I typically ask them to record their personal reflections in writing, either working individually or in pairs; in the latter case, their task is to listen and record the reflections shared by their partner.Research has shown that one distinguishing characteristic of high-achieving college students is that they tend to reflect on their thought processes during learning and are aware of the cognitive strategies they use (Weinstein & Underwood, 1985).” I would argue that one criterion for determining the beauty of a question is its capacity for promoting deep, reflective thinking; in effect, it launches the learner on a quest for critical thinking.3.
Classroom-based research conducted by Alison King (1990, 1995) demonstrates that students can also learn to generate their own higher-level thinking questions.
Using a technique she calls “guided peer questioning,” students are first provided with a series of generic question stems that serve as cognitive prompts to trigger or stimulate different forms of critical thinking, such as: After students have communicated their ideas, either orally via group discussions or in writing via minute papers, I periodically ask them to reflect on what type of critical thinking my question was designed to promote and whether they think they demonstrated that critical thinking in their response.
It also involves a shift away from viewing learning as the reception of information from teacher or text (in pre-packaged and final form) to viewing learning as an elaboration and transformation of received information into a different form by the learner.
This broad definition of critical thinking does not equate critical thinking with the cognitive process of evaluation or critique; instead, it incorporates evaluation as one specific form or type of critical thinking.
(Examples: Connecting related ideas discussed in separate sections or units of a course into a single, unified product, such as a concept map.
Integrating ethical concepts learned in a course and philosophy with marketing concepts learned in a business course to produce a set of ethical guidelines for business marketing and advertising practices.)5.This is an important distinction, not only for the purpose of definitional clarity, but also for the practical purpose of combating the prevalent student misconception that critical thinking means being “being critical.” Because of this common student misconception, I prefer to use the term “Deep Thinking” Skills (DTs) in my classes.In an attempt to describe more clearly for students (and for myself) what critical thinking actually is, and how it can be identified and demonstrated, I developed a classification system to organize the variety of cognitive skills that would be embraced by an inclusive definition of critical thinking.I may pose them for general class discussion, or for discussion in small groups.Sometimes, I will ask students to write a minute-paper in response to the question.It also benefits international students and students who may be fearful or self-conscious about public speaking, because it gives them a script to fall back on (or build on) and use as a support structure for communicating their ideas orally.Experimental research indicates that students who are asked higher-level thinking questions in class are more likely to display higher-level thinking on course examinations (Hunkins, cited in Bligh, 2000).On other occasions, I have students write a minute paper first and then discuss their written responses.I have found that this strategy benefits the more reflective students by allowing them time to gather their thoughts prior to verbalizing them.Additional research indicates that students can learn to engage in such “meta-cognition” (thinking about thinking) if they are regularly asked self-assessment questions, which require reflection on their own thought processes.When students learn to routinely ask themselves these questions, the depth and quality of their thinking are enhanced (Resnick, 1986).