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A Practical

Approach to
Critical Thinking

Matthew
Ellman
Overview
• What is critical thinking?
• Bloom’s taxonomy
• How can critical thinking help
our students?
• Applying critical thinking in the
classroom
• Conclusions © Cambridge University Press
“Critical thinking
involves thinking
about thinking”
(Moore & Parker, 2015, p. 2)

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What is critical thinking?
1. What do you understand by critical
thinking?
2. How skilled are your students at critical
thinking?
3. How do you teach critical thinking?

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What is critical thinking?
Critical thinking is the ability to
think clearly and rationally. It
includes the ability to engage in
reflective and independent thinking.
Critical thinking is not a matter of
accumulating information.
© Cambridge University Press
1. Understand the logical
What do connections between ideas.
critical 2. Identify, construct, and
evaluate arguments.
thinkers do? 3. Detect inconsistencies and
common mistakes in
reasoning.
4. Solve problems systematically.
5. Identify the relevance and
importance of ideas.
(Adapted from Lau, 2011)
6. Reflect on the justification of
one's own beliefs and values
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Bloom’s Taxonomy
Bloom’s taxonomy of
learning objectives is
used to define how well
a skill or competency is
learned or mastered

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What’s the UK’s most
popular food?
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Bloom’s Taxonomy
Analyse
Apply
Create
Evaluate
Understand
Remember
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Bloom’s Taxonomy
Create
Evaluate
Analyse
Apply
Understand
(Krathwohl, 2002) Remember
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Bloom’s Taxonomy

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“One of the most common descriptions of a
critical thinker is someone who possesses
HOTs in Bloom’s (1956) sense of the word”

(Chirgwin & Huijser, 2015, p. 338)

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HOTs and LOTs
Lower Order
Thinking Remember Understand Apply
Skills (LOTS)

Gathering information

Higher Order
Thinking Analyse Evaluate Create
Skills (HOTS)

Processing information
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HOTs and LOTs Why might…?
Why?

Can you
How How would you?
identify? What’s the
many? Who?
evidence for…?
Where?
When? What criteria…?
Name… What could
Do you
List… happen if…?
know?

Key words for LOTS Key words for HOTS


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HOT thinking is on a level that is
higher than memorizing facts or
telling something back to someone
exactly the way it was told to you.
HOT takes thinking to higher levels
than restating the facts and requires
students to do something with the
facts
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In the classroom

Remember

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In the classroom

Understand

Unlock RW1 unit 1 p25

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In the classroom

Apply
Unlock RW2 unit 2 p42

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In the classroom

Analyse

Unlock RW2 unit 6 p116


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In the classroom

Evaluate
Unlock LS2 unit 5 pg 99

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In the classroom

Create

Unlock LS1 unit 3 p61


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Modelling
critical thinking
What kinds of thinking
have you used during this
session?
How might critical
thinking skills affect your
lessons?
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Conclusions
• Critical Thinking can be taught at all language levels
• Both LOTS and HOTS can be taught at all language
levels
• Critical Thinking skills cannot be taught in isolation
• A scaffolded approach will make teaching Critical
Thinking more meaningful
• Remember that HOTs questions may be used to
determine the direction of teaching
© Cambridge University Press
Any questions? Chirgwin, S. K., & Huijser, H. (2015). Cultural
Variance, Critical Thinking, and Indigenous
Knowledges: Exploring a Both-Ways Approach. In
M. Davies and R. Barnett (Eds.), The Palgrave
handbook of critical thinking in higher education,
(pp. 335–350). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Krathwohl, D. R. (2002). A revision of Bloom’s


Taxonomy: An overview.” Theory into
Practice, 41(4), 212–218.

Lau, J. Y. (2011). An introduction to critical


thinking and creativity: Think more, think better.
Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Moore, B. N. & Parker, R. (2015). Critical thinking,


11th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

© Cambridge University Press


Thank you!
Twitter
@MatthewEllman
Web
MatthewEllman.com

© Cambridge University Press