This is the second of the series of four articles about teaching the 4Cs to students. In part 1, we focused on “Creativity and Innovation” and this article focuses on skills, Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving. The quality of our life and that of what we build or make out of it largely depends on the quality of our thoughts and hence there is a need to systematically cultivate excellence in thoughts. Critical Thinking is an intellectual process and an art of skillfully synthesizing, analyzing and evaluating information with a view to improving it. It is self-directed, self-disciplined and progressive thinking. A sound critical thinker formulates and raises vital questions and problems, uses abstract ideas to gather, interpret and assess relevant information effectively and forms reasonable and just conclusions and solutions.
Critical thinking can be conceptualized based on the substantive approach put forward by Dr. Paul and others at the Foundation for Critical Thinking. This approach is relevant to every subject, profession, discipline and to reasoning through the problems of everyday life. It points out the five essential dimensions of critical thinking:
- The analysis of thought
- The assessment of thought
- The dispositions of thought
- The skills and abilities of thought
- The barriers to critical thought
Problem-solving is one of the most essential life-skills that should be taught to students so that they know how to solve problems and make healthy decisions for themselves. Students face a variety of problems every day ranging from academic difficulties, peer issues or difficulty in completing a task. When students learn problem-solving skills they gain confidence in their ability to make good decisions for themselves.
Students need to develop and effectively apply Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving skills to their academic studies, to their everyday problems and to the crucial choices they will be required to make as a result of information explosion and advancement in technology. To develop both of these skills students should overcome the emotional and cognitive barriers to learning. Instructors should use pedagogical and methodological strategies to promote student reflection on the problem-solving process and provide them with ways to enhance their critical thinking.
We’ve already published an article that covers more information about the theme of this article and elicits about ways of teaching Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving to students. Learn about it by clicking the following link.
What according to you is the significance of teaching the 21st century skills like Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving to students? Share your views in the Comment Box below.