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How to develop Critical Thinking in students

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“ Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think” - Albert Einstein

The learning acquired in schools is important to shape a student’s career, personality, and overall development as an individual. But this cannot be accomplished solely through school curriculum, but rather through a combination of academic learning and the development of various life skills. One of the basic among them is effectively developing critical thinking skills among students.

The MTS Life Skill Education designed according to WHO, UNICEF, WorldBank, MHRD Govt of India, and National Education Policy 2020 for developing social, moral, and cognitive skills in students aims at teaching life skills to children in an incremental and well-designed structure.



Critical thinking is a complex term. To understand the importance of critical thinking, we need to first understand what this word means.


“Critical thinking is self-disciplined, self-monitored, self-corrective thinking. A type of thinking pattern that makes students reflective, helps them pay attention to decision-making which guides their beliefs and actions. It also allows students to deduct with more logic, to process sophisticated information, and look at various sides of an issue so they can produce more solid conclusions.’

Critical thinking and problem-solving skills should be taught at an early age which in turn helps the students to face any challenges in life.


In today's world to cope with the increasing pace and meet everyday challenges, life skills education for students plays a vital role. The importance of life skills education for students is as follows-

  • Help them build confidence and develop a healthy coping mechanism for stress
  • Make important decisions and understand why they make certain choices outside the classroom
  • Develop a greater sense of self-awareness and appreciation for others
  • Gives the courage to face any struggle to achieve their target
  • It helps the students to adapt to all aspects of society and build the caliber to handle all the challenges that life has to offer.



Students develop critical thinking skills at different ages. Similarly to muscle, critical thinking is something that can be developed with a little bit of practice and hard work.

A few techniques to encourage critical thinking are:

  • Use analogies- The students should be given the freedom to analyze the facts and understand them in their own way. 
  • Ask open-minded questions- This gives students a chance to apply what they’ve learned to new concepts and promotes discussions and problem-solving.
  • Encourage decision-making - Decision-making is a pillar of critical thinking. Decision-making promotes students to apply the knowledge that they have gained practically. It helps in their overall cognitive development.
  • Communicate solutions- Communication is the key to the development of a student's personality. It also helps the students to build relationships with others.
  • Promote creativity- Open-mindedness methods - Creativity helps to develop critical thinking skills.



Inculcating Critical thinking skills has become an important element of education. It not only helps students to excel academically but also helps in developing social, moral, and cognitive skills in students. Critical thinkers don’t just think clearly or rationally; they use skillful analyzing, assessing, and reconstructing to make decisions that help them in building a bright future.

There are five major critical thinking skills for students:

  • Analysis
  • Communications
  • Problem Solving
  • Creativity
  • Learning from mistakes



The most frequent question asked by teachers is how to develop critical thinking in students. Critical thinking is the analysis of facts and information to form a judgment. There are a lot of strategies that can be practiced inside and outside the classroom which in turn will help in increasing critical thinking skills in students. 

 Here are some strategies to develop critical thinking in students:


1. Questioning Technique

Questioning is the simplest and easiest strategy for developing critical thinking skills. To engage the student in conversation and to get to know what they are thinking, asking open ends is a big savior. 

Critical thinking starts by asking questions that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. 

To promote further thinking of students, try asking them the following questions:

  • Can you elaborate further?
  • Can you give me an illustration?
  • Would you give me an example?
  • Could you be more specific?
  • Is there any other way to learn this?
  • Can you explain this more simply?

 Students should be asked Open-ended questions as it promotes discussions, inquiry and problem-solving skills.


2. Student-led discussions

Since a substantial part of critical thinking is applying what you have learned, students should be encouraged to take part in group discussions. Providing a safe forum for students to vocalize their thoughts not only helps in building their confidence but also helps in improving their cognitive thinking.

Student discussions can be held in the form of debates or the form of a group.

Group discussions provide students with new knowledge but also help with communication skills which are very important to developing critical thinking.


3. Practice active learning

Turning students into active learners is the main goal of teaching critical thinking. According to many researchers, students tend to memorize things more effectively and retain them for a longer period if they understand the concept rather than just mugging it up. It helps to develop critical thinking skills amog students. That's why students should be made to learn things through productive struggle. Instead of directly answering a question students should be encouraged to find answers to their problems themselves as it will increase their critical thinking.


4. Promote Creativity.

Imagination and creativity are the backbones of critical thinking in students. When designing a curriculum, teachers should seek out new ways for students to use the information to create something new. Creativity can also be used to elaborate on the existing problem to find the solution for the same using imagination. Students start seeing the existing situation differently and use their critical thinking to come to a positive outcome. 

Teachers can promote creativity amongst students by :

  • Art projects
  • Asking them to write a story or poem
  • Asking the students to create a video or audio presentation
  • Encouraging students to take part in skits and plays

This will help them embrace new perspectives while developing and learning from their own experiences.


5. Problem-Based Learning

Problem-based learning (PBL) is a student-centered approach in which students learn about a particular subject by making different groups and discussing them in detail and then coming to a conclusion. 

PBL helps in developing Effective problem-solving skills, Self-directed learning skills, Effective collaboration skills, and intrinsic motivation in students.

PBL skills help students to face real-life challenges and are the fuel of critical thinking.


6. Study with the help of examples

According to recent research using Real-life examples, anecdotes, analogies, and facts help the students to engage more in the subject and also improve their critical thinking.

The student analyses the connection between things and thus help them understand the fundamental of any topic or subject. 



Critical thinking is a skill, so like any other skill, it can be taught and learned. Developing critical thinking skills in students is essential because it helps them to make hard decisions and allows them to continue to develop brilliantly after they graduate.

Teaching critical thinking as a mindset is important so that it can be inculcated as a habit that will help students throughout their life.  

For the last 10 years, My True Skills has been actively involved with life skills education, parenting, and teacher mentoring programs. The aim is to prepare every student for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding peace, tolerance, equality of the sexes, and friendship amongst all. The program is designed and supported with real-life examples and videos which provide students with an opportunity to question, explore and assess situations and form their values and make decisions for the present as well as their future.