Critical thinking is the ability to engage in analytical, reflective, and critical thought -- that is, to go beyond verbatim learning of factual information. When students think critically, they not only know the facts, but they go beyond the facts and think about them in a way that is different from the way facts have been presented to them in class or in the text. Critical thinking involves reflecting on the information received, moving away from rote memorization toward analysis and synthesis, and moving away from learning by "transmission" of knowledge by the teacher or text to learning by "transformation" of knowledge by the learner.
Objective C2 states, "Students will demonstrate critical thinking and analytical abilities, including the capacities to engage in inductive and deductive thinking and quantitative reasoning, and to construct sound arguments." This understanding will be accomplished through appropriate pedagogy explicitly designed to construct analytical frameworks beginning with simple operations and building toward complexity. Active and collaborative learning strategies must be included and passive transmission and absorption of information is to be avoided.
Instructional strategies should include:
- Explicit identification of examples and non-examples of critical thinking.
- Modeling the process of critical thinking.
- Asking students to reflect on their thought processes - orally at times and in writing at other times.
- Posing questions to students that require higher order thinking rather than rote memorization.
- Providing students with opportunities to practice critical thinking in peer group settings.
- Engaging students actively in issue-centered exercises and problems.