What Is Critical Thinking?

Written by Dan

Critical thinking is a process of evaluation that uses logic to identify and assess the strengths and weaknesses of arguments. Teachers must encourage critical thinking in their students, as it helps them develop strong analytical skills and make sound decisions. This article will take a closer look at critical thinking, why it is essential, and some tips for teaching it effectively in the classroom.

Critical thinking is the mental process of analyzing and evaluating content to reach a solution. Critical thinking allows us to step back, assess, and think through our options before making any decision. This thought process ensures that all facts and viewpoints are considered when tackling any challenge or proposal.

By allowing ourselves the opportunity for thorough and unbiased considerations, we can improve our chances of success with any endeavour.

Furthermore, strong critical thinking skills help us build trust with others, as it shows that we are intentional about making decisions. All in all, critical thinking is an invaluable skill for aiding in everyday life!

Why Is Critical Thinking Important?

Critical thinking is essential for success in any academic and professional setting. Critical thinking makes us better equipped to make reasoned decisions, question assumptions and stereotypes, and analyze information more accurately.

Critical thinking allows us to evaluate the implications of our choices and actions before taking action. Furthermore, it empowers us to think more deeply about complex topics and problem-solve without being hindered by preconceived notions or biases.

Additionally, the ability to critically assess the work of others allows us to challenge prevailing norms and create more effective solutions. Ultimately, it is clear that critical thinking is a must-have skill if one wants to excel in any field or setting.

How To Develop Critical Thinking Skills

Developing critical thinking skills is an increasingly important part of any education. The power to think deeply and analytically about the world around us has become necessary in the 21st century. Effective ways to develop this skill include:

  • Exposing yourself to new ideas.
  • Engaging in debates with others on controversial topics.
  • Learning how to ask good questions.
  • Reflecting on your thought processes.

Making sure to practice active listening, not jumping to conclusions, exercising caution when forming opinions, and looking for connections between concepts are essential elements of critical thinking that can be developed through practice.

Through affirmation of one’s perspective and openness to other points of view, one can create intense feelings of trust in one’s instincts while still being willing and open enough to learn something new. With the proper training, anyone can cultivate their ability to think critically.

What Does Critical Thinking Look Like?

Let’s apply critical thinking to the situation by considering a car analogy.

  • Wary minds recognize that TV ads won’t guide them to make quick decisions, as every one of them aims to convince you that their automobile is the most excellent option.
  • With the manufacturer’s website, it can be challenging to distinguish between facts and opinions. While some details are certainties that have been proven, there may be other information on the page that is hard to verify. When deciding which content should inform your decision-making process, consider what data matters most for you to make an informed choice.
  • Your neighbour’s tales might be intriguing. However, they should only sometimes be considered reliable. One individual’s viewpoint and experience may not accurately reflect the reality of a situation. To understand what is happening in your area, seek out other people with similar experiences to gain insight into more meaningful patterns.
  • While independent studies can be reliable, it depends on who has performed the experiments and with what intentions. If you look closely at the research, you may find that an organization hired by car manufacturers conducted the most favourable outcome. Who exactly carried out each study and why? Investigating these two questions could provide critical insights into trusting such findings.

Can you see the queries emerging? Critical thinking is about asking pertinent inquiries and grasping how to find and assess their answers.

Skilled critical thinkers perform this sort of scrutiny every day, no matter the topic. They look for facts and reliable sources to identify their best options before forming an opinion or deciding.

With time, it becomes second nature; experienced critical thinkers question everything they encounter with purpose, ensuring that their beliefs and decisions are correct from an informed perspective.

Critical Thinking In School

Often, the school curriculum is focused on teaching students memorization skills without guiding them through opportunities to develop their critical thinking capabilities.

By providing tasks and activities that foster data analysis and evaluation, teachers can help prepare students for the real world by honing their problem-solving skills.

Critical thinking activities such as open-ended questions, debates, or simulations allow students to practice out-of-the-box reasoning while developing better communication skills.

With these resources, teachers can shape students into informed citizens of tomorrow who are well-equipped to solve complex problems.

Critical Thinking Skills

Bloom’s Taxonomy is organized into a pyramid, with the foundational skills at the bottom as a foundation for more complex abilities higher up. At the lowest stage of “Remember,” little to no critical thinking is needed; these skills consist of memorising math facts and definitions or recalling key characters and plot points from stories.

The upper tiers require increased cognitive processing- such as analyzing, evaluating and creating.


Accumulating knowledge is different from comprehending it. Memorizing facts such as “one time four is four, two times four is eight, three times four is twelve” does not equate to understanding that multiplication, in essence, means adding a certain number multiple instances of itself.

When you understand something at its core, you can also elucidate how it functions for another person.


Applying your knowledge allows you to draw on a concept you have already grasped and then utilize it in distinct contexts. For example, students learning how to read don’t need to memorize each word – instead, they use the techniques of sounding out letters they’ve known previously and applying them as new words present themselves.


Analyzing something goes far beyond just taking it at face value. It involves going deeper, digging up facts which withstand scrutiny and disregarding personal biases or opinions. Success in this endeavour requires developing a complex skill set that we continue to sharpen throughout our lives.


Evaluation is the process of thinking deeply and objectively about analyzed data and selecting the most relevant aspects to help make decisions or form opinions. It also means being willing to consider other valid perspectives, even if we don’t necessarily share them.

Ultimately, critical thinkers are equipped with all they need to create their outcome — be it a choice, opinion, vote or thesis — and do so confidently as a result of critically approaching the topic.

Critical thinking is a skill that can be honed through practice and patience. Developing the necessary solid thinking skills to make sound decisions, process information accurately, and form well-reasoned arguments is essential.

There are many ways to incorporate critical thinking into everyday life, such as taking the time to consider all sides of an issue before making a decision or looking for patterns and connections when reading or studying. Keeping these tips in mind, you can develop your critical thinking skills today.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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