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Problem Solving and

Critical Thinking

Presentation outline
Why teaching Critical Thinking and
Problem Solving is important
Nature of Critical Thinking and Problem
Characteristics of an effective Critical
Challenges to teaching Critical Thinking

In your group discuss what you
think the following proverb means
for you as a teacher

If I hear it, I forget it .

If I see it, I remember it .
If I do it, I know it .

What is Critical Thinking?
The art of thinking about your thinking,
while youre thinking, so as to make your
thinking more clear, precise, accurate,
relevant, consistent, and fair; the art of
constructive skepticism; the art of
identifying and removing biasand one-
sidedness of thought; the art of self-
directed, in-depth thinking
(Paul, 1990)
Critical Thinking is :

1. interpreting, analyzing or evaluating information,

arguments or experiences with a set of reflective
attitudes, skills, and abilities
2. reasonable reflective thinking that is focused on
deciding what to do and what to believe OR to guide
our thoughts, beliefs and actions
3. examining the thinking of others to improve our own

Elements of Critical
1. Observation: From a series of
observations, we can come to establish:
2. Facts: From a series of facts, or an
absence of facts, we make:
3. Inferences: Testing the validity of our
inferences, we make :
4. Assumptions: From our assumptions, we
form our

5.Opinions: Taking our opinions, we use
the principles of logic to develop:
6.Arguments: When we want to
challenge the arguments of others,
we employ:
7.Critical analysis
Thinking about your students, which of the
elements above are your students capable of ?

Blooms Taxonomy of Thinking
Knowledge facts or bits of information
Comprehension understanding what
information means
Application finding a practical use for
the knowledge
Analysis breaking down the knowledge
into component parts
Synthesis connecting knowledge to other
knowledge and devising something new
Evaluation judging knowledge

Why is Critical Thinking
Critical thinking prepares students to
educate themselves for the rest of their
Critical thinking skills are necessary for
success in many fields
Critical thinkers are less likely to just go
along with the crowd, and
Passing the new Tawjihi !!

Read the following story, and then do the activity
at the end:
Napoleon Brown lives on the fourth floor of a
block of flats. Every day he goes downstairs at 7:30,
takes the bus from the end of the street at around
7:35 and arrives at his office at about 8 o'clock.
When the weather is fine, he rushes into the lift
and takes the lift to the fourth floor. He gets out
and walks up to the fifth floor where his office is,
and starts work at around 8:15. When the weather is
bad, he takes the lift right up to the fifth floor. He
works until 5 p.m.,then takes the lift down to the
lobby and hurries to the bus stop to get his bus
home. At home, he takes the lift up to his flat.

In your groups, do the following:
1. Read the story quickly (1 minute only!)
2. Write questions that start with the
following words: what, when, where, how,
why, how often, what do you think,
could on the papers provided
3. Swap your papers with another group
4. Answer their questions, on the back of
their papers
5. Discuss the answers of the other groups

How to teach
Critical Thinking?

Use analogies
Promote interaction among students
Ask open-ended questions
Allow sufficient time for reflection
Teach students to apply knowledge
to other domains
Use real-life problems
Allow thinking practice

Exposure to
creative examples

Teacher models Encourage students

creative approaches to play with words &
through activities ideas


Students draw on Students draw

existing on specific skills
knowledge of in English


reflection on Students evaluation

Developing thinking skills through
Why do I ask questions in teaching?
What about students asking questions?
Why are students questions important?
What types of questions are there?
What should we avoid in questioning?
Is there a simple way to develop questioning?
How can I follow up a question?
Why is waiting in questioning a good idea?
How does questioning develop language and
What are some alternatives to direct questioning?

How can these proverbs help our
students to improve their critical
thinking skills? He who asks a question is a fool for five
minutes; he who does not ask a question
He that nothing questions, remains a fool forever.
nothing learns.

It is not disgraceful to ask: it

If you are ashamed to ask questions,
is disgraceful not to ask.
you will only lose your way.

Questioning is the door of knowledge.

Problem Solving
is a mental process whereby an
individual utilizes his/her previous
knowledge and experience to respond
to the requirements of an unfamiliar
situation. The response should seek
out the conflict or ambiguity of the
What are the steps to solving problems?

The Steps to Problem Solving

1- Defining the problem

2- Gathering information
3- Studying and analyzing the collected
4- Suggesting solutions
5- Evaluating the suggested solutions
6- Solving the problem
Youll be given a problem - try to apply these steps in order to
solve it.

Challenges and Barriers to
Teaching CT
Student fear
Overdependence on the teacher
Missing the meaning
Lack of confidence
Dogmatic, assertive behavior
Inability to concentrate
Unwillingness to think
(Raths, et al., 1986)

Teachers roles
change participation practices
gradually: start with brief, focused
activities, then later proceed to
longer or more complex ones
model thoughtfulness, creativity &
socio-cultural awareness in own
behaviour; give examples of these
encourage active participation &
relevant uses of English; recognize
thoughtful & creative contributions

Thank you for coming!