What Does It Mean To Be a Critical Thinker? 21/180

Contributed by Heather Morningstar, High School Principal

Remember the old adage, “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat that day. Teach a man to fish, and he will never be hungry”? This theory necessitates that schools today teach students to think critically. Critical thinking is a term often bandied about in educational circles, but what does it REALLY mean to be a critical thinker?

Critical thinkers are:

  • inquisitive about a wide range of issues
  • concerned with becoming and remaining well-informed
  • alert to opportunities to use critical thinking
  • self-confident in their own abilities to reason
  • open-minded regarding divergent world views
  • flexible in considering alternatives and opinions
  • understanding of the opinions of other people
  • fair-minded in appraising reasoning
  • honest in facing one’s own biases, prejudices, stereotypes, or egocentric tendencies
  • prudent in suspending, making or altering judgments
  • willing to reconsider and revise views where honest reflection suggests that change is warranted

(Based on the APA Expert Consensus Delphi Report description of strong critical thinkers).

HOW DO WE FOSTER CRITICAL THINKING IN OUR SCHOOLS AND HOMES? What kinds of conversations and activities develop these skills among our students?


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