Teaching Thinking Strategies
Habits of mind and forms of intelligence are unique to every student. The essence of direct instruction in critical thinking crystallizes strategies and tools that can then be used deliberately. The ultimate aim is to make critical thinking second nature and automatic for each student. The idea that skill in thinking is developed as the by-product of such subjects as geography and history is no longer tenable. Some thinking skills concerned with the sorting of information can be taught as a by-product of such subjects but these are only part of the broad range of thinking skills required for life. For example, the thinking skills required for action must include consideration of priorities, objectives, other people’s views and the like. Descriptive thinking is not enough. Divided into 10 major “Thinking” strategy units, each one comprised of a series of lessons, teachers instruct students on a particular thinking skill/strategy directly. This direct instruction is followed by a application to a specific task or assignment in a specific subject. The APC Program (Alternatives, Possibilities and Choices), is an example of one model for teaching thinking skills. Students consider all options before making an informed choice and developing their explanation. The goal is to equip the students with effective thinking tools and strategies to apply to situations and decisions. Teaching thinking skills is a component addressed by each grade.