In the second blog post in our series on 21st Century skills , to accompany our teacher training videos on the same subject , Charles Vilina talks more specifically about critical thinking skills and how you can bring critical thinking into your lessons. In my earlier blog, I introduced some of the main 21 st Century skills, and argued that the English language classroom is a perfect environment to build those skills. A critical thinker uses logic and evidence to prioritize and classify information, find relationships, make judgments, and solve problems. However, critical thinkers are better learners, because they explore meaning much more deeply. As English language curriculums continue to use more content to teach English, critical thinking strategies give students a chance to analyze and process the information in valuable ways. It begins with vocabulary, one of the building blocks of language.
Directed Reading Thinking Activity (DRTA)
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Recall and memorization only require surface level thinking. If you are teaching ESL to children, teaching critical thinking is particularly important because it will serve them in their futures no matter what language they are speaking. The following are some ways to integrate critical thinking exercises into your ESL lessons while still meeting the language goals you set for your students. Getting your students to think about how they came to the answer that they did will challenge them to think critically, and it gets them using more language and using it in practical ways.
English as a second or foreign language
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According to Ruggiero critical thinking is "the process by which we test claims and arguments and determine which have merit and which do not" p. The definition gives us the core of critical thinking. Teaching critical thinking involves preparing students to examine claims made by advertisers, politicians, pundits, newspaper columnists, and even other students, then articulate the merits of these claims. Although we often think of a critic as someone who is constantly finding fault, a critical thinker seeks what is praiseworthy about a claim just as much as he or she looks for areas for improvement.