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date: 14 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Critical thinking is an important aspect of human daily life whether in the domain of education, health, politics, consumer decisions, justice, or international relations. For most students, their college years represent the end of formal learning, a time when they are developing the skills needed for a successful transition to the marketplace (Elander, Harrington, Norton, Robinson, and Reddy, 2006). We need to prepare students for uncertainty and equip them with the skills to respond to novel problems (Sternberg, 2011). If we are not teaching for critical thinking, we are shortchanging our students and leaving them ill prepared for the next phase of their lives. This chapter discusses the benefits of critical thinking instruction and the best practices for teaching critical thinking to promote lifelong learning. The chapter is organized based on the four-step model proposed by Halpern (1998) to teach critical thinking: (a) explicitly teach critical-thinking skills; (b) encourage a disposition toward thinking critically; (c) use practical activities connected to real life to make transfer more likely to occur; (d) model overt metacognitive monitoring. Empirical evidence shows that thinking can be improved, especially when thinking skills are explicitly taught. Educators should incorporate critical thinking into their student learning outcomes, so that it is a primary teaching goal and aspiration of education.

Keywords: critical thinking, instruction, higher education, psychological literacy, critical thinking disposition

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