The best personal qualities we can have beyond school don't simply define what we've learned...
What is critical thinking? How can I foster it in my students and staff? What does it look like when it’s being done right? What are some of the best critical thinking definitions I can find?
Sometimes the best understanding comes by observing. What we’ve done is assemble an homage to some of the best critical thinking definitions. See classic quotes in our Hall of Words, then catch an exploratory video in the Hall of Lectures. You can even test your knowledge in the Hall of Meaning or the Hall of Games. No matter how you approach it, you'll find this informative little gallery answers many of your questions about critical thinking.
The Hall of Words
Critical Thinking Definitions from Goodreads
“The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks.”—Christopher Hitchens
“There is a magnificent, beautiful, wonderful painting in front of you! It is intricate, detailed, a painstaking labor of devotion and love! The colors are like no other, they swim and leap, they trickle and embellish! And yet you choose to fixate your eyes on the small fly which has landed on it! Why do you do such a thing?”—C. JoyBell C.
“Critical thinking is thinking about your thinking while you're thinking in order to make your thinking better.”—Richard W. Paul
“Whenever we hear an opinion and believe it, we make an agreement, and it becomes part of our belief system.”—Miguel Ruiz
The Hall of Meaning
Explore these essays on critical thinking and its deeper meaning.
- The Critical Thinker: Critical Thinking
- Criticalthinking,org: Defining Critical Thinking
- Philosophy.hku.hk: Think Critical
- Insight Assessment: What & Why
- Todd Finley (from Edutopia): Critical Thinking Pathways
The Hall of Infographics
The Hall of Lectures
- ‘How’ to Think, Not ‘What’ to Think—Jesse Richardson
- Schools Kill Creativity—Ken Robinson
- Knowledgeable to Knowledge-able—Michael Wesch
- Richard Feynman on Problem Solving
- I-Squared Project Based Learning in Elementary School
- The Power of Student-Driven Learning—Shelley Wright TED Talk
- Allow Students to Do the Impossible—Aaron Donaghy
The Hall of Play
- What If?—A website dedicated to solving the most “pressing” questions
- Lateral Thinking Puzzles—Rinkworks
- More Lateral Thinking Puzzles—Folj.com
So concludes the virtual tour of our online museum honouring critical thinking definitions. You now know more about its history, meaning, interpretations, and practice. We also saw examples of how critical thinking is being utilized in classes through real-world project based learning. We even had a little fun with some lateral puzzles to get us to think critically. Thanks for taking the tour.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published Mar 13, 2018, updated September 19, 2021