What do we mean by thinking?

  1. generating ideas
  2. planning
  3. inquiring
  4. applying knowledge and concepts
  5. identifying problems
  6. creating novel solutions

Three Different Ways of Thinking and How they Can Be Generated

Creative thinking is generated by “what if”-questions and encouraging children to answer questions in various ways.

Critical thinking is generated by questions such as: “Is there a problem with this?” “If so, what is it?” “Why did it happen this way?” “How might we do this/look at this differently?” It involves evaluating received wisdom and theories, thinking open-mindedly about them and proposing alternative solutions where necessary.

Analytical thinking is seen as a prerequisite for critical thinking and requires identifying a problem, gathering and analyzing data, hypothesizing regarding a solution and draw well-reasoned conclusions. It is generated by questions such as: “What is the problem?” “Why has it happened?” “What is the evidence?” “How can we analyze the evidence?” “What is the conclusion/How can we solve the problem?”

Teaching Thinking Skills

The skills needed to be successful thinker relate directly to open-mindedness. The student needs to use observation and interpretation (what am I seeing and what does it mean?); to analyze (what is the problem?), to draw inferences (how do the clues connect to my life?), to evaluate and explain (what do others think and how can I explain to them what I think?) and to use meta-cognition throughout to reflect on their own thinking process (where did I see this problem before and how did I solve it?).

(Source: Hedges, Laurence [et al]: “Approaches to Learning” – A Practical Guide. Teacher Book, International Baccalaureate Organization: 2012, 74ff.)