Developing Critical Thinkers

Richard Jones, Ph.D.

April 27, 2004

Video Segments

  1. What is critical thinking?
  2. Why is critical thinking so important for students?
  3. How can teachers stimulate critical thinking?
  4. How do we teach students to think about thinking?
  5. What are the attributes of critical thinkers?
  6. How can students distinguish arguments from nonarguments?


Critical thinking embraces questioning and reasoning. It is an art as well as a science, so it demands both practice and skill. Therefore, to develop critical thinkers in the classroom, teachers should demonstrate and engage their students in critical thinking as much as possible. Although teachers may apply a variety of strategies, they should seek, above all, to lead their students to aporia—a state of confusion about what to believe. Through aporia, teachers can encourage students to explore what they do NOT know instead of focusing on what they THINK they know. Socratic questioning is a particularly effective way to accomplish this task.