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Critical Thinking Resources for High School Teachers

By The Room 241 Team November 15, 2012

Developing critical thinking abilities is a necessary skill for all high school students but teaching these skills is not the easiest task for high school teachers. Fortunately, there is a wealth of information online to provide teachers the resources needed for creating critical thinking lesson plans.

These online resources provide lessons plans, videos, and small but helpful tips that can be used everyday in the classroom to reinforce lessons and ideas. Below are some of the top resources for teaching critical thinking to high school students.

A site devoted to all things related to critical thinking

The Critical Thinking Community, from the Center for Critical Thinking, provides one of the best sites for critical thinking resources and has a special section aimed at helping high school teachers prepare appropriate lesson plans: Critical Thinking Community for High School Teachers.

“Critical thinking is essential if we are to get to the root of our problems and develop reasonable solutions,” reads the site’s About Us page. “After all, the quality of everything we do is determined by the quality of our thinking.”

Therefore it’s no surprise that the site provides many free online resources for high school teachers, as well as other materials that can be ordered online for a small fee.

One example of an online resource for critical thinking for high school students is the article “How to Study and Learn (Part One)”. This introductory article lays the ground work for the importance of thinking critically, illustrated by the following passage:

“To study well and learn any subject is to learn how to think with discipline within that subject. It is to learn to think within its logic, to:

  • raise vital questions and problems within it, formulating them clearly and precisely
  • gather and assess information, using ideas to interpret that information insightfully
  • come to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards
  • adopt the point of view of the discipline, recognizing and assessing, as needs be, its assumptions, implications, and practical consequences
  • communicate effectively with others using the language of the discipline and that of educated public discourse
  • relate what one is learning in the subject to other subjects and to what is significant in human life”

State critical thinking resources

Additionally, many states offer free online critical thinking resources, such as the handbook compiled by faculty members of Prince George’s Community College and put on Maryland’s official website: Handbook of Critical Thinking Resources.

In addition to providing a wealth of outside information resources, the handbook details how thinking critically can help students while they are in high school and in the future:

“Improving students’ critical thinking skills will help students:

  • improve their thinking about their course work
  • use sound thinking on tests, assignments, and projects in their courses
  • have the strategic, analytical, problem solving, and decision-making skills they need when they transfer to another college
  • have the strategic, analytical, problem solving, and decision-making skills they need when they transition to the workplace”

Keeping up to date on current trends

Other sites, such as Edutopia.org, are constantly updated with new information to provide teachers with the most current information possible. The site, which is part of the George Lucas Educational Foundation, is divided by grade level and has a special section focused on producing critical thinking high school students: Grades 9-12 High School.

The site describes three fundamental skills it believes necessary for students to become lifelong learners in the 21st Century:

  • how to find information
  • how to assess the quality of information
  • how to creatively and effectively use information to accomplish a goal

The site combines original articles and instructional videos with other valuable critical thinking resources from around the globe. The site is set up like a blog and puts the most recent articles at the forefront, and also includes a community forum for both students and teachers to use.

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