Critical thinking is the process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion. According to Beyer (1995) critical thinking means making clear, reasoned judgments. It is important for teachers to help students build their critical thinking skills through well established structures and routines that require students to analyze information and provide evidence for their answers or conclusions. Inquiry is the act of asking questions. Both critical thinking and inquiry are essential for student engagement and rigor, and both skills should be explicitly taught by the teacher at all levels.
Objective: By the end of this video, viewers will have an understanding of a variety of inquiry based teaching strategies that build students’ critical thinking skills.
Essential Question: How do Ms. Butler’s classroom routines and structures promote critical thinking & inquiry?
Questions to consider as you watch the video:
- Secondary: How does the student’s quick write in Ms. Butler’s class foster critical thinking?
- Secondary: How and why do the students mark the text when they read?
- Secondary: Why does Ms. Butler teach different levels of questioning?
- How can I integrate more structures that promote inquiry and critical thinking into my teaching routine?
Tools & Templates used for Critical Thinking & Inquiry:
- Professional Learning Implementation Tool- Critical Thinking & Inquiry
- Blooms Taxonomy, Blooms Taxonomy Arrow
- Costa’s Level of Questioning
- Socratic Seminar Guidelines
Texts on Critical Thinking & Inquiry:
- Developing Mindful Students, Skillful Thinkers, Thoughtful Schools (Buoncristiani & Buoncristiani, 2012) Available from the Virtual PL Library
- Sparking Student Synapses 9-12 (Allen & Scozzi, 2011) Available from the Virtual PL Library
- Teachers as Classroom Coaches (Stix & Hrbek, 2006) Available from the Virtual PL Library
- Preparing Creative and Critical Thinkers (Treffingler, 2008) by ASCD
- Research Says Teach Critical Thinking to Teach Writing (Goodwin, 2014) by ASCD
- Teaching Students to Ask Rich Questions (Virgin, 2015) by ASCD
- Three Questioning Strategies for Any Lesson (Varlas, 2012), blog post for ASCD
- Additional Videos on Critical Thinking & Inquiry from the Teaching Channel
- Classrooms in Focus: Essential Questions
- Classrooms in Focus: Reading in the Content Area
Have an idea or routine in your classroom for building critical thinking skills and inquiry that you believe other teachers would benefit from learning about or seeing? Email PL, write “Critical Thinking & Inquiry” in the subject line.
Tools & Templates used in the Lesson:
Ms. Butler’s Lesson Plan: AVID
Ms. Butler’s Templates: