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Asking Great Questions in the Classroom to Develop Critical Thinking

Questioning is a skill that every teacher should master. It helps students understand concepts better, and it also allows teachers to assess student understanding. In this article, I’ll teach you how to use a question prompt sheet to guide students through the process of asking questions to develop critical thinking.

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.

In this article, I’m going to introduce 30 questions that you must usually ask in your classes if you want to develop your students’ critical thinking.

Before introducing these questions, let me remind you of what I’ve tackled before about critical thinking; what it is, what it involves, and some practical activities to develop it in EFL classes.

What Is Meant Of 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 Does Critical Thinking Involve?

  • 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 Should You Teach & Develop 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 dialogues written or oral and encouraging students to analyze them.
  • Using comparisons to show the pros and cons of two things.
  • Using critical thinking questions.

Critical Thinking Questions

Students don’t critically think because they are not trained to think in this way. They may be engaged in learning but critical thinking is more than simple engagement.

Lectures that provide many facts and too much memorization don’t develop critical thinking.

Critical thinking requires analytical questioning mainly for clarifications, in addition to other questions about:

  • Purposes.
  • Concepts and Ideas.
  • Assumptions.
  • Viewpoints and perspectives.
  • Information.
  • Inferences and conclusions.

A good question prompt sheet will help you guide students through the questioning process. This includes providing them with a series of questions that lead up to one big question. You can do this by creating a list of questions that build toward a central idea. Then, you can add a “Why?” section at the end of each question.

A List of Critical Thinking Questions

Explore 30 Critical Thinking Questions you must ask frequently in your classes.

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