom instruction.

How to Build the Confidence of Your Students

The integration of technology into these simulations ensures that students engage in authentic learning experiences that prepare them for the complexities of their future careers.

Mindfulness Techniques

We start some classes with mindfulness to help students focus their thoughts and reduce stress, enhancing the learning experience.

These exercises act as mental warm-ups, preparing students for the academic challenges ahead by promoting stress relief and creating a conducive learning environment.

By engaging in focus techniques, students can attain mental clarity, enabling them to absorb information more effectively. These relaxation practices not only alleviate anxiety but also support cognitive improvement by enhancing memory and retention.

Furthermore, mindfulness training in attention fosters emotional equilibrium, equipping students to tackle obstacles with a composed and calm demeanor.

The mind-body connection established through these techniques positively influences academic performance, as students become more attuned to their thoughts and feelings.

By nurturing a sense of presence and awareness, mindfulness sets the stage for a fruitful and interactive learning session, laying the groundwork for a successful educational journey.

Learning Outdoors

When possible, we take the learning outside. Nature can be quite the inspiring classroom.

When we step outside, we embark on a journey of exploration in the natural world. The sights, sounds, and textures that surround us spark awe and ignite our passion for learning.

Collaborative nature walks, group wildlife observations, and team-building activities under the open sky create a dynamic learning environment that stimulates both the mind and the senses.

Integrating outdoor education into our curriculum enriches our academic pursuits and fosters a deep appreciation for the world around us.

Engaging with the natural world opens up opportunities for hands-on learning and sensory experiences. Utilizing outdoor spaces as classrooms fosters creativity, curiosity, and a deeper connection to the environment.

Encouraging students to ask questions and seek answers while outdoors promotes critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Completing projects in natural settings encourages the practical application of knowledge and enriches understanding through real-world experiences.

Nature becomes a captivating classroom for immersive educational experiences, where students can explore, observe, and learn in a dynamic outdoor setting.

It’s not just about being outside; it’s about discovering, questioning, and applying knowledge in a hands-on way that enhances learning and appreciation for the world around us.


Let’s embark on a journey into the interactive realm of gamification in learning, where challenges and engagement reign supreme, appealing to our love for excitement and competition.

Challenge-based learning transforms into a captivating adventure when fused with game elements, igniting motivation and leading to improved learning outcomes. Competition in educational settings not only nurtures a sense of accomplishment but also motivates continuous progress through rewards.

Gamifying education introduces problem-solving quests that immerse learners in a dynamic experience. By integrating game mechanics into educational tasks, students can effortlessly navigate through complex concepts, resulting in a profound educational influence.

The fusion of enjoyment and learning through gamification offers a distinct path for individuals to enhance critical thinking skills while relishing the learning process. Embracing this approach enriches the learning journey and fosters a deep-seated passion for knowledge that transcends traditional teaching methods.

Problem-Based Learning

Engaging with complex problems that lack clear solutions hones critical thinking skills and nurtures creativity. Immersing ourselves in problem-based learning scenarios challenges us to think critically, collaborate with others, and explore innovative solutions. Here are four key aspects of problem-based learning that foster growth and development:

  • Critical Thinking : Problem-based learning pushes us to analyze situations from various perspectives, assess information critically, and make well-founded decisions.
  • Problem Solving : Confronting intricate problems without straightforward answers enhances our capacity to devise imaginative solutions and think creatively.
  • Creativity : Tackling challenging problems sparks our imagination and inspires us to explore fresh ideas and approaches.
  • Collaboration : Working with peers on complex problems cultivates teamwork, communication skills, and the exchange of diverse viewpoints.

Inquiry-based learning methods like problem-based learning not only deepen our comprehension of complex issues but also equip us with valuable skills for real-world challenges.

Feedback Sessions

Giving and receiving feedback is practiced consistently, which encourages growth and improvement.

Engaging in regular feedback sessions is key to fostering growth and improvement. In any learning setting, establishing a feedback culture is essential for nurturing a growth mindset and supporting professional development.

When given with empathy and respect, constructive criticism plays a crucial role in enhancing skills. These feedback exchanges allow individuals to assess their strengths and areas for improvement, creating a continuous loop of learning and development.

Embracing a feedback culture helps individuals gain a deeper understanding of their abilities and strive towards reaching their full potential.

Constructive feedback acts as a guiding force, offering valuable insights that drive personal and professional growth. Through active participation in feedback sessions, individuals hone their skills and cultivate a mindset centered on continuous enhancement.

Integrating Technology

Using tech tools can personalize and enhance the learning experience in many ways.

Integrating technology tools enhances the learning experience by tailoring instruction and boosting engagement. Through the use of technology in education, students can access personalized content and adjust their learning pace to meet their individual needs.

Interactive software and online platforms offer multimedia resources and instant feedback, facilitating a deeper understanding of concepts. Students can participate in hands-on activities, simulations, and virtual labs to enrich their learning experience.

Technology enables adaptive learning pathways, where students can advance based on their mastery of topics, promoting personalized education over a one-size-fits-all approach.

In today’s educational landscape, customized learning experiences with digital tools are crucial for addressing the diverse needs of learners. Embracing technology not only accommodates different learning styles but also cultivates a dynamic and interactive learning environment conducive to growth and academic achievement.


Incorporating storytelling into the curriculum engages learners of all ages by making material memorable and relatable. For adult learners, educational experiences that cater to cognitive development and diverse backgrounds are highly valued. Storytelling offers a unique opportunity to connect with content on a deeper level, going beyond traditional teaching methods.

Cultural diversity is celebrated through stories that present various perspectives and experiences, fostering empathy and understanding among learners. Visual storytelling, like using images or videos, enhances the narrative and helps create a more immersive learning environment.

Storytelling establishes an emotional connection to the material, facilitating easier retention and practical application. By engaging emotions, stories serve as powerful tools for learning and memory recall.

Incorporating deeper learning strategies into my teaching has truly transformed the learning experience for my students.

Embracing innovative approaches like project-based learning and storytelling has allowed us to explore rich and meaningful learning opportunities.

It’s akin to embarking on a new journey – refreshing, stimulating, and packed with growth.

I look forward to continuing to discover fresh ways to engage and inspire my students on this educational path.

About the author

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

Latest Posts

Deeper Learning Strategies for the classroom

When focusing on deeper learning strategies, I incorporate innovative methods to enhance comprehension and critical thinking. I promote inquiry-based learning, enabling students to pose questions and explore solutions. Project-based learning entails extensive projects that enhance problem-solving abilities. Collaborative learning encourages teamwork and diverse viewpoints. Self-paced learning allows students to master concepts at their own pace.…

21 Key Strategies to Be an Effective Teacher in the Classroom

21 Key Strategies to Be an Effective Teacher in the Classroom

In my classroom, I implement 21 essential strategies to cultivate a vibrant and interactive teaching environment. Getting to know each student on a personal level allows me to customize my approach for maximum impact. Setting clear objectives establishes expectations and maintains focus throughout the learning process. Meticulous planning ensures well-organized and structured lessons that facilitate…

How To Give Students Individual Attention In A Busy Classroom

How To Give Students Individual Attention In A Busy Classroom

In a bustling classroom, I prioritize how students are seated, form small groups, incorporate technology, encourage peer tutoring, and provide clear instructions to ensure each student receives the attention they need. These approaches help establish an environment conducive to personalized learning. How To Give Students Individual Attention In A Busy Classroom Implementing strategic seating arrangements…

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

Explained: Importance of critical thinking, problem-solving skills in curriculum

F uture careers are no longer about domain expertise or technical skills. Rather, critical thinking and problem-solving skills in employees are on the wish list of every big organization today. Even curriculums and pedagogies across the globe and within India are now requiring skilled workers who are able to think critically and are analytical.

The reason for this shift in perspective is very simple.

These skills provide a staunch foundation for comprehensive learning that extends beyond books or the four walls of the classroom. In a nutshell, critical thinking and problem-solving skills are a part of '21st Century Skills' that can help unlock valuable learning for life.

Over the years, the education system has been moving away from the system of rote and other conventional teaching and learning parameters.

They are aligning their curriculums to the changing scenario which is becoming more tech-driven and demands a fusion of critical skills, life skills, values, and domain expertise. There's no set formula for success.

Rather, there's a defined need for humans to be more creative, innovative, adaptive, agile, risk-taking, and have a problem-solving mindset.

In today's scenario, critical thinking and problem-solving skills have become more important because they open the human mind to multiple possibilities, solutions, and a mindset that is interdisciplinary in nature.

Therefore, many schools and educational institutions are deploying AI and immersive learning experiences via gaming, and AR-VR technologies to give a more realistic and hands-on learning experience to their students that hone these abilities and help them overcome any doubt or fear.


Ability to relate to the real world:  Instead of theoretical knowledge, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills encourage students to look at their immediate and extended environment through a spirit of questioning, curiosity, and learning. When the curriculum presents students with real-world problems, the learning is immense.

Confidence, agility & collaboration : Critical thinking and problem-solving skills boost self-belief and confidence as students examine, re-examine, and sometimes fail or succeed while attempting to do something.

They are able to understand where they may have gone wrong, attempt new approaches, ask their peers for feedback and even seek their opinion, work together as a team, and learn to face any challenge by responding to it.

Willingness to try new things: When problem-solving skills and critical thinking are encouraged by teachers, they set a robust foundation for young learners to experiment, think out of the box, and be more innovative and creative besides looking for new ways to upskill.

It's important to understand that merely introducing these skills into the curriculum is not enough. Schools and educational institutions must have upskilling workshops and conduct special training for teachers so as to ensure that they are skilled and familiarized with new teaching and learning techniques and new-age concepts that can be used in the classrooms via assignments and projects.

Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are two of the most sought-after skills. Hence, schools should emphasise the upskilling of students as a part of the academic curriculum.

The article is authored by Dr Tassos Anastasiades, Principal- IB, Genesis Global School, Noida. 

Watch Live TV in English

Watch Live TV in Hindi

Explained: Importance of critical thinking, problem-solving skills in curriculum

  • Get Insights to Your Inbox


  • Business Challenges
  • Business Education
  • Business Functions

[Business Insider] Russia’s Early Resilience to Sanctions is Fading

Big Tech’s inside job. Silicon Valley used to reward innovation. Now it strives to sabotage it.

Wendy’s plans to roll out dynamic pricing

Economic impact of Baltimore bridge collapse could be felt in Boston, expert says

Why are Banks Failing and Does That Herald Another Financial Crisis?

POV: Was the Francis Scott Key Bridge Disaster Avoidable?

Boeing’s leadership shakeup the start of long road to restoring credibility with public

Boeing’s leadership shakeup the start of long road to restoring credibility with public

Why March Madness is a special time of year for state budgets

Why March Madness is a special time of year for state budgets

The Strategy Skills Podcast: Strategy | Leadership | Critical Thinking | Problem-Solving

The Strategy Skills Podcast: Strategy | Leadership | Critical Thinking | Problem-Solving

Shareholders Are People, Too

BOJ’s Small Rate Hike May Have Big Ripple Effect Around the World  

Busted brackets & budgets: Don’t let March Madness derail your finances 

Busted brackets & budgets: Don’t let March Madness derail your finances 

S1:E1 CVS Paying the “Pink Tax” on Certain Products and the Evolution of the Electric Vehicle Industry

The Hidden Wisdom of Cultural Pushback

Fusion strategy: navigating the industrial evolution, scotus: exploring the future of content moderation, internet law, and free speech, unleashing the power of discovery in leadership and organizational change, transforming employee development with generative ai, bridging the classroom to the real world.

Better Health Economics: An Introduction for Everyone

Better Health Economics: An Introduction for Everyone

Questrom $50k case competition: in the trenches of sustainability with casella, the optimistic pessimist.

  • Insights Live
  • Questrom Institute Events
  • Global Media
  • Local Media
  • National Media

Starbucks Investors Approve Pay Package That Drops DEI Reference 

The wait for US passports is creating travel purgatory and snarling summer plans

Trader Joe’s $3 mini totes went viral on TikTok. Now, they’re reselling for hundreds 

Trending tags.

  • Harvard Business Review
  • Sloan Management Review

Why You Should Offer a Take-Back Program for Your Old Products

Why You Should Offer a Take-Back Program for Your Old Products

What Does Banning Short-Term Rentals Really Accomplish?

What Does Banning Short-Term Rentals Really Accomplish?

Heavy Machinery Meets AI

Heavy Machinery Meets AI

Why Calling Your Workers Heroes Can Backfire

Why Calling Your Workers Heroes Can Backfire

Understanding the Tradeoffs of the Amazon Antitrust Case

Understanding the Tradeoffs of the Amazon Antitrust Case

Why Algorithm-Generated Recommendations Fall Short

Why Algorithm-Generated Recommendations Fall Short

Turn Generative AI from an Existential Threat into a Competitive Advantage

Turn Generative AI from an Existential Threat into a Competitive Advantage

How GenAI Could Accelerate Employee Learning and Development

How GenAI Could Accelerate Employee Learning and Development

  • Questrom Book Club


March 20 th , 2024

Strategy Skills recently recorded a podcast interviewing Venkat Venkatraman, Professor in Information Systems, discussing his book Fusion Strategy: How Real-Time Data and AI Will Power the Industrial Future.

The conversation sheds light on the shift from traditional industrial strategies to leveraging real-time data and AI to reshape business models across various sectors.

“If you look at asset light industries for example, banking advertising, music, media and entertainment, telecom, publishing, video games, these industries have had 15-20 years of digitalization”, Venkatraman adds.

However, some industries have not shifted from physical to digital, facilitating new conversations for strategists.

N. Venkatraman

Venkat Venkatraman is the David J. McGrath, Jr. Professor of Management in Information Systems. He researches how established companies recognize and respond to digital technologies. The economy has seen the first-wave of transformation in asset-light settings such as software, music, media and entertainment and we are likely to see asset-heavy, information-rich sectors such as automotive, logistics, healthcare. agriculture and logistics go through significant shifts. How could today’s industry leaders defend their business models while adapting to the digital future? He is working on extending the work that was published in his 2016 book, "The Digital Matrix: New Rules for Business Transformation Through Technology" into a new book focused specifically on asset-heavy sectors.

Related Insights

Upcoming events.

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

Life After Cookies: Who Uses Privacy Sandbox

Get our insights newsletter, popular insights.

Silicon Valley Bank: Blame and Ethics of the Failure

Silicon Valley Bank: Blame and Ethics of the Failure

Questrom women mean business: meet shannon watkins, cmo of the jordan brand at nike, jpmorgan chase is the biggest of the big banks. critics say that poses a risk .

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

Boston University Questrom School of Business 595 Commonwealth Avenue Boston, MA 02215

© 2023 Trustees of Boston University

  • Digital Business Institute
  • Human Resource Policy Institute
  • Susilo Institute for Ethics in the Global Economy

Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Remember Me

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.

Add New Playlist

- Select Visibility - Public Private

critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

  • Business Policy & Markets
  • Digital Business
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
  • Entrepreneurship & Innovation
  • Future of Work
  • Health, Biopharma, & Health-Tech
  • Social Impact
  • Corporate Strategy
  • Finance & Accounting
  • Leadership & Management
  • Insights@Questrom Podcast
  • Voices in the Media
  • Our Experts


  1. why is Importance of Critical Thinking Skills in Education

    critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

  2. How to promote Critical Thinking Skills

    critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

  3. 10 Essential Critical Thinking Skills (And How to Improve Them

    critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

  4. PPT

    critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

  5. Critical Thinking Skills

    critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom

  6. 20 Critical Thinking Activities for Elementary Classrooms

    critical thinking and problem solving strategies in the classroom


  1. How to Foster Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills in the Classroom

  2. critical thinking problem solving and decision making

  3. Level Up Learning! Why Integrating [X] Belongs in Your Classroom

  4. Teacher De-Wokefies Student By Teaching Critical Thinking

  5. Clarifying the '5 Whys' Problem-Solving Method #shorts #problemsolving

  6. Think:Moment: When and Where to Have Difficult Conversations


  1. Eight Instructional Strategies for Promoting Critical Thinking

    Students grappled with ideas and their beliefs and employed deep critical-thinking skills to develop arguments for their claims. Embedding critical-thinking skills in curriculum that students care ...

  2. Critical thinking for teachers and students

    A complete guide to teaching Critical Thinking. This 180 page e-book is an excellent resource for teachers looking to implement critical thinking in the classroom. It is packed full of great content whether you are just starting out, or looking to go further. It makes relevant connections to technology, STEM, and critical and creative thinking.

  3. Critical Thinking in the Classroom: A Guide for Teachers

    Critical thinking is a key skill that goes far beyond the four walls of a classroom. It equips students to better understand and interact with the world around them. Here are some reasons why fostering critical thinking is important: Making Informed Decisions: Critical thinking enables students to evaluate the pros and cons of a situation ...

  4. Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving

    Critical thinking involves asking questions, defining a problem, examining evidence, analyzing assumptions and biases, avoiding emotional reasoning, avoiding oversimplification, considering other interpretations, and tolerating ambiguity. Dealing with ambiguity is also seen by Strohm & Baukus (1995) as an essential part of critical thinking ...

  5. Teaching Problem Solving

    Critical Thinking Critical thinking is the "ability to assess your assumptions, beliefs, and actions" (Merriam & Bierema, 2014, p. 222) with the intent to change your actions in the future and is necessary when solving problems. It is a skill required during all steps of the problem-solving process.

  6. Teaching Critical Thinking Skills in Middle and High School

    Teach Reasoning Skills. Reasoning skills are another key component of critical thinking, involving the abilities to think logically, evaluate evidence, identify assumptions, and analyze arguments. Students who learn how to use reasoning skills will be better equipped to make informed decisions, form and defend opinions, and solve problems.

  7. PDF Critical Thinking in the Classroom…and Beyond

    Problem solving is the ultimate intent of critical think-ing for many scholars who study the phenomenon. Skills in problem solving, issue analyses and decision making are increasingly expected of employees. Evidence is grow-ing that critical thinking is "expected" in the workplace. More than 400 senior HR professionals were asked in a

  8. Teaching Problem Solving

    Make students articulate their problem solving process . In a one-on-one tutoring session, ask the student to work his/her problem out loud. This slows down the thinking process, making it more accurate and allowing you to access understanding. When working with larger groups you can ask students to provide a written "two-column solution.".

  9. Integrating critical thinking into the classroom: A teacher's

    Although closely linked to critical thinking and essential for solving problems, inquiry is considered different to critical thinking (Wechsler et al., 2018). Inquire is, in turn, followed by Reason (14.5 %), which, like analysis, is an important sub-skill in different operationalizations of critical thinking ( Shehab & Nussbaum, 2015 ; Kuhn ...

  10. Critical Thinking

    Critical Thinking. Whether via classroom discussions, analysis of written text, higher-order questioning, or other strategies, learn and share ways to help students go deeper with their thinking. Sort by:

  11. How to Promote Critical Thinking in the Classroom

    Questioning Techniques. One of the most effective ways to promote critical thinking is through questioning. Teachers can employ various questioning techniques to stimulate thought, such as Socratic questioning. By asking open-ended questions that require students to think deeply, analyze, and evaluate, teachers can guide students to explore ...

  12. Strategies to Increase Critical Thinking Skills in students

    Some essential skills that are the basis for critical thinking are: Communication and Information skills. Thinking and Problem-Solving skills. Interpersonal and Self- Directional skills. Collaboration skills. These four bullets are skills students are going to need in any field and in all levels of education.

  13. Strategies and Methods to Teach Students Problem Solving and Critical

    The process helps participants to view implementation as a viable next step. Thinking Skills. Skills aimed at aiding students to be critical, logical, and evaluative thinkers. They include analysis, comparison, classification, synthesis, generalization, discrimination, inference, planning, predicting, and identifying cause-effect relationships.

  14. Promoting Critical Thinking in the Classroom: Strategies and Activities

    By promoting critical thinking in the classroom, educators can foster intellectual curiosity, enhance problem-solving abilities, and prepare students for success in an ever-evolving world. This article explores effective strategies and engaging activities to promote critical thinking among students. 1. Ask Thought-Provoking Questions

  15. Improving 21st-century teaching skills: The key to effective 21st

    The 21st-century skillset is generally understood to encompass a range of competencies, including critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, meta-cognition, communication, digital and technological literacy, civic responsibility, and global awareness (for a review of frameworks, see Dede, 2010).And nowhere is the development of such competencies more important than in developing country ...

  16. 3 Ways to Improve Student Problem-Solving

    3. Three-Act Tasks: Originally created by Dan Meyer, three-act tasks follow the three acts of a story. The first act is typically called the "setup," followed by the "confrontation" and then the "resolution.". This storyline process can be used in mathematics in which students encounter a contextual problem (e.g., a pool is being ...

  17. How To Promote Critical Thinking In Your Classroom

    November 25, 2006, by The Critical Thinking Co. Staff By making your own thought processes explicit in class - explaining your reasoning, evaluating evidence for a claim, probing the credibility of a source, or even describing what has puzzled or confused you - you provide a powerful example to students, particularly if you invite them to join ...

  18. The effectiveness of collaborative problem solving in promoting

    Collaborative problem-solving has been widely embraced in the classroom instruction of critical thinking, which is regarded as the core of curriculum reform based on key competencies in the field ...

  19. Active Learning Strategies to Promote Critical Thinking

    The development of critical thinking has been the topic of many educational articles recently. Numerous instructional methods exist to promote thought and active learning in the classroom, including case studies, discussion methods, written exercises, questioning techniques, and debates. Three methods—questioning, written exercises, and ...

  20. Teaching Strategies to Promote Critical Thinking

    Critical thinking requires consistency and commitment. This means that to make the above teaching strategies effective, they must be used consistently throughout the year. Encourage students to question everything and verify all information and resources. Activate student curiosity by using the inquiry-based learning model.

  21. 6 Strategies for Increasing Critical Thinking with Problem Solving

    Introduction to Critical Thinking and Problem Solving. According to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, "The term "problem solving" refers to mathematical tasks that have the potential to provide intellectual challenges for enhancing students' mathematical understanding and development.)". That's a lot of words, but I'd like to focus in on the word POTENTIAL.

  22. Strategies to Increase Critical Thinking Skills in students

    1. Ask questions. It is often seen that students hesitate to ask questions in the classroom. It could be the result of a fear of speaking in public or of embarrassment. But don't hold back from asking questions that could help you learn better. Asking questions enhances your critical thinking in learning. You can often wait for your class to ...

  23. Thinking Classrooms: How To Promote Critical Thinking In Class

    The fourteen principles of a Thinking Classroom are designed to promote a classroom environment that encourages critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration. Here's a summary of each principle to help teachers create an engaging and effective learning environment: 1. Classroom Culture of Thinking. Create a classroom culture that ...

  24. Critical thinking in the preschool classroom

    Critical thinking in the preschool classroom - A systematic literature review. Critical thinking is acknowledged as a 21st century skill that allows humans to make considered and informed decisions based on the information available to them. Studies exploring critical thinking during the early years are of particular significance because they ...

  25. Deeper Learning Strategies for the classroom

    When focusing on deeper learning strategies, I incorporate innovative methods to enhance comprehension and critical thinking. I promote inquiry-based learning, enabling students to pose questions and explore solutions. Project-based learning entails extensive projects that enhance problem-solving abilities. Collaborative learning encourages teamwork and diverse viewpoints. Self-paced learning ...

  26. Explained: Importance of critical thinking, problem-solving skills in

    In a nutshell, critical thinking and problem-solving skills are a part of '21st Century Skills' that can help unlock valuable learning for life. Over the years, the education system has been ...

  27. The Strategy Skills Podcast: Strategy

    March 20 th, 2024. Strategy Skills recently recorded a podcast interviewing Venkat Venkatraman, Professor in Information Systems, discussing his book Fusion Strategy: How Real-Time Data and AI Will Power the Industrial Future.. The conversation sheds light on the shift from traditional industrial strategies to leveraging real-time data and AI to reshape business models across various sectors.