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    How to Improve Critical Thinking Using a Simple 5-Step Process

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    How to Improve Critical Thinking Using a Simple 5-Step Process

    If you want to improve critical thinking, it takes practice but it's actually easy. Just get a simple system to refer back to and you can't go wrong. Luckily, that's exactly what you'll discover in this terrific TED Ed lesson created by Samantha Agoos.

     It's called 5 Tips to Improve Your Critical Thinking. It provides you with a formula to improve critical thinking you and your students can internalize easily and use every day.

    We've talked before about critical thinking being one of the most important things we can teach our kids. It's a lifetime skill and we use it every single day whether we know it or not. Samantha Agoos seems to agree:

    "Every day, a sea of decisions stretches before us, and it’s impossible to make a perfect choice every time. But there are many ways to improve our chances—and one particularly effective technique is critical thinking."

    The practice of improving critical thinking is best if we make it ongoing and consistent. The more we challenge ourselves to think critically, the more habitual such powerful thinking habits become.

    In her lesson, Samantha outlines and explains a 5-step process for boosting critical thinking as follows:


    5 Easy Steps to Improve Critical Thinking

    1. Formulate the question
    2. Gather information
    3. Apply the information
    4. Consider the implications
    5. Explore other points of view

    If you look closely, you'll see the similarities to our own 6D process of Solution Fluency. This is another simple but effective method for practicing and improving critical thinking:

    • Formulate the question (DEFINE)
    • Gather information (DISCOVER, DREAM)
    • Apply the information (DESIGN, DELIVER)
    • Consider the implications (DEBRIEF, DISCOVER, DESIGN)
    • Explore other points of view (DEBRIEF)

    This simple and informative free TED lesson includes a multiple choice quiz, some resources to explore, and a discussion forum about the topic. So go ahead and take some time to learn more about how to improve your critical thinking skills. Students can also benefit greatly from the information you'll find here.

    After that, take advantage of our Critical Thinking Companion or our Critical Thinking Skills Cheatsheet. Both make great critical thinking practice tools that will be welcome additions to your classroom.

    Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

    Originally published Jan 4, 2018, updated September 21, 2021

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