Do you know what critical thinking is? Often in schools, students are taught to express their
ideas or opinions in a way that is not supportive to their real goals. To avoid confusion,
educators need to better understand what it is not: critical thinking is not being negative and
critical at the same time. In fact, an accurate definition would be evaluative, open-minded, and
focused on results. The end result of critical thinking can range from approval to rejection, from
agreement to dissent or anything in between.
The bottom line is that students are being challenged to use critical thinking skills in order to
learn, grow, and succeed. Unfortunately, some schools are not implementing this scientifically
based education concept in the classroom. Instead, teachers are teaching a “K-12” type of
education where students are encouraged to express their opinions but are seldom provided
opportunities for developing the critical thinking skills necessary to truly improve their education.
Only when teachers are motivated to really implement this teaching method throughout the
country, will it be possible to raise students to the level of potential scientists, engineers,
Effective teachers know that teaching critical thinking in schools requires teachers to foster open
and ongoing communication with their students. In doing so, they help students develop the
ability to critically analyze information and form unique opinion about it. They also provide
students with the opportunity to develop personal responsibility for decisions that affect them as
individuals. Finally, teachers help their students understand and learn from their own mistakes
so that they can do it differently the next time they make a critical decision.