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Developing Critical Thinking in Classrooms

Critical thinking is a skill essential to learners in the 21st century so they can successfully navigate through endless mountains of information available today.

Here are some ways international schools in Bangalore build the valuable skill of critical thinking in their students:

  1. Begin with a question

This is the simplest foray into critical thinking. Think about what you want to explore.  It shouldn’t be a question that can be answered with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no. This question should inspire a quest for knowledge and problem-solving, so that when posed to students it encourages them to brainstorm. As answers emerge from students’ discussion put them on a chalkboard for everyone to see.

  1. Create a foundation

Students struggle with critical thinking if they don’t have the information they need. It’s a good idea to start any critical thinking exercise with a review of related information. This helps students recall facts relevant to the subject at hand.

  1. Use information fluency

Part of critical thinking is deciding which information to keep and which to discard. Students need to learn to collect appropriate knowledge to inform critical thinking. This is supported by Information Fluency.

Mastering the proper use of information and developing the ability to make judgments about information reliability is crucial to students’ success in school and life.

  1. Leverage peer groups

Kids today thrive in environments where critical thinking skills are augmented through teamwork and collaboration. Studies show peers make for an excellent source of information, questions, and problem-solving techniques.

  1. Challenge misconceptions

Critical thinking often demands intensive work and concentration, for which students should be left to themselves. However it can be helpful to step in partway through their process to check on progress. This gives you the opportunity to correct misconceptions or assumptions, which students will benefit from.

The aforementioned methods cover only some of the popular techniques for fostering the essential and lifelong skill of critical thinking in students. The list is exhaustive and varies from education boards, for instance the top CBSE schools in Bangalore may have a different approach to building this skill.

What are the Benefits of International Schooling?

A majority of the Indian education system focuses on rote learning and hosts a highly competitive environment. Heavy emphasis on homework and self-study assignments is given as a student advances to higher classes. Such application-driven assignments often cause students to feel lost and under-confident in their abilities due to the harmful conditioning done by rote learning. In such situations, they either resort to copying assignments from classmates or not working on them at all out of fear of failure.

International schools are designed to break out of these limitations/issues. Inquiry is the leading pedagogical approach in international schools. Such an inquiry-based practice encourages students to take ownership of learning. This learning approach facilitates conceptual exploration and is tailored to the needs of each student versus a traditional one-size-fits-all method of instruction. Learning is viewed as constantly evolving and not static at international schools, empowering students to develop original, independent thinking.

Student-centered learning is tremendously valuable at international schools, however they strongly embrace a mix of approaches to teaching and content, right from traditional lecture and discussion formats to experiential and reciprocal teaching-learning strategies.
Faculty development programs and professional development workshops give educators of international schools the extra edge that aids in keeping them connected to changing approaches to pedagogy.

Their mission is to equip students with 21st-century skills that will empower them to become active participants and effective contributors to community.

Knowledge is democratized in international schools, giving students agency and authority over their own learning. Such a teaching-learning approach not only benefits students academically but also helps in building their confidence and self-esteem resulting from being responsible, accountable stakeholders in their education. When students learn in such an environment, they develop lifelong skills of collaboration, problem solving, and critical thinking. Acquiring these skills at a young age serves and enhances the quality of the rest of their lives.