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critical thinking activities english

40 Activities For Developing Critical Thinking in EFL Classes

critical thinking activities english

In this article, I’m going to tackle critical thinking; what it is, what it involves, and some practical activities to develop it in EFL classes.

Critical thinking is one of the main purposes of education. Teachers should prepare their students to think critically from the first day of school. Critical thinking helps students to lead successful, fulfilling lives and become engaged citizens.

What Is Meant By Critical Thinking?

In today’s world, critical thinking is:

  • The ability to think about one’s thinking to recognize and improve it.
  • The process of applying, analyzing, constructing and evaluating information.
  • Making reasoned judgments using certain criteria to judge the quality of something.

What Critical Thinking Involves?

  • Asking questions,
  • Defining a problem,
  • Examining evidence,
  • Analyzing assumptions and biases,
  • Avoiding emotional reasoning,
  • Avoiding oversimplification,
  • Considering all interpretations,
  • Using higher level thinking skills; analyzing, evaluating and
  • Reaching creative solutions for problems.

Why Teach Critical Thinking?

Teachers should focus mainly to develop their students’ critical thinking to help them:  

  • Be active receptors of the massive information that they receive nowadays.
  • Solve the complex problems that they face every day.
  • Make sound decisions about personal and civic affairs.

The Main Teaching Strategies To Develop Critical Thinking

  • Using ongoing classroom assessment.
  • Putting students in group learning situations to get continuous support and feedback from other students.
  • Presenting case studies to the class without a conclusion and using discussion and debate methods.
  • Using critical questions.
  • Using dialogues written or oral and encouraging students to analyze them.
  • Using comparisons to show the pros and cons of two things.

Example #1 of a Critical Thinking Activity

Using debates

Letter x Email

Broom x Vacuum cleaner

Telephone (landline) x Cell phone

Oven x Microwave

Sponge and soap x Dishwasher

Candle x Bulb

Book x Kindle

1. Ask the class who, in their own opinion, wins and why?

2. Ask students to pretend to be the item that they choose, try to list its advantages, and debate them with the other student.

3. Ask students to act out what they prepared in front of the class.

4.  Ask the class to listen and take notes.

Example #2 of a Critical Thinking Activity

Using short stories

Ask students to read the following short story and answer the questions below:

Just before Christmas my father took me skiing at Mount Baker. He’d had to fight for the privilege of my company, because my mother was still angry with him for sneaking me into a nightclub during his last visit, to see Thelonious Monk.

  • Write an introduction to this short story.
  • Write the second paragraph.
  • Do you think they stayed up all night in the nightclub? What did they do?
  • What do you think about the father?
  • Do you think the family enjoyed Christmas?
  • If you were the mother, would you be angry?
  • What did you learn from the story?
  • Can you guess the best/worst case scenario of how the story will end?
  • Why did the father take the kid to the nightclub?
  • Do you think the mother wanted to go to the nightclub?
  • Do you like such a father?
  • Do you think the dad lives with the family?
  • What are the feelings of the kid?
  • Do you think the kid has siblings?
  • Did the kid solve the problem with his mother?
  • What would you do if you were in his/her shoes?
  • How old is he or she?
  • Where do they live? Country or town?
  • Do you think the kid is good at school?
  • Why did the father sneak the kid into the nightclub?
  • Do you think the mother was right when she got angry?
  • What do you think of the dad?
  • Should the kid apologize to the mother and how?
  • Does the father accompany his kid often or rarely?
  • What do you think happened before Christmas?
  • Why did the father not take the mother along? …. etc.

When asking students such critical thinking questions, the teacher should:

  • Keep the discussion focused.
  • Keep the discussion reasonable.
  • Stimulate the discussion with more probing questions.
  • Summarize periodically what has and what has not been dealt with or resolved.
  • Engage as many students as possible in the discussion.

More Examples of Activities For Developing Critical Thinking in EFL Classes

3. Write a title on the board, divide the students into groups, and they sit together and make a story (each group will have a different story and then share it with the whole class).

4. Use a short story, ask students about their opinions of the characters, then discuss with the whole class whether they agree or disagree asking why?

5. Draw objects and ask them about them (compare and contrast).

6. Write an essay on a certain topic or respond to an email.

7. Suggest a suitable title for a story.

8. Transfer information to others

9. Brainstorm ideas using a mind map.

10. Summarize a text and give opinions.

11. Ask what-if questions (what if you were Oliver twist/Cinderella).

12. Ask students to complete a sentence.

13. Ask about the moral of a story.

14. Give students a problem related to their environment and ask them to do research about it and give some creative solutions for it.

15. Ask open-ended questions; questions that have many possible answers (e.g. should we spend more money developing earth or exploring space?). Divide the class into groups, each thinks of answers and then shares them.

16. Give a situation and encourage students (in groups) to analyze, evaluate, and make judgments.

17. Ask students to make an end to a story.

18. Ask students to criticize a certain situation.

19. List the advantages and disadvantages of a topic.

20. Introduce some situations using (what would you do in the following situation? what if we do not have …., what would happen if …?

21. Ask students: which is different: milk, water, soda, or juice? Why? Which one is better (in pairs and students pick different sides)

22. Imagine you are the president, the mayor, a leader, a doctor etc… What decisions would you take first?

Reading Activities

Let’s brainstorm some ideas of how to promote critical thinking after reading a story, e.g. “Cinderella”.

23. Analyze characters: Do you like “Character”? Why?

24. Use what-if questions: What if Cinderella was ugly?

25. Introduce or remove a character then ask for the impact on the storyline.

26. Ask for another ending for the story.

27. Ask for their thoughts about what’s after the ending.

28. Change the setting and ask for the results.

29. Ask students to watch the movie after reading the story and then compare the characters and the storyline!

Speaking activities

30. Ask students to look at a certain picture and describe their feelings about it.

31. Ask students to compare things.

32. Introduce a problem and ask students to give as many solutions as possible for it.

33. Ask students to gather information from conflicting resources.

34. Ask controversial questions.

35. Encourage Role Plays.

36. Ask students about their priority: education/health/entertainment and why?

Listening activities

37. Prediction.

38. Making inferences.

39. Drawing conclusions.

40. Differentiating between facts and opinions.

Writing Activities

41. Writing blurbs to pictures or ads … etc.

42. Writing Commentaries.

43. Responding to emails, letters or SMS.

For setting students up for success in critical thinking activities teachers need to:

  • Brainstorm enough information before asking students to carry out a certain task.
  • Encourage them to participate.
  • Provide them with help and guidance (when needed).
  • Assure them that there are no “wrong answers”.
  • Accept all answers and points of view.
  • Appreciate their efforts.
  • Praise their trials.
  • Teach them critical thinking skills!

Here are some critical thinking skills that students need to learn:

  • Thinking outside the box.
  • Asking questions and then questioning answers.
  • Analyzing the reading or the listening text.
  • Logically addressing an issue.
  • Supporting their stance with evidence.
  • Respectfully refuting others’ opinions.
  • Evaluating the truth of a claim or argument.

Adapted from U.S. Department of State English Language Programs – Samar Aal

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Young boy stands scratching head as he faces three white doors

English language teachers are trained to teach language skills, but they do not always learn how to teach the critical thinking skills that help guide learning. Critical thinking skills are part of many curriculum guidelines, but some teachers may be unsure how to teach these skills. For example, an academic reading curriculum might have the following objective: “Learners will analyze a variety of academic writing samples in an effort to determine the components, organization, and structure of academic writing texts.” Although English language teachers can think of any number of ways to teach and support reading as a skill, they may find it more difficult to achieve the first part of this objective—how to teach learners to analyze.

Critical thinking involves reflection and the analysis of ideas.  Good critical thinkers are able to break a broad idea into many parts. They can examine each part, question biases, and come to a reasonable conclusion. This task is difficult for anyone and requires practice. Thinking critically is even more challenging when done in a second language.    

This month’s Teacher’s Corner looks at the critical thinking skills that shape learning goals and outcomes. Each week presents a new activity that targets critical thinking skills while also encouraging language use and development. Some of the activities and tasks may seem familiar as they are based on long-established language teaching techniques.  The activities are designed to support authentic language use while also encouraging critical thinking.

Brown, H. D. and Lee, H. (2015). Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language   Pedagogy. White Plains, NY: Pearson Longman.

Additional Resources

For additional information about critical thinking , check out the resource below and many others available on the American English website:

·      A Questionnaire Project: Integrating the Four Macro Skills with Critical Thinking

critical thinking activities english

Table of Contents

It takes time to design activities and tasks that both target language skills and encourage critical thinking. Project-based learning (also known as experiential learning) is one approach you can use to integrate language-learning goals with critical thinking skills. Project-based learning tasks and activities combine language and action so that learners learn by doing (Brown and Lee, 2015). Learners must understand, examine, analyze, evaluate, and create while using English to complete a task or activity. The result is a language skills task or activity that promotes critical thinking skills.

One of the most popular types of project-based learning in the language classroom is the Language Experience Approach (LEA). LEA gives language learners a chance to recount a personal experience in their own words (Brown and Lee, 2015). This week’s Teacher’s Corner offers an LEA activity that can be conducted in the classroom using minimal resources.

High Beginning

Language Focus

During this activity, students will be able to the following:

  • U se English to talk about a special meal they shared with their family.
  • Organize th eir experience into a written story.

Paper, pencils


  • Write the following prompt on the board:

      o   Describe a special meal you ate with your family.

  • When was it?
  • What did you eat?
  • Where were you?
  • Who was with you?
  • Have your own story of a special meal ready to share with students.

1.     Begin class by telling students: “Today you are going to talk about a special meal you ate with your family.” Direct their attention to the prompt and questions on the board.

2.     Ask students to think about a meal. You might say, “Do you remember a special meal with your family? Do you remember two?”

3.     Encourage students to begin sharing what they remember. For example, one student might share that they remember a time when they had a family dinner for a birthday or holiday. Use the questions on the board to guide the discussion.

  • Keep the conversation moving with different students responding and sharing their memories. The more students talk, the more it will encourage and support other students to remember and share additional details.
  • Some student might not be able to think of all of the language required immediately. This is fine. Encourage those students to think about other parts of the meal, and tell them you will come back in a moment.
  • Give plenty of time for the discussion so that all students have a clear idea of an occasion that they can write about.

4.     Tell students that now they are going to work on writing their story of a special meal.

  • Depending on the group, feel free to give them guidelines for writing, but try not to put limitations on what they write. For example, you could say that everyone needs to write at least 5 sentences, but they could write more if they choose.
  • Part of LEA is to encourage a learner’s autonomy over their own experience. Allow learners to share their ideas in English without worrying about grammar or spelling. In this way, you can give learners   freedom to play with the language, navigate their own story, and negotiate meaning through their language choices.

5.     As students write, walk around and support them by helping them write down exactly what they say.

If you have a student who wants to know how to spell something correctly, you can tell them the correct spelling. On the other hand, if a student spells some words incorrectly, do not correct them. Encourage learners to use the English they know and are comfortable using in their stories.

6.     After students have written their stories, give everyone a chance to share what they have written.

One way to share the stories is to divide the students into two groups. Have one group hang their stories on the wall and stand next to them. Tell the second group that they are visiting the story gallery, and they can go around the room reading the different stories and asking the authors questions. After students have circulated, the groups can switch tasks. The second group now hosts a story gallery, and the first group gets to read stories and ask questions.

7.     Keep all of the stories up on the walls so students can see their work, or encourage students to take their stories home to share with their families.

One variation of this activity is to have learners write their stories in small groups of three or four students. Have one student tell their story out loud while the other students in the group write down the story as they hear it.

An additional variation could involve a whole-class shared experience. Rather than have learners share their individual experiences, you could ask the class to recount an experience you shared as a group. For example, if the class went on a field trip recently, ask the class to recount the field trip together. The teacher becomes the scribe and writes the story on the board, and the students can see their experiences taking shape in writing.

This activity can be extended to include a visual component. Once students have written their stories, ask them to draw a picture depicting the events in the story. This could be done simply with pencil and paper or, if magazines and pictures are available, students could make picture collages to go with their stories.

Reading aloud is a popular reading task in English language classrooms. The task typically targets skills associated with reading, such as fluency, word recognition, and pronunciation. In this week’s Teacher’s Corner, a read-aloud task is used as the framework for a more demanding task that targets critical thinking skills as well. The task asks learners to process and then summarize the content of a story while reading aloud in a group.

Intermediate and above

During this activity, students will be able to complete the following tasks:

  • Read a story aloud.
  • Consider, evaluate, and plan a summary of a story while reading.
  • Present a verbal summary of a story.

Reading: “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allen Poe

  • Print enough copies of the story “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allen Poe for each student.
  • Place students into groups of 3-4 students before class by creating a list of students in each group.

1.     Begin by putting students in the groups planned before class.

2.     Tell the class that today they are going to read a story by Edgar Allen Poe called “The Black Cat.”

3.     Have each group discuss what they expect the story might be about based on the title and on what they know about Edgar Allen Poe.

4.     Ask the class to share what they’ve discussed in groups, and write the ideas on the board. For example, one group might say they know Edgar Allen Poe wrote scary stories so they expect this story to be scary. Another group might say that black cats are believed to be bad luck in some cultures.

5.     Give each group a single copy of the story. Tell the class that one student will read three paragraphs aloud to the group. As the person reads, they will stop at the end of each paragraph to summarize the paragraph for the group. After the first student has read and summarized three paragraphs, the next student in the group will read and summarize the next three paragraphs. The group will continue reading the story by taking turns reading aloud and summarizing.

a.            If possible, model the activity for students using Appendix A as a sample of reading and summarizing. For example, read the first paragraph in Appendix A aloud to the students. At the end, summarize the paragraph using the suggested summary in Appendix A.

6.     Once all of the groups have completed the story, hand out more copies of the story so each student has a copy.

7.     Direct students to read the story silently.

8.     While students read, write the following questions on the board:

a.            What was difficult about reading aloud while summarizing?

b.            What part of the activity was easiest?

c.            Were your group’s summaries accurate?

9.     When everyone has finished reading, ask students to discuss the questions written on the board in their groups.

10.  Finally, bring the class back together and ask for some responses to the questions.

Any reading can be used for this activity. The reading should be easy enough for the students to successfully complete the activity, but also difficult enough for them to find the activity challenging.

Another variation might include giving each student a different short text. For example, each student gets a different poem. Students would read aloud and summarize their text, and then the group would evaluate the reader’s performance.

Sample Annotated Read-Aloud

The Tell-Tale Heart

Edgar Allen Poe

It’s true! Yes, I have been ill, very ill. But why do you say that I have lost control of my mind, why do you say that I am mad? Can you not see that I have full control of my mind? Is it not clear that I am not mad? Indeed, the illness only made my mind, my feelings, my senses stronger, more powerful. My sense of hearing especially became more powerful. I could hear sounds I had never heard before. I heard sounds from heaven; and I heard sounds from hell!

Suggested summary:

The person has been sick, but is not crazy. The sickness made the person smarter and improved his hearing. He heard wonderful sounds and horrible sounds.

Making predictions in reading and listening activities is a great way to develop learners’ critical thinking skills. In order to make predictions, learners need to evaluate the components of the information they have while also making reasonable judgments about possible outcomes.  Evaluating, reflecting, and making judgments are all part of the critical thinking skills needed for learners to fully engage in learning and to use what they learn beyond the classroom.

In this Teacher’s Corner activity, students use the first part of a comic strip as a starting point for creating their own endings. This activity is simple and fun, and can be used with any age group at any level. As you work through the activity, think about possible variations in addition to those offered below.

Beginning and above

During this activity, students will be able to do the following tasks:

  • Read a comic strip and make a reasonable prediction about an ending.
  • Plan, write, and draw their own version of the comic strip’s ending.
  • Comic strip from American English: Why English? Comics for the Classroom (see Appendix A)
  • Comic strip template (see Appendix B)
  • Paper, pencils, or any drawing materials available
  • Print enough copies of the comic for each student in the class.

1.     Begin class by asking students to describe a comic strip.

  • Let students offer suggestions, but also ensure that they know comic strips are short stories presented through pictures and words.

2.     Write the title of the comic strip on the board, “Lost in the Desert.” Ask learners what they think the comic might be about, based on the title.

3.     Tell students that they will read the first part of the comic strip in class and then write new endings.

4.     Hand out a copy of the comic strip to each student in the class.

5.     Tell learners to look at the pictures and read the language silently.

6.     After giving learners time to work individually, read the comic as a group by calling on different students to read aloud.

7.     Check learners’ reading comprehension by asking the following questions of the whole class:

  • Where is the person in the comic?
  • What problem does the person have?
  • What does the person try to do to solve the problem?

8.     Once the story has been discussed, begin a group brainstorm.

  • Ask learners to think about what happens next in the comic strip.
  • Encourage students to share some of their ideas with the class.
  • Write students’ ideas on the board for everyone to see. Spend at least 5-7 minutes listening and writing their ideas on the board so that students have a chance to hear from their classmates and refine their own ideas.

9.     Tell students that it’s now their turn to write and draw the rest of the comic.

  • Give them a blank comic strip template (Appendix B) and any additional drawing materials you have available.
  • Tell students to use all six squares to complete the story. All six squares must have a drawing. At least three squares must include language.

10.  After students have finished their comics, put students into pairs by having students work with the person sitting to their left.

11.  In the pairs, students will read the comic with their new endings to their partners.

Instead of having students finish a comic strip, students can make their own comic strips. Then they give the first half of their comic strip to a partner. The partner will then write their own endings to their classmate’s comic strip.

Another alternative is to give students short stories or poems to finish. American English has both poems and short stories available for free to teachers and learners. 

Academic writing teachers try to help learners understand and imitate the various rhetorical styles used in academic texts. Understanding academic writing involves careful and repeated reading, analysis, and evaluation of many texts.  It then requires further analysis, synthesis, and creation to imitate the writing style. All of this work involves using critical thinking and language skills. One way to engage learners in this process and support the acquisition of advanced writing skills is to use students’ existing critical thinking skills in an activity that analyzes the components of academic writing.

This Teacher’s Corner offers a strategy to introduce learners to academic writing through the familiar task of outlining. Writers use outlining as a way to plan and organize their ideas at the beginning of the writing process. In this activity, learners use the outline in reverse as a way to break down and analyze the structure of an academic text. This process is called a reverse outline and is explained in detail here. Keep in mind that a reverse outline can be adapted to fit the needs of intermediate writers as well, as long as the reading is selected to meet learners’ language level.

Advanced (university level)

  • Read an academic text to identify the organization and structure of ideas.
  • Organize the information presented in an academic text into an outline template in order to recognize the structure and organization of an academic text.
  • Reading:   “Helping Students Develop Coherence in Writing” by Icy Lee
  • Outline Template in Appendix A
  • Paper and pencils or pens
  • Print enough copies of the reading for each student.
  •  Print enough copies of the outline template for each student.

1.     Start class with a warm-up discussion to elicit ideas about the structure of academic writing. Use these questions as a guide:

  • What are the important parts of an academic essay?
  • What do we call the first paragraph(s)? The main paragraphs? The final paragraph(s)?
  • What have you been told to include in the first paragraph(s) of an essay?
  • What is included in the main paragraphs?
  • What is included in the final paragraph(s)?

2.     Hand out the outline template (Appendix A) to students. (The outline template can be adapted and adjusted to meet the needs of essay writing in your specific class. Feel free to add components to this outline or delete components that are unnecessary.)  Ask learners to review the template for similarities between what they said in the discussion and what the template lists as components of academic writing.

  • Is there anything on the outline template that was not mentioned in the discussion? If so, what are the differences? Is there anything that students think the outline template needs to include that is not listed?

3.     Explain that this outline is a model of the structure, but that every article differs slightly as to how each of the core parts is structured. For example, one essay might have 10 body paragraphs but another essay might only have 4.

4.     Tell students they are now going to use the outline to read an academic article. They will complete an outline, using the template as a model, based on the information from the article they read.

5.     Give everyone a copy of the article. Explain that before trying to complete the outline, they should read the article once and make notes. Reading once will help them process the article, ask questions, and get an overview of the structure of the article.

6.     Have learners read, make notes, and complete their outlines. While they are working, circulate to answer any questions they have.

7.     After learners have completed the outlines, bring the class back together as a group.

8.     Place students in pairs by dividing the class in half and counting off each group (for example: 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.). The two students who are assigned 1 will work together, the students assigned 2 will work together, etc.

9.     Once learners are in their pairs, ask them to read over their partners’ outlines, paying attention to similarities and differences.

10.  While they are reading, write these directions on the board.

  • Compare the two outlines and identify any areas where the information is different or where information is on one outline but not the other.
  • Work together to complete a new outline that combines the information from both outlines.
  • Work together to decide how to include information that is different on personal outlines.

11.  Then give each pair a new outline template. Explain that students will work together to create a new outline, using the directions on the board.

12.  When pairs have finished, bring the class back together to discuss what they learned from the outline activity.

  • What information on the outline did they expect to see? What information was unexpected in the article’s structure? What else did they learn about how academic writing is structured?

One simple variation is to have students read the text at home and take notes before working on the outline in class. This variation allows students to read at their own pace so that when students come to class, they are all familiar with the text.

Another alternative to this assignment is to have students work in pairs from the beginning of the process. After everyone in the class reads the article, put students in pairs and have them work together to complete the outlines. This variation ensures that learners will vocalize, discuss, and negotiate what is included on the outline and what is not.

A possible extension to this activity is to revisit the reverse outline when students are writing their own essays. During the revision process students could complete a reverse outline of their own work or complete reverse outlines of their classmates’ work. For example, if students have written a first draft of an essay, before they revise it or write a second draft, they could do a reverse outline of their first draft. By doing so, they could recognize areas in their writing to improve. Then, students could use their reverse outline for help in preparing and writing a second draft.

Outline Template

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  • Attention grabbing device
  • Background/Contextual information
  • Thesis statement

     II.         Main Paragraphs (repeat for each paragraph)

  • Topic statements/ideas
  • Supporting evidence (data, anecdotes, stories, definitions, etc.): paraphrase, summary, quotes
  • Connections to thesis

   III.         Conclusion

  • Final thoughts
  • Implications and areas for future analysis
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Teaching Critical Thinking Skills in the ESL Classroom

  • Linda D'Argenio
  • December 22, 2022

teaching critical thinking skills in fluency vs accuracy

Critical thinking has become a central concept in today’s educational landscape, regardless of the subject taught. Critical thinking is not a new idea. It has been present since the time of Greek philosophers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Socrates’ famous quote, “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel,” underscores the nature of learning (students are not blank slates to be filled with content by their teachers) and the significance of inquisitiveness in a true learning process, both in the ESL classroom and in the wider world of education. Teaching critical thinking skills in the ESL classroom will benefit your students throughout their language-learning journey.

In more recent times, philosopher John Dewey made critical thinking one of the cornerstones of his educational philosophy. Nowadays, educators often quote critical thinking as the most important tool to sort out the barrage of information students are exposed to in our media-dominated world , to analyze situations and elaborate solutions. Teaching critical thinking skills is an integral part of teaching 21st-century skills .

Teaching Adults English

Table of Contents

What is critical thinking?

There are many definitions of critical thinking. They are not mutually exclusive but rather complementary. Some of the main ones are outlined below.

Dewey’s definition

In John Dewey’s educational theory, critical thinking examines the beliefs and preexisting knowledge that individuals use to assess situations and make decisions. If such beliefs and knowledge are faulty or unsupported, they will lead to faulty assessments and decision-making. In essence, Dewey advocated for a scientific mindset in approaching problem-solving .

Goal-directed thinking

Critical thinking is goal-directed. We question the underlying premises of our reflection process to ensure we arrive at the proper conclusions and decisions.

Critical thinking as a metacognitive process

According to Matthew Lipman, in Thinking in Education, “Reflective thinking is thinking that is aware of its own assumptions and implications as well as being conscious of the reasons and evidence that support this or that conclusion. (…) Reflective thinking is prepared to recognize the factors that make for bias, prejudice, and self-deception . It involves thinking about its procedures at the same time as it involves thinking about its subject matter” (Lipman, 2003).

Awareness of context

This is an important aspect of critical thinking. As stated by Diane Halpern in Thought and Knowledge: An Introduction to Critical Thinking , “[The critical] thinker is using skills that are thoughtful and effective for the particular context and type of thinking task” (Halpern, 1996)

What are the elements of critical thinking?

Several elements go into the process of critical thinking.

  • Identifying the problem. If critical thinking is viewed mainly as a goal-oriented activity, the first element is to identify the issue or problem one wants to solve. However, the critical thinking process can be triggered simply by observation of a phenomenon that attracts our attention and warrants an explanation.
  • Researching and gathering of information that is relevant to the object of inquiry. One should gather diverse information and examine contrasting points of view to achieve comprehensive knowledge on the given topic.
  • Evaluation of biases. What biases can we identify in the information that has been gathered in the research phase? But also, what biases do we, as learners, bring to the information-gathering process?
  • Inference. What conclusions can be derived by an examination of the information? Can we use our preexisting knowledge to help us draw conclusions?
  • Assessment of contrasting arguments on an issue. One looks at a wide range of opinions and evaluates their merits.
  • Decision-making. Decisions should be based on the above.

adult ESL students in person classroom

Why is critical thinking important in ESL teaching?

The teaching of critical thinking skills plays a pivotal role in language instruction. Consider the following:

Language is the primary vehicle for the expression of thought, and how we organize our thoughts is closely connected with the structure of our native language. Thus, critical thinking begins with reflecting on language. To help students understand how to effectively structure and express their thinking processes in English, ESL teachers need to incorporate critical thinking in English Language Teaching (ELT) in an inclusive and interesting way .

For ESL students to reach their personal, academic, or career goals, they need to become proficient in English and be able to think critically about issues that are important to them. Acquiring literacy in English goes hand in hand with developing the thinking skills necessary for students to progress in their personal and professional lives. Thus, teachers need to prioritize the teaching of critical thinking skills.

How do ESL students develop critical thinking skills?

IELTS teaching materials

Establishing an effective environment

The first step in assisting the development of critical thinking in language learning is to provide an environment in which students feel supported and willing to take risks. To express one’s thoughts in another language can be a considerable source of anxiety. Students often feel exposed and judged if they are not yet able to communicate effectively in English. Thus, the teacher should strive to minimize the “affective filter.” This concept, first introduced by Stephen Krashen, posits that students’ learning outcomes are strongly influenced by their state of mind. Students who feel nervous or anxious will be less open to learning. They will also be less willing to take the risks involved in actively participating in class activities for fear that this may expose their weaknesses.

One way to create such an environment and facilitate students’ expression is to scaffold language so students can concentrate more on the message/content and less on grammar/accuracy.

Applying context

As mentioned above, an important aspect of critical thinking is context. The information doesn’t exist in a vacuum but is always received and interpreted in a specific situational and cultural environment. Because English learners (ELs) come from diverse cultural and language backgrounds and don’t necessarily share the same background as their classmates and teacher, it is crucial for the teacher to provide a context for the information transmitted. Contextualization helps students to understand the message properly.

Asking questions

One of the best ways to stimulate critical thinking is to ask questions. According to Benjamin Bloom’s taxonomy ( Taxonomy of Educational Objectives , 1956), thinking skills are divided into lower-order and higher-order skills. Lower-order skills include knowledge, comprehension, and application; higher-order skills include analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. To stimulate critical thinking in ELT, teachers need to ask questions that address both levels of thinking processes. For additional information, read this article by the TESL Association of Ontario on developing critical thinking skills in the ESL classroom .

Watch the following clip from a BridgeUniverse Expert Series webinar to learn how to set measurable objectives based on Bloom’s Taxonomy ( watch the full webinar – and others! – here ):

How can we implement critical thinking skills in the ESL classroom?

Several activities can be used in the ESL classroom to foster critical thinking skills. Teaching critical thinking examples include:

Activities that scaffold language and facilitate students’ expression

These can be as basic as posting lists of important English function words like conjunctions, personal and demonstrative pronouns, question words, etc., in the classroom. Students can refer to these tables when they need help to express their thoughts in a less simplistic way or make explicit the logical relation between sentences (because… therefore; if… then; although… however, etc.). There are a variety of methods to introduce new vocabulary based on student age, proficiency level, and classroom experience.

Activities that encourage students to make connections between their preexisting knowledge of an issue and the new information presented

One such exercise consists of asking students to make predictions about what will happen in a story, a video, or any other context. Predictions activate the students’ preexisting knowledge and encourage them to link it with the new data, make inferences, and build hypotheses.

Critical thinking is only one of the 21st-century skills English students need to succeed. Explore all of Bridge’s 21st-Century Teaching Skills Micro-credential courses to modernize your classroom!

Change of perspective and contextualization activities.

Asking students to put themselves in someone else’s shoes is a challenging but fruitful practice that encourages them to understand and empathize with other perspectives. It creates a different cultural and emotional context or vantage point from which to consider an issue. It helps assess the merit of contrasting arguments and reach a more balanced conclusion.

One way of accomplishing this is to use a written text and ask students to rewrite it from another person’s perspective. This automatically leads students to adopt a different point of view and reflect on the context of the communication. Another is to use roleplay . This is possibly an even more effective activity. In role-play, actors tend to identify more intimately with their characters than in a written piece. There are other elements that go into acting, like body language, voice inflection, etc., and they all need to reflect the perspective of the other.

Collaborative activities

Activities that require students to collaborate also allow them to share and contrast their opinions with their peers and cooperate in problem-solving (which, after all, is one of the goals of critical thinking). Think/write-pair-share is one such activity. Students are asked to work out a problem by themselves and then share their conclusions with their peers. A collaborative approach to learning engages a variety of language skill sets, including conversational skills, problem-solving, and conflict resolution, as well as critical thinking.

In today’s educational and societal context, critical thinking has become an important tool for sorting out information, making decisions, and solving problems. Critical thinking in language learning and the ESL classroom helps students to structure and express their thoughts effectively. It is an essential skill to ensure students’ personal and professional success.

Take an in-depth look at incorporating critical thinking skills into the ESL classroom with the Bridge Micro-credential course in Promoting Critical Thinking Skills.

critical thinking activities english

Linda D'Argenio

Linda D'Argenio is a native of Naples, Italy. She is a world language teacher (English, Italian, and Mandarin Chinese,) translator, and writer. She has studied and worked in Italy, Germany, China, and the U.S. In 2003, Linda earned her doctoral degree in Classical Chinese Literature from Columbia University. She has taught students at both the school and college levels. Linda lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Thinking Outside the Blank: 8 Critical Thinking Activities for ESL Students

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11 Activities That Promote Critical Thinking In The Class

52 Critical Thinking Flashcards for Problem Solving

Critical thinking activities encourage individuals to analyze, evaluate, and synthesize information to develop informed opinions and make reasoned decisions. Engaging in such exercises cultivates intellectual agility, fostering a deeper understanding of complex issues and honing problem-solving skills for navigating an increasingly intricate world. Through critical thinking, individuals empower themselves to challenge assumptions, uncover biases, and constructively contribute to discourse, thereby enriching both personal growth and societal progress.

Critical thinking serves as the cornerstone of effective problem-solving, enabling individuals to dissect challenges, explore diverse perspectives, and devise innovative solutions grounded in logic and evidence. For engaging problem solving activities, read our article problem solving activities that enhance student’s interest.

What is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking is a 21st-century skill that enables a person to think rationally and logically in order to reach a plausible conclusion. A critical thinker assesses facts and figures and data objectively and determines what to believe and what not to believe. Critical thinking skills empower a person to decipher complex problems and make impartial and better decisions based on effective information.

More Articles from Educationise

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Critical thinking skills cultivate habits of mind such as strategic thinking, skepticism, discerning fallacy from the facts, asking good questions and probing deep into the issues to find the truth.

Importance of Acquiring Critical Thinking Skills

Acquiring critical thinking skills was never as valuable as it is today because of the prevalence of the modern knowledge economy. Today, information and technology are the driving forces behind the global economy. To keep pace with ever-changing technology and new inventions, one has to be flexible enough to embrace changes swiftly.

Read our article: How to Foster Critical Thinking Skills in Students? Creative Strategies and Real-World Examples

Today critical thinking skills are one of the most sought-after skills by the companies. In fact, critical thinking skills are paramount not only for active learning and academic achievement but also for the professional career of the students. The lack of critical thinking skills catalyzes memorization of the topics without a deeper insight, egocentrism, closed-mindedness, reduced student interest in the classroom and not being able to make timely and better decisions.

Benefits of Critical Thinking Skills in Education

Certain strategies are more eloquent than others in teaching students how to think critically. Encouraging critical thinking in the class is indispensable for the learning and growth of the students. In this way, we can raise a generation of innovators and thinkers rather than followers. Some of the benefits offered by thinking critically in the classroom are given below:

  • It allows a student to decipher problems and think through the situations in a disciplined and systematic manner
  • Through a critical thinking ability, a student can comprehend the logical correlation between distinct ideas
  • The student is able to rethink and re-justify his beliefs and ideas based on facts and figures
  • Critical thinking skills make the students curious about things around them
  • A student who is a critical thinker is creative and always strives to come up with out of the box solutions to intricate problems
  • Critical thinking skills assist in the enhanced student learning experience in the classroom and prepares the students for lifelong learning and success
  • The critical thinking process is the foundation of new discoveries and inventions in the world of science and technology
  • The ability to think critically allows the students to think intellectually and enhances their presentation skills, hence they can convey their ideas and thoughts in a logical and convincing manner
  • Critical thinking skills make students a terrific communicator because they have logical reasons behind their ideas

Critical Thinking Lessons and Activities

11 Activities that Promote Critical Thinking in the Class

We have compiled a list of 11 activities that will facilitate you to promote critical thinking abilities in the students. We have also covered problem solving activities that enhance student’s interest in our another article. Click here to read it.

1. Worst Case Scenario

Divide students into teams and introduce each team with a hypothetical challenging scenario. Allocate minimum resources and time to each team and ask them to reach a viable conclusion using those resources. The scenarios can include situations like stranded on an island or stuck in a forest. Students will come up with creative solutions to come out from the imaginary problematic situation they are encountering. Besides encouraging students to think critically, this activity will enhance teamwork, communication and problem-solving skills of the students.

Read our article: 10 Innovative Strategies for Promoting Critical Thinking in the Classroom

2. If You Build It

It is a very flexible game that allows students to think creatively. To start this activity, divide students into groups. Give each group a limited amount of resources such as pipe cleaners, blocks, and marshmallows etc. Every group is supposed to use these resources and construct a certain item such as building, tower or a bridge in a limited time. You can use a variety of materials in the classroom to challenge the students. This activity is helpful in promoting teamwork and creative skills among the students.

It is also one of the classics which can be used in the classroom to encourage critical thinking. Print pictures of objects, animals or concepts and start by telling a unique story about the printed picture. The next student is supposed to continue the story and pass the picture to the other student and so on.

4. Keeping it Real

In this activity, you can ask students to identify a real-world problem in their schools, community or city. After the problem is recognized, students should work in teams to come up with the best possible outcome of that problem.

5. Save the Egg

Make groups of three or four in the class. Ask them to drop an egg from a certain height and think of creative ideas to save the egg from breaking. Students can come up with diverse ideas to conserve the egg like a soft-landing material or any other device. Remember that this activity can get chaotic, so select the area in the school that can be cleaned easily afterward and where there are no chances of damaging the school property.

6. Start a Debate

In this activity, the teacher can act as a facilitator and spark an interesting conversation in the class on any given topic. Give a small introductory speech on an open-ended topic. The topic can be related to current affairs, technological development or a new discovery in the field of science. Encourage students to participate in the debate by expressing their views and ideas on the topic. Conclude the debate with a viable solution or fresh ideas generated during the activity through brainstorming.

7. Create and Invent

This project-based learning activity is best for teaching in the engineering class. Divide students into groups. Present a problem to the students and ask them to build a model or simulate a product using computer animations or graphics that will solve the problem. After students are done with building models, each group is supposed to explain their proposed product to the rest of the class. The primary objective of this activity is to promote creative thinking and problem-solving skills among the students.

8. Select from Alternatives

This activity can be used in computer science, engineering or any of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) classes. Introduce a variety of alternatives such as different formulas for solving the same problem, different computer codes, product designs or distinct explanations of the same topic.

Form groups in the class and ask them to select the best alternative. Each group will then explain its chosen alternative to the rest of the class with reasonable justification of its preference. During the process, the rest of the class can participate by asking questions from the group. This activity is very helpful in nurturing logical thinking and analytical skills among the students.

9. Reading and Critiquing

Present an article from a journal related to any topic that you are teaching. Ask the students to read the article critically and evaluate strengths and weaknesses in the article. Students can write about what they think about the article, any misleading statement or biases of the author and critique it by using their own judgments.

In this way, students can challenge the fallacies and rationality of judgments in the article. Hence, they can use their own thinking to come up with novel ideas pertaining to the topic.

10. Think Pair Share

In this activity, students will come up with their own questions. Make pairs or groups in the class and ask the students to discuss the questions together. The activity will be useful if the teacher gives students a topic on which the question should be based.

For example, if the teacher is teaching biology, the questions of the students can be based on reverse osmosis, human heart, respiratory system and so on. This activity drives student engagement and supports higher-order thinking skills among students.

11. Big Paper – Silent Conversation

Silence is a great way to slow down thinking and promote deep reflection on any subject. Present a driving question to the students and divide them into groups. The students will discuss the question with their teammates and brainstorm their ideas on a big paper. After reflection and discussion, students can write their findings in silence. This is a great learning activity for students who are introverts and love to ruminate silently rather than thinking aloud.

Finally, for students with critical thinking, you can go to GS-JJ.co m to customize exclusive rewards, which not only enlivens the classroom, but also promotes the development and training of students for critical thinking.

Read our next article: 10 Innovative Strategies for Promoting Critical Thinking in the Classroom

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Thanks for the great article! Especially with the post-pandemic learning gap, these critical thinking skills are essential! It’s also important to teach them a growth mindset. If you are interested in that, please check out The Teachers’ Blog!

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5 Critical Thinking Activities That Get Students Up and Moving

More movement means better learning.

Students engaged in critical thinking activities

It’s easy to resort to having kids be seated during most of the school day. But learning can (and should) be an active process. Incorporating movement into your instruction has incredible benefits—from deepening student understanding to improving concentration to enhancing performance. Check out these critical thinking activities, adapted from Critical Thinking in the Classroom , a book with over 100 practical tools and strategies for teaching critical thinking in K-12 classrooms.

Four Corners

In this activity, students move to a corner of the classroom based on their responses to a question with four answer choices. Once they’ve moved, they can break into smaller groups to explain their choices. Call on students to share to the entire group. If students are persuaded to a different answer, they can switch corners and further discuss. 

Question ideas:

  • Which president was most influential: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, or Abraham Lincoln?
  • Is Holden Caulfield a hero: Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, or Strongly Disagree?

Gallery Walk

This strategy encourages students to move around the classroom in groups to respond to questions, documents, images, or situations posted on chart paper. Each group gets a different colored marker to record their responses and a set amount of time at each station. When groups move, they can add their own ideas and/or respond to what prior groups have written.

Gallery ideas:

  • Political cartoons

Stations are a great way to chunk instruction and present information to the class without a “sit and get.” Group desks around the room or create centers, each with a different concept and task. There should be enough stations for three to five students to work for a set time before rotating.

Station ideas:

  • Types of rocks
  • Story elements
  • Literary genres

Silent Sticky-Note Storm

In this brainstorming activity, students gather in groups of three to five. Each group has a piece of chart paper with a question at the top and a stack of sticky notes. Working in silence, students record as many ideas or answers as possible, one answer per sticky note. When time is up, they post the sticky notes on the paper and then silently categorize them.

  • How can you exercise your First Amendment rights?
  • What are all the ways you can divide a square into eighths?

Mingle, Pair, Share

Take your Think, Pair, Share to the next level. Instead of having students turn and talk, invite them to stand and interact. Play music while they’re moving around the classroom. When the music stops, each student finds a partner. Pose a question and invite students to silently think about their answer. Then, partners take turns sharing their thoughts.

  • How do organisms modify their environments?
  • What is the theme of Romeo and Juliet ?

Looking for more critical thinking activities and ideas?

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Critical Thinking in the Classroom is a practitioner’s guide that shares the why and the how for building critical thinking skills in K-12 classrooms. It includes over 100 practical tools and strategies that you can try in your classroom tomorrow!

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5 Critical Thinking Activities That Get Students Up and Moving

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10 Minute Critical Thinking Activities for English Classes

Hannah wahlig.

Reach beyond the textbook to stimulate thinking in English classes.

Critical thinking activities engage students' logic, rationality and judgment in problem-solving inquiries. English classes benefit from critical thinking activities because the activities activate students' prior knowledge, encourage creative thinking and stress the importance of evidence-based problem solving. Ten-minute critical thinking lessons serve as engaging and thought-provoking opening assignments that tune students in to the day's lessons.

Explore this article

  • Logic Puzzles
  • Judge and Jury
  • Character Critique

1 Logic Puzzles

Simple logic puzzles require application of logic, reason and creativity to identify the correct answer. Riddles, brain teasers and logic games activate students' creative and critical minds and prepare them for a day of critical inquiry. Write a few brain teasers on the board; students immediately sit and begin to write down their answers. Sample brain teasers might include, "Do they have a Fourth of July in England?", "What is boiled then cooled before being sweetened and soured?" or "How many books can you put in an empty bag?" Include more difficult brain teasers for older students and simpler puzzles for younger students. Invite students to share and debate their answers before revealing the correct answer. See Resource 1 for a comprehensive list of brain teasers and logic puzzles.

2 Judge and Jury

Evaluation, analysis and judgment are all critical thinking skills that are particularly useful in an English classroom that requires close reading and analytical writing. Invite students to introduce to the class perceived injustices occurring in their school. Students may feel angry over a new dress code, a shortened lunch period or a new discipline policy. The student gives a one-minute summary of the problem and then has two minutes to prepare his best arguments against the infraction. Another student serves as a challenger and has two minutes to prepare her best arguments in support of the policy. The students each have one minute to present arguments. The class then votes on which student presented the best argument. If time permits, allow students to discuss why one set of arguments was more appealing than the other. The student debater who wins the class over receives a prize, such as extra points on an assignment.

3 Character Critique

Draw from the material used in the classroom to craft opening assignments that stimulate critical thinking. Select a character from the current text and ask students a series of analytical or self-reflective questions about the character. You might ask, "If this character were a student in our classroom, would you want to sit near her? Why or why not?" or "Would this character make a good friend? Partner? Parent? Why or why not?" Questions should require students to evaluate the characteristics of the character and apply them to real-life situations or contexts beyond the context of the book. Students share and debate their responses with the class.

About the Author

Hannah Wahlig began writing and editing professionally in 2001. Her experience includes copy for newspapers, journals and magazines, as well as book editing. She is also a certified lactation counselor. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mount Holyoke College, and Master's degrees in education and community psychology from the University of Massachusetts.

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Future Focused Learning

10 Great Critical Thinking Activities That Engage Your Learners

How can learners own their learning with critical thinking activities they’ll really love? Allowing our learners to take stands on issues that matter to them engages the classroom in a way that fosters great critical thinking.

Who? What? Why? When? Where? How? When they can relate these questions to themselves and exercise personal self-reflection, we build community and “heart-centered” learning.

Let’s get to the critical thinking skills that really matter. Here are some amazing critical thinking activities that you can do with your learners.

(These activities are originally from www.facinghistory.org but they are no longer available online. We present their outlines here for you to expand upon in your own creative ways.)

10 Great Critical Thinking Activities

Attribute linking—building community by taking perspectives.

Learners pair up according to similar physical attributes determined by the facilitator. These include hair color, eye color, hand size, and height. For each attribute, learners discuss times when they were discriminated against because of it. They then take on the roles of victim, perpetrator, or bystander and discuss.

Barometer—Taking a Stand on Controversial Issues

When posed with a thought-provoking prompt, learners line themselves up along a U-shaped continuum representing where they stand on that issue. The sides of the U are opposite extremes, with the middle being neutral. The teacher starts a discussion by giving equal opportunity for individuals in each area of the continuum to speak about their stand. The learners use “I” statements when stating their opinion.

Big Paper—Building a Silent Conversation

Writing (or drawing) and silence are used as tools to slow down thinking and allow for silent reflection, unfiltered. By using silence and writing, learners can focus on other viewpoints. This activity uses a driving question, markers, and Big Paper (poster-sized is best). Learners work in pairs or threes to have a conversation on the Big Paper.

Learners can write at will, but it must be done in silence after a reflection on the driving question. This strategy is great for introverts and provides a ready-made visual record of thought for later.

Body Sculpting—Using Theatre to Explore Important Ideas

Learners are given time to consider their feelings on a thought-provoking abstract or concrete image. Next, they come up with words that describe their reactions—trapped, free, angry, joyful, etc. They are then paired up and one person is the sculptor, while the other is the “clay.” The sculptor poses the clay into a form that artfully displays the word they wish to portray. Here are some guidelines:

Sculptors can either physically mold the “clay” or act as a mirror for them to show the “clay” the position/image they want.

Images can be concrete or abstract.

Sculptors must treat their clay with gentleness and respect (very important!).

There are no wrong answers; whatever image you get is fine.

All body sculpting must be done in silence.

Café Conversations

Understanding different viewpoints is a great way to delve deeply into a topic. 5 to 10 learners are given character sheets. These might include gender, age, family status (married, single, how many children, etc.), occupation, education level and significant life events. The group is also given a historical event or similar topic.

Learners can create identity charts in collaboration with each other to determine their character’s viewpoint. When they can adequately represent their character, what follows is a “cafe conversation.” Don’t forget to go over guidelines on how to respectfully disagree! Allow at least 20 minutes for a conversation.

Other Critical Thinking Activities

Jigsaw—Developing Community and Disseminating Knowledge: Learners take on the role of “experts” or “specialists” of a particular topic. Then a panel of experts is assembled to get the larger picture.

K-W-L Charts—Assessing What We Know/What We Still Want to Learn: Charts to document “What I Know” and “What I Want to Know” and after learning has occurred, “What I Learned.”

Think, Pair, Share—Facilitating Discussions in Small and Large Groups: A classic tool to guide learners in relevant and meaningful discussion, and to build community.

Town Hall Circle: Like a real town meeting, individual learners are “given the floor” and a time limit to express their views.

Reader’s Theater: In groups, create a dramatic script based on the ideas within a given text. Do not script word for word. The idea is to get off the page and represent the idea in the learner’s own words.

Get Learners’ Brains Active

Critical thinking exercises like the ones we shared here play a crucial role in fostering intellectual growth and preparing learners for the complexities of the modern world. Through group discussions, debates, and problem-solving tasks, learners are encouraged to question assumptions, examine multiple perspectives, and seek evidence-based solutions.

Allowing learners room to think deeply and discuss openly during critical thinking activities is the key to them taking true responsibility for the learning. Through these kinds of activities, we foster real thinkers and life-long learners. 

critical thinking activities english

Author and keynote speaker, Lee works with governments, education systems, international agencies and corporations to help people and organisations connect to their higher purpose. Lee lives in Japan where he studies Zen and the Shakuhachi.

The Growth Mindset Choice: 10 Fixed Mindset Examples We Can Change

7 critical thinking barriers and how to overcome them.

Critical Thinking Exercises

  • Writing Research Papers
  • Writing Essays
  • English Grammar
  • M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
  • B.A., History, Armstrong State University

Critical thinking is a skill that students develop gradually as they progress in school. While the skill becomes more important in higher grades, some students find it difficult to understand the concept of critical thinking .

The reason critical thinking can be difficult to grasp is because it requires students to set aside assumptions and beliefs to learn to think without bias or judgment.

Critical thinking involves suspending your beliefs to explore and question topics from a "blank page" point of view. It also involves the ability to distinguish fact from opinion when exploring a topic.

These exercises are designed to help develop critical thinking skills.

Critical Thinking Exercise 1: Tour Guide for an Alien

This exercise provides an opportunity to think outside your normal way of thinking.

Pretend that you have been assigned the task of conducting a tour for aliens who are visiting the earth and observing human life. You're riding along in a blimp, viewing the landscape below, and you float over a professional baseball stadium. One of the aliens looks down and is very confused by what he sees. You explain that there is a game going on and he asks several important questions.

  • What is a game? 
  • Why are there no female players?
  • Why do people get so excited about watching other people play games?
  • What is a team?
  • Why can't the people in the seats go down on the field and join in?

If you try to answer these questions fully, it will quickly become apparent that we carry around certain assumptions and values. We support a certain team, for instance, because it makes us feel like we're a part of a community. This sense of community is a value that matters to some people more than others.

Furthermore, when trying to explain team sports to an alien, you have to explain the value we place on winning and losing.

When you think like an alien tour guide, you are forced to take a deeper look at the things we do and things we value. Sometimes they don't sound logical from the outside looking in.


Improve your critical thinking.

critical thinking activities english

Level: Advanced (C1-C2)

Type of English: General English

Tags: education, teaching, and learning ethics and conduct Celebrities and historical figures behaviour, feelings and emotions beliefs, religion and superstition challenges psychology society and change Video talk

Publication date: 30/05/2021

This lesson focuses on a video looking at the Socratic Method of questioning and ends in an opportunity for students to analyse their own beliefs using that method. Students need to be of a very advanced level to deal with this material and think quickly. Exercises focus on related vocabulary, rephrasing and comprehension.

by Joe Wilson

Linguahouse.com is in no way affiliated with, authorized, maintained, sponsored or endorsed by TED Conferences LLC.

It’s a great lesson but I’m really disappointed that you include a question about Nazis. Many of my students are German and it’s a subject that should never be discussed in my opinion. My student today was quite upset by this.

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This lesson focuses on a video looking at the Socratic Method of questioning and ends in an opportunity for students to analyze their own beliefs using that method. Students need to be of a very advanced level to deal with this material and think quickly. Exercises focus on related vocabulary, rephrasing, and comprehension.

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Classroom Q&A

With larry ferlazzo.

In this EdWeek blog, an experiment in knowledge-gathering, Ferlazzo will address readers’ questions on classroom management, ELL instruction, lesson planning, and other issues facing teachers. Send your questions to [email protected]. Read more from this blog.

Eight Instructional Strategies for Promoting Critical Thinking

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(This is the first post in a three-part series.)

The new question-of-the-week is:

What is critical thinking and how can we integrate it into the classroom?

This three-part series will explore what critical thinking is, if it can be specifically taught and, if so, how can teachers do so in their classrooms.

Today’s guests are Dara Laws Savage, Patrick Brown, Meg Riordan, Ph.D., and Dr. PJ Caposey. Dara, Patrick, and Meg were also guests on my 10-minute BAM! Radio Show . You can also find a list of, and links to, previous shows here.

You might also be interested in The Best Resources On Teaching & Learning Critical Thinking In The Classroom .

Current Events

Dara Laws Savage is an English teacher at the Early College High School at Delaware State University, where she serves as a teacher and instructional coach and lead mentor. Dara has been teaching for 25 years (career preparation, English, photography, yearbook, newspaper, and graphic design) and has presented nationally on project-based learning and technology integration:

There is so much going on right now and there is an overload of information for us to process. Did you ever stop to think how our students are processing current events? They see news feeds, hear news reports, and scan photos and posts, but are they truly thinking about what they are hearing and seeing?

I tell my students that my job is not to give them answers but to teach them how to think about what they read and hear. So what is critical thinking and how can we integrate it into the classroom? There are just as many definitions of critical thinking as there are people trying to define it. However, the Critical Think Consortium focuses on the tools to create a thinking-based classroom rather than a definition: “Shape the climate to support thinking, create opportunities for thinking, build capacity to think, provide guidance to inform thinking.” Using these four criteria and pairing them with current events, teachers easily create learning spaces that thrive on thinking and keep students engaged.

One successful technique I use is the FIRE Write. Students are given a quote, a paragraph, an excerpt, or a photo from the headlines. Students are asked to F ocus and respond to the selection for three minutes. Next, students are asked to I dentify a phrase or section of the photo and write for two minutes. Third, students are asked to R eframe their response around a specific word, phrase, or section within their previous selection. Finally, students E xchange their thoughts with a classmate. Within the exchange, students also talk about how the selection connects to what we are covering in class.

There was a controversial Pepsi ad in 2017 involving Kylie Jenner and a protest with a police presence. The imagery in the photo was strikingly similar to a photo that went viral with a young lady standing opposite a police line. Using that image from a current event engaged my students and gave them the opportunity to critically think about events of the time.

Here are the two photos and a student response:

F - Focus on both photos and respond for three minutes

In the first picture, you see a strong and courageous black female, bravely standing in front of two officers in protest. She is risking her life to do so. Iesha Evans is simply proving to the world she does NOT mean less because she is black … and yet officers are there to stop her. She did not step down. In the picture below, you see Kendall Jenner handing a police officer a Pepsi. Maybe this wouldn’t be a big deal, except this was Pepsi’s weak, pathetic, and outrageous excuse of a commercial that belittles the whole movement of people fighting for their lives.

I - Identify a word or phrase, underline it, then write about it for two minutes

A white, privileged female in place of a fighting black woman was asking for trouble. A struggle we are continuously fighting every day, and they make a mockery of it. “I know what will work! Here Mr. Police Officer! Drink some Pepsi!” As if. Pepsi made a fool of themselves, and now their already dwindling fan base continues to ever shrink smaller.

R - Reframe your thoughts by choosing a different word, then write about that for one minute

You don’t know privilege until it’s gone. You don’t know privilege while it’s there—but you can and will be made accountable and aware. Don’t use it for evil. You are not stupid. Use it to do something. Kendall could’ve NOT done the commercial. Kendall could’ve released another commercial standing behind a black woman. Anything!

Exchange - Remember to discuss how this connects to our school song project and our previous discussions?

This connects two ways - 1) We want to convey a strong message. Be powerful. Show who we are. And Pepsi definitely tried. … Which leads to the second connection. 2) Not mess up and offend anyone, as had the one alma mater had been linked to black minstrels. We want to be amazing, but we have to be smart and careful and make sure we include everyone who goes to our school and everyone who may go to our school.

As a final step, students read and annotate the full article and compare it to their initial response.

Using current events and critical-thinking strategies like FIRE writing helps create a learning space where thinking is the goal rather than a score on a multiple-choice assessment. Critical-thinking skills can cross over to any of students’ other courses and into life outside the classroom. After all, we as teachers want to help the whole student be successful, and critical thinking is an important part of navigating life after they leave our classrooms.



Patrick Brown is the executive director of STEM and CTE for the Fort Zumwalt school district in Missouri and an experienced educator and author :

Planning for critical thinking focuses on teaching the most crucial science concepts, practices, and logical-thinking skills as well as the best use of instructional time. One way to ensure that lessons maintain a focus on critical thinking is to focus on the instructional sequence used to teach.

Explore-before-explain teaching is all about promoting critical thinking for learners to better prepare students for the reality of their world. What having an explore-before-explain mindset means is that in our planning, we prioritize giving students firsthand experiences with data, allow students to construct evidence-based claims that focus on conceptual understanding, and challenge students to discuss and think about the why behind phenomena.

Just think of the critical thinking that has to occur for students to construct a scientific claim. 1) They need the opportunity to collect data, analyze it, and determine how to make sense of what the data may mean. 2) With data in hand, students can begin thinking about the validity and reliability of their experience and information collected. 3) They can consider what differences, if any, they might have if they completed the investigation again. 4) They can scrutinize outlying data points for they may be an artifact of a true difference that merits further exploration of a misstep in the procedure, measuring device, or measurement. All of these intellectual activities help them form more robust understanding and are evidence of their critical thinking.

In explore-before-explain teaching, all of these hard critical-thinking tasks come before teacher explanations of content. Whether we use discovery experiences, problem-based learning, and or inquiry-based activities, strategies that are geared toward helping students construct understanding promote critical thinking because students learn content by doing the practices valued in the field to generate knowledge.


An Issue of Equity

Meg Riordan, Ph.D., is the chief learning officer at The Possible Project, an out-of-school program that collaborates with youth to build entrepreneurial skills and mindsets and provides pathways to careers and long-term economic prosperity. She has been in the field of education for over 25 years as a middle and high school teacher, school coach, college professor, regional director of N.Y.C. Outward Bound Schools, and director of external research with EL Education:

Although critical thinking often defies straightforward definition, most in the education field agree it consists of several components: reasoning, problem-solving, and decisionmaking, plus analysis and evaluation of information, such that multiple sides of an issue can be explored. It also includes dispositions and “the willingness to apply critical-thinking principles, rather than fall back on existing unexamined beliefs, or simply believe what you’re told by authority figures.”

Despite variation in definitions, critical thinking is nonetheless promoted as an essential outcome of students’ learning—we want to see students and adults demonstrate it across all fields, professions, and in their personal lives. Yet there is simultaneously a rationing of opportunities in schools for students of color, students from under-resourced communities, and other historically marginalized groups to deeply learn and practice critical thinking.

For example, many of our most underserved students often spend class time filling out worksheets, promoting high compliance but low engagement, inquiry, critical thinking, or creation of new ideas. At a time in our world when college and careers are critical for participation in society and the global, knowledge-based economy, far too many students struggle within classrooms and schools that reinforce low-expectations and inequity.

If educators aim to prepare all students for an ever-evolving marketplace and develop skills that will be valued no matter what tomorrow’s jobs are, then we must move critical thinking to the forefront of classroom experiences. And educators must design learning to cultivate it.

So, what does that really look like?

Unpack and define critical thinking

To understand critical thinking, educators need to first unpack and define its components. What exactly are we looking for when we speak about reasoning or exploring multiple perspectives on an issue? How does problem-solving show up in English, math, science, art, or other disciplines—and how is it assessed? At Two Rivers, an EL Education school, the faculty identified five constructs of critical thinking, defined each, and created rubrics to generate a shared picture of quality for teachers and students. The rubrics were then adapted across grade levels to indicate students’ learning progressions.

At Avenues World School, critical thinking is one of the Avenues World Elements and is an enduring outcome embedded in students’ early experiences through 12th grade. For instance, a kindergarten student may be expected to “identify cause and effect in familiar contexts,” while an 8th grader should demonstrate the ability to “seek out sufficient evidence before accepting a claim as true,” “identify bias in claims and evidence,” and “reconsider strongly held points of view in light of new evidence.”

When faculty and students embrace a common vision of what critical thinking looks and sounds like and how it is assessed, educators can then explicitly design learning experiences that call for students to employ critical-thinking skills. This kind of work must occur across all schools and programs, especially those serving large numbers of students of color. As Linda Darling-Hammond asserts , “Schools that serve large numbers of students of color are least likely to offer the kind of curriculum needed to ... help students attain the [critical-thinking] skills needed in a knowledge work economy. ”

So, what can it look like to create those kinds of learning experiences?

Designing experiences for critical thinking

After defining a shared understanding of “what” critical thinking is and “how” it shows up across multiple disciplines and grade levels, it is essential to create learning experiences that impel students to cultivate, practice, and apply these skills. There are several levers that offer pathways for teachers to promote critical thinking in lessons:

1.Choose Compelling Topics: Keep it relevant

A key Common Core State Standard asks for students to “write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.” That might not sound exciting or culturally relevant. But a learning experience designed for a 12th grade humanities class engaged learners in a compelling topic— policing in America —to analyze and evaluate multiple texts (including primary sources) and share the reasoning for their perspectives through discussion and writing. Students grappled with ideas and their beliefs and employed deep critical-thinking skills to develop arguments for their claims. Embedding critical-thinking skills in curriculum that students care about and connect with can ignite powerful learning experiences.

2. Make Local Connections: Keep it real

At The Possible Project , an out-of-school-time program designed to promote entrepreneurial skills and mindsets, students in a recent summer online program (modified from in-person due to COVID-19) explored the impact of COVID-19 on their communities and local BIPOC-owned businesses. They learned interviewing skills through a partnership with Everyday Boston , conducted virtual interviews with entrepreneurs, evaluated information from their interviews and local data, and examined their previously held beliefs. They created blog posts and videos to reflect on their learning and consider how their mindsets had changed as a result of the experience. In this way, we can design powerful community-based learning and invite students into productive struggle with multiple perspectives.

3. Create Authentic Projects: Keep it rigorous

At Big Picture Learning schools, students engage in internship-based learning experiences as a central part of their schooling. Their school-based adviser and internship-based mentor support them in developing real-world projects that promote deeper learning and critical-thinking skills. Such authentic experiences teach “young people to be thinkers, to be curious, to get from curiosity to creation … and it helps students design a learning experience that answers their questions, [providing an] opportunity to communicate it to a larger audience—a major indicator of postsecondary success.” Even in a remote environment, we can design projects that ask more of students than rote memorization and that spark critical thinking.

Our call to action is this: As educators, we need to make opportunities for critical thinking available not only to the affluent or those fortunate enough to be placed in advanced courses. The tools are available, let’s use them. Let’s interrogate our current curriculum and design learning experiences that engage all students in real, relevant, and rigorous experiences that require critical thinking and prepare them for promising postsecondary pathways.


Critical Thinking & Student Engagement

Dr. PJ Caposey is an award-winning educator, keynote speaker, consultant, and author of seven books who currently serves as the superintendent of schools for the award-winning Meridian CUSD 223 in northwest Illinois. You can find PJ on most social-media platforms as MCUSDSupe:

When I start my keynote on student engagement, I invite two people up on stage and give them each five paper balls to shoot at a garbage can also conveniently placed on stage. Contestant One shoots their shot, and the audience gives approval. Four out of 5 is a heckuva score. Then just before Contestant Two shoots, I blindfold them and start moving the garbage can back and forth. I usually try to ensure that they can at least make one of their shots. Nobody is successful in this unfair environment.

I thank them and send them back to their seats and then explain that this little activity was akin to student engagement. While we all know we want student engagement, we are shooting at different targets. More importantly, for teachers, it is near impossible for them to hit a target that is moving and that they cannot see.

Within the world of education and particularly as educational leaders, we have failed to simplify what student engagement looks like, and it is impossible to define or articulate what student engagement looks like if we cannot clearly articulate what critical thinking is and looks like in a classroom. Because, simply, without critical thought, there is no engagement.

The good news here is that critical thought has been defined and placed into taxonomies for decades already. This is not something new and not something that needs to be redefined. I am a Bloom’s person, but there is nothing wrong with DOK or some of the other taxonomies, either. To be precise, I am a huge fan of Daggett’s Rigor and Relevance Framework. I have used that as a core element of my practice for years, and it has shaped who I am as an instructional leader.

So, in order to explain critical thought, a teacher or a leader must familiarize themselves with these tried and true taxonomies. Easy, right? Yes, sort of. The issue is not understanding what critical thought is; it is the ability to integrate it into the classrooms. In order to do so, there are a four key steps every educator must take.

  • Integrating critical thought/rigor into a lesson does not happen by chance, it happens by design. Planning for critical thought and engagement is much different from planning for a traditional lesson. In order to plan for kids to think critically, you have to provide a base of knowledge and excellent prompts to allow them to explore their own thinking in order to analyze, evaluate, or synthesize information.
  • SIDE NOTE – Bloom’s verbs are a great way to start when writing objectives, but true planning will take you deeper than this.


  • If the questions and prompts given in a classroom have correct answers or if the teacher ends up answering their own questions, the lesson will lack critical thought and rigor.
  • Script five questions forcing higher-order thought prior to every lesson. Experienced teachers may not feel they need this, but it helps to create an effective habit.
  • If lessons are rigorous and assessments are not, students will do well on their assessments, and that may not be an accurate representation of the knowledge and skills they have mastered. If lessons are easy and assessments are rigorous, the exact opposite will happen. When deciding to increase critical thought, it must happen in all three phases of the game: planning, instruction, and assessment.


  • To increase rigor, the teacher must DO LESS. This feels counterintuitive but is accurate. Rigorous lessons involving tons of critical thought must allow for students to work on their own, collaborate with peers, and connect their ideas. This cannot happen in a silent room except for the teacher talking. In order to increase rigor, decrease talk time and become comfortable with less control. Asking questions and giving prompts that lead to no true correct answer also means less control. This is a tough ask for some teachers. Explained differently, if you assign one assignment and get 30 very similar products, you have most likely assigned a low-rigor recipe. If you assign one assignment and get multiple varied products, then the students have had a chance to think deeply, and you have successfully integrated critical thought into your classroom.


Thanks to Dara, Patrick, Meg, and PJ for their contributions!

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You can also contact me on Twitter at @Larryferlazzo .

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Critical thinking puzzles for adults (with answers)

critical thinking puzzles

Critical thinking can help to better navigate the information-dense and complex world we live in. By thinking critically we can better identify priorities, take a sensible approach to problem-solving and reach conclusions logically in line with evidence. Puzzles are an excellent way both to learn and practice critical thinking skills.

If you’d like to learn more about critical thinking or simply practice your skills with some puzzles, then this is the article for you. Read a little bit more about critical thinking skills and how to apply them first, or just skip straight to the puzzles and see how you get on.

What is critical thinking?

Critical thinking is a broad approach to problem solving and analysis based on logic and evidence. It brings together a wide range of intellectual competences and the ability to combine and cross-reference them. Some of the most important elements of a critical thinking approach include:

Analytical skills:

  • understanding of questions and concepts
  • differentiation of relevant / irrelevant evidence and information
  • identification of similarities, connections and differences
  • use of metaphors or analogies to communicate ideas

Powers of inference:

  • extraction of meaning from data using inductive or deductive reasoning
  • extrapolation of data or abstraction into concepts and patterns
  • correct identification and deployment of analogies and assumptions
  • grasp of causal relationships, allowing development of conclusions and theories.

Data and theory evaluation:

  • assessment of how strong, important or credible a theory might be
  • taking on board new data and new arguments which alter understanding of ideas and theory

Rational decision-making:

– application of all the skills and competences above in order to come to a rational conclusion.

Problem-solving attitude: In addition to being able to think critically, you must also be personally inclined to think critically when facing a difficult or complex challenge. Developing qualities including curiosity and fairness, while distancing yourself from ideologies and group-think, should all help to create the kind of psychological landscape where critical thinking can flourish.

How can I learn critical thinking?

Critical thinking skills are hard to develop from only reading books or listening to lectures. The most effective way to sharpen and deepen critical thinking faculties is to practice critical thinking . Critical thinking puzzles offer a fun way to learn and the eight critical thinking puzzles we’ve chosen for this article should help you make a good start.

critical thinking activities english

The aMAZEing PuzzleBox

Level 7 sequential discovery puzzle box​

Made from original LEGO® bricks​

Find the  GOLDEN BAR  to complete the challenge


Eight critical thinking puzzles – with answers

Puzzle 1 – letter puzzles.

What common feature do the following words share?

Answer: All of these words begin with a vowel. This type of puzzle may send your mind off in the wrong direction, thinking about the objects or concepts described by the words, and the properties they might share. In fact, the solution lies in a far more simple consideration of the alphabet. Puzzle 1 is a simple example of a common type of letter or word puzzle.

Puzzle 2 – Commonalities and differences

What do the following items have in common and which is the odd one out?

Orange Juice

Answer: These items are all liquids and the odd one out is petrol, since all the others are drinkable liquids.

Puzzle 3 – Falling on his feet

A man who lives in a high-rise building decides to exit through the window one morning rather than using the door. Somehow he survives the fall without a scratch and walks away to work. How did this happen?

Answer: The man lived on the ground or first floor and merely stepped or jumped down to the pavement outside. By stating early on that the building in question was a high-rise building, it’s easy for someone reading quickly to assume that the man jumped from a window on a high store but this it s not necessarily the case.

Puzzle 4 – Walk this way

A group of five people enter a windowless meeting room together. An hour later when the meeting ends, four walk out of the door, leaving the room empty. What has happened to the fifth member of the group?

Answer: The fifth person was in a wheelchair and wheeled out of the room rather than walked. Solving this puzzle requires you to think laterally about the question and the possible solutions. The answer can be found by asking yourself whether the emphasis of the question is on the emptiness of the room or the means by which the other four people left.

Puzzle 5 – Shapes and symbols

When lying on my side, I am everything, but when cut in half, I am nothing. What am I?

Answer: The number 8. This puzzle requires that you think about a shape being repositioned or cut in a way that can change it to “everything” or “nothing”. Number 8 on its side is the mathematical symbol for infinity (i.e. everything) and also shaped like two small number 0s put together.

Puzzle 6 – Three hard options

The hero is escaping the lair of an evil super-villain and is faced with three possible exits:

  • Door A leads into a pit of bubbling lava
  • Door B leads to a room housing a deadly hitman
  • Door C leads to the den full of lions that haven’t had a meal for a year.

Which door should the hero choose?

Answer: Door C. If the lion hasn’t eaten in a year, it will definitely be dead by now. This type of puzzle requires you to consider the full implications of the information given, rather than being drawn into a comparison of the relative dangers of lava, hitmen and lions…

Puzzle 7 – The bus driver’s eyes

You are a bus driver. Today the bus is empty at the start of your route but at the first stop, four people get onto the bus. Eight people get on at the second stop, while three alight. When the bus reaches the third stop, one more gets off, and three get on.

At the fourth stop, two people get off the bus and one gets on. The bus is traveling at an average speed of 30mph and its tires are new.  What color are the bus driver’s eyes?

Answer: You are the bus driver so the color will be the color of your own eyes. This type of puzzle tries to confuse you and obscure the single piece of relevant information by presenting large quantities of irrelevant information.

Puzzle 8 – Losing weight

A man walks into a room, closes the doors behind him and presses a button. In a matter of seconds the man is 20lb lighter. Despite this, he leaves the room at the same weight he entered it.

Answer: The room in question is actually an elevator. When the man gets in and presses the button, the elevator moves downwards with an acceleration that reduces the effect of gravity and makes the man temporarily 20lb lighter. Once the lift stops moving, the man’s weight is subject to normal gravity, just the same as before. Solving this puzzle requires a small piece of general physics knowledge.

A final word…

We hope you’ve enjoyed our critical thinking puzzles for adults and that your critical thinking skills are feeling refreshed and sharpened after reading our article. Whether at school, in the workplace, or in general life, critical thinking can be a valuable tool for success and anyone can learn to use it.

Get more critical thinking puzzles on our Youtube channel:

20 Challenging Lateral Thinking Puzzles That Are Harder Than They Seem

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Critical Thinking: A Simple Guide and Why It’s Important

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Critical Thinking: A Simple Guide and Why It’s Important was originally published on Ivy Exec .

Strong critical thinking skills are crucial for career success, regardless of educational background. It embodies the ability to engage in astute and effective decision-making, lending invaluable dimensions to professional growth.

At its essence, critical thinking is the ability to analyze, evaluate, and synthesize information in a logical and reasoned manner. It’s not merely about accumulating knowledge but harnessing it effectively to make informed decisions and solve complex problems. In the dynamic landscape of modern careers, honing this skill is paramount.

The Impact of Critical Thinking on Your Career

☑ problem-solving mastery.

Visualize critical thinking as the Sherlock Holmes of your career journey. It facilitates swift problem resolution akin to a detective unraveling a mystery. By methodically analyzing situations and deconstructing complexities, critical thinkers emerge as adept problem solvers, rendering them invaluable assets in the workplace.

☑ Refined Decision-Making

Navigating dilemmas in your career path resembles traversing uncertain terrain. Critical thinking acts as a dependable GPS, steering you toward informed decisions. It involves weighing options, evaluating potential outcomes, and confidently choosing the most favorable path forward.

☑ Enhanced Teamwork Dynamics

Within collaborative settings, critical thinkers stand out as proactive contributors. They engage in scrutinizing ideas, proposing enhancements, and fostering meaningful contributions. Consequently, the team evolves into a dynamic hub of ideas, with the critical thinker recognized as the architect behind its success.

☑ Communication Prowess

Effective communication is the cornerstone of professional interactions. Critical thinking enriches communication skills, enabling the clear and logical articulation of ideas. Whether in emails, presentations, or casual conversations, individuals adept in critical thinking exude clarity, earning appreciation for their ability to convey thoughts seamlessly.

☑ Adaptability and Resilience

Perceptive individuals adept in critical thinking display resilience in the face of unforeseen challenges. Instead of succumbing to panic, they assess situations, recalibrate their approaches, and persist in moving forward despite adversity.

☑ Fostering Innovation

Innovation is the lifeblood of progressive organizations, and critical thinking serves as its catalyst. Proficient critical thinkers possess the ability to identify overlooked opportunities, propose inventive solutions, and streamline processes, thereby positioning their organizations at the forefront of innovation.

☑ Confidence Amplification

Critical thinkers exude confidence derived from honing their analytical skills. This self-assurance radiates during job interviews, presentations, and daily interactions, catching the attention of superiors and propelling career advancement.

So, how can one cultivate and harness this invaluable skill?

✅ developing curiosity and inquisitiveness:.

Embrace a curious mindset by questioning the status quo and exploring topics beyond your immediate scope. Cultivate an inquisitive approach to everyday situations. Encourage a habit of asking “why” and “how” to deepen understanding. Curiosity fuels the desire to seek information and alternative perspectives.

✅ Practice Reflection and Self-Awareness:

Engage in reflective thinking by assessing your thoughts, actions, and decisions. Regularly introspect to understand your biases, assumptions, and cognitive processes. Cultivate self-awareness to recognize personal prejudices or cognitive biases that might influence your thinking. This allows for a more objective analysis of situations.

✅ Strengthening Analytical Skills:

Practice breaking down complex problems into manageable components. Analyze each part systematically to understand the whole picture. Develop skills in data analysis, statistics, and logical reasoning. This includes understanding correlation versus causation, interpreting graphs, and evaluating statistical significance.

✅ Engaging in Active Listening and Observation:

Actively listen to diverse viewpoints without immediately forming judgments. Allow others to express their ideas fully before responding. Observe situations attentively, noticing details that others might overlook. This habit enhances your ability to analyze problems more comprehensively.

✅ Encouraging Intellectual Humility and Open-Mindedness:

Foster intellectual humility by acknowledging that you don’t know everything. Be open to learning from others, regardless of their position or expertise. Cultivate open-mindedness by actively seeking out perspectives different from your own. Engage in discussions with people holding diverse opinions to broaden your understanding.

✅ Practicing Problem-Solving and Decision-Making:

Engage in regular problem-solving exercises that challenge you to think creatively and analytically. This can include puzzles, riddles, or real-world scenarios. When making decisions, consciously evaluate available information, consider various alternatives, and anticipate potential outcomes before reaching a conclusion.

✅ Continuous Learning and Exposure to Varied Content:

Read extensively across diverse subjects and formats, exposing yourself to different viewpoints, cultures, and ways of thinking. Engage in courses, workshops, or seminars that stimulate critical thinking skills. Seek out opportunities for learning that challenge your existing beliefs.

✅ Engage in Constructive Disagreement and Debate:

Encourage healthy debates and discussions where differing opinions are respectfully debated.

This practice fosters the ability to defend your viewpoints logically while also being open to changing your perspective based on valid arguments. Embrace disagreement as an opportunity to learn rather than a conflict to win. Engaging in constructive debate sharpens your ability to evaluate and counter-arguments effectively.

✅ Utilize Problem-Based Learning and Real-World Applications:

Engage in problem-based learning activities that simulate real-world challenges. Work on projects or scenarios that require critical thinking skills to develop practical problem-solving approaches. Apply critical thinking in real-life situations whenever possible.

This could involve analyzing news articles, evaluating product reviews, or dissecting marketing strategies to understand their underlying rationale.

In conclusion, critical thinking is the linchpin of a successful career journey. It empowers individuals to navigate complexities, make informed decisions, and innovate in their respective domains. Embracing and honing this skill isn’t just an advantage; it’s a necessity in a world where adaptability and sound judgment reign supreme.

So, as you traverse your career path, remember that the ability to think critically is not just an asset but the differentiator that propels you toward excellence.

Tynker Blog

Fun Coding Lessons for Kids: Spark Creativity & Logic Skills

critical thinking activities english

Lomit Patel

Best coding for kids apps: fun ways to learn programming.

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critical thinking activities english

Listen up, tech-loving parents and kids who can’t get enough of the digital world! We have an adventure that’ll make your heart race and brain dance — fun coding lessons for kids. Our coding activities and lessons are so much fun that you’ll beg for extra screen time to keep learning.

Forget boring lectures and confusing jargon – we’re all about making coding activities a blast. With our interactive games, hands-on projects, and quirky characters, your kids will have so much fun that they won’t even realize they’re learning valuable skills like problem-solving, logical thinking, and creativity.

Picture this: your child, beaming with pride as they unveil their latest video game creation, robot invention, or digital masterpiece. With our coding lessons, that vision can become a reality. We’ll provide the tools and guidance; they’ll bring imagination and determination. Together, let’s embark on a thrilling journey through the world of code and coding activities!

Table of Contents

Why Tynker is a Game-Changer in Kids’ Coding Education

If you’re looking for fun lessons for kids and an engaging way to teach them coding, look no further than Tynker . This revolutionary platform combines story-based lessons with critical thinking and problem-solving skill development, making it a game-changer in coding education.

As a mom and teacher, I’ve witnessed Tynker’s magic firsthand. It’s like a secret recipe that blends fun and learning, keeping kids engaged and excited to discover more.

Story-Based Lessons That Engage

Tynker takes a unique approach to teaching coding basics and has tons of fun coding lessons for kids. Instead of dull, dry lessons, kids dive into engaging stories where they naturally absorb coding concepts while having a blast.

For example, in one lesson, students help a friendly robot navigate a maze by writing code to guide its movements. As they progress through the story, they learn essential concepts like loops, conditionals, and variables without even realizing it.

Fostering Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving

Learning to code with Tynker is only the beginning of fun coding lessons for kids. Kids also gain valuable critical thinking and problem-solving abilities that they can apply to any challenge.

Students learn to break down complex problems into smaller, more manageable pieces through challenges and puzzles woven into the lessons. They also learn to think logically and systematically as they work through each step of the coding process.

Ready to give your kids a head start in coding? Tynker is shaking up the game with its groundbreaking approach to teaching the basics of programming.

The Progressive Learning Path of Tynker

Another thing I love about Tynker and its fun coding lessons for kids is how it meets kids where they are and grows with them over time. The platform offers a progressive learning path that starts with the basics and gradually introduces more advanced concepts.

Beginning with Block Coding Game

For younger learners, Tynker starts with block-based coding. This visual approach allows kids to drag and drop code blocks to create programs without worrying about syntax or typing.

Introducing kids to programming? Start with block coding. It’s a fun, intuitive way to teach the basics. As they drag and drop colorful blocks, they’ll build logical thinking and problem-solving skills that will help them learn coding and excel in more advanced coding.

Advancing to Real-World Programming Languages

Through Tynker’s carefully crafted curriculum, young learners begin their coding journey with block-based programming. As they gain confidence and skills with fun coding activities, they gradually transition to text-based programming languages like Python and JavaScript.

This is where the real magic happens when they learn coding. By learning to code in the same languages used by professional developers, kids gain practical skills that can open up a world of opportunities in the future.

And because Tynker introduces these concepts gradually and in a way that builds on what kids have already learned, the transition feels natural and manageable. Tynker notes that their platform “starts with block coding and progresses to real-world programming languages.”

Unleashing Creativity and Fun Coding Lessons for Kids Through Coding with Tynker

One of the best things about learning to code — to teach kids coding —  is how it unleashes creativity and empowers kids to bring their ideas to life with fun coding activities. With Tynker, the possibilities are endless with fun coding activities.

From Game Development to AI

With Tynker, children can immerse themselves in various captivating projects and tools. Aspiring game developers can create video games, while those interested in web design can build stunning websites. Tynker even offers the chance to experiment with artificial intelligence, opening up a world of possibilities for curious young minds. And kids can start with free coding.

For example, in the game development course, students learn to use popular engines like Unity and Roblox Studio to bring their game ideas to life. In the AI course, they explore concepts like machine learning and natural language processing through hands-on projects.

Empowering Kids to Become Makers

But Tynker isn’t just about consuming content – it’s about creating it. The platform provides a large suite of creativity tools that allow kids to build projects from scratch.

Imagine a place where your child’s imagination knows no bounds. That’s exactly what Tynker offers. This innovative platform provides a comprehensive set of creativity tools that enable kids to transform their ideas into tangible realities. From coding interactive websites to composing catchy tunes and designing intricate 3D models, Tynker is the perfect launchpad for young minds to explore and express their creativity.

And by seeing their creations come to life, kids gain a sense of accomplishment and confidence that can carry over into other areas of their lives.

Tailored Assessments for Success in Coding

We know that kids absorb information in their ways. That’s why Tynker starts with personalized assessments, ensuring each child embarks on a learning journey tailored just for them.

Tynker figures out exactly what coding skills and knowledge each student brings. Then, it matches them with the perfect starting point and pace to keep them challenged and supported every step of the way. No more frustration or boredom – just the right mix of “I’ve got this.” and “Whoa, I’m learning something new.”

Tynker’s assessments aim to set kids up for coding success immediately.

The Comprehensive Coding Education Experience on Tynker

What makes Tynker genuinely unique is its all-encompassing method of teaching coding to children. By seamlessly integrating captivating lessons with practical skill-building exercises, all within a supportive and encouraging atmosphere, Tynker equips kids with everything they need to thrive in the world of programming.

Want to give your little one a serious advantage in coding? Tynker is the answer. With its cutting-edge methods and unwavering commitment to inspiring young minds, this platform is revolutionizing the way kids learn to code and their coding adventure.

Wow, what a journey! Who knew coding could be so much fun? And you can start in elementary school, middle school or high school.

Coding lessons that inspire and coding language that works. Your kids will learn to approach problems with a programmer’s mindset. Clever code, imaginative solutions, and a lot of fun – that’s what our lessons are all about!

Yet, the most incredible thing of all? The pure joy and excitement they’ve experienced every step of the way. Designing their video games from scratch? Check. Building websites that are as wacky as they are wonderful? Double check. Every project has been a memorable adventure that’s left them grinning from ear to ear.

The sky’s the limit for your budding programmers! They could develop apps, program robots to do their bidding, or even build entire virtual universes from scratch from learning a coding activity. With the rock-solid coding skills they’ve gained through these engaging lessons, no programming puzzle is too tough for them to solve.

Keep fostering that love for coding; your kid might be the next big tech superstar. Happy coding, everyone! Get started with free coding on Tynker.

critical thinking activities english

About Lomit Patel

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Discover the best Python programming app in 2024

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My coding path.

Take your child from novice to expert. Just follow the path.

Block Coding Courses

Apply your coding skills! Find your passion!

Other Advanced Tynker Courses

Graduate to Python and other text coding languages with Tynker’s advanced elective courses.


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