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Critical technologies of thinking and learning

The main purpose of using critical thinking technologies is to teach a person independent and meaningful use: firstly, educational materials, and secondly, other information sources. The authors of such technologies are educators from America: Kurt Meredith, Charles Temple and Jeannie Steele.

Think critically

In Russia, methods and technologies of critical thinking have been used since about the mid-nineties. The technology is based on the concept of dialogue between culture by V. Bibler and M. Bakhtin, research on psychology by L. Vygotsky and others, as well as pedagogy based on the collaboration of Sh. Amonashveli. So what does critical thinking technology imply?

This way of thinking means: independence and freedom, as well as analytics, evaluation and reflection. It is divided into three stages:

  1. The challenge stage is a constant replenishment of the already existing stock of knowledge and the manifestation of interest in obtaining relevant information, as well as the setting by a person of his own learning goals.
  2. The comprehension stage is the acquisition of new knowledge and amendments to the previously set learning goals.
  3. The stage of reflection is deep reflection and immersion in oneself in order to gain higher knowledge and one more formulation of updated tasks.

Knowledge challenge

The work of the teacher during this stage of application of the technology for the development of critical thinking is primarily intended to call the student the stocks of knowledge that the latter already has, as well as to bring this knowledge into an active state and awaken the desire to work on oneself in the future.

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The student, however, must find in his memory the knowledge that relate to the material that he is studying. After that, the information is systematized until new material is received. He asks questions that he wants to get answers to.

A possible method here is to create a list of the information that is currently available:

  • a story is a sentence of “key words”;
  • graphic systematization of the knowledge gained (all kinds of tables, lists, etc.);
  • search for true and false statements.

All data that was obtained at the stage of calling knowledge is carefully listened to, they are recorded and further discussed. All work can be done both individually and with a couple or even a group.

Making sense of data

At this stage of the methods of the technology of critical thinking, teaching activities are aimed at maintaining a healthy interest in the topic by means of joint work with a new information block, as well as a stepwise movement up from the received data to more relevant ones.

girl with a book

At this time, the student listens or reads the text, using active reading methods (marking in the margins or writing in a journal) as new pieces of information arrive.

The most accessible at this stage is the active reading method, with markings in the margins. In addition, it is necessary to look for new answers to the questions that were posed in the previous phase.

Reflection and reflection

The one who teaches at this stage must return the student to the original records in order to update the data. It is also necessary to provide creative and research work based on the material already covered.

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The student should compare the information received recently with that which was given initially, using the data from the previous stage.

reading a book in bed

Of the methods and techniques for applying critical technologies, it is worth noting the filling of tablets and clusters with data. In addition, it is necessary to establish causal relationships among all the knowledge gained. Returning to key expressions, as well as true and incorrect statements, will help in this. The main task is to find answers to questions. Being creative and organized discussions about a topic are also good tools.

During reflection, analysis and creative processing are carried out, along with a comparison of all the data obtained. Both individual and pair or group work is possible.

List of critical technologies

“Inventory” is an ordering of information already received. The student takes notes on a topic known to him. After that, the old data are combined with the new ones and they are supplemented.

“Do you believe in …?” is a kind of game of right and wrong statements. During the challenge phase, the student chooses the correct answers from those suggested by the teacher on a given topic and carries out its description. In the next phase, they make a validation check on the original choice.

book reading

“Key words” – the teacher pronounces these words by which the student must understand the topic of the lesson or a specific task.

“Thick questions” are questions like “Explain why …?”, “Why did you think so …?”, “What is the difference …?”, “Make an assumption about what will happen if … ? ” and the like.

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“ZZHU table” – drawing up a student’s own table of the type “I know – I want to know – I have already received information”.

INSERT and Zigzag

Reception of critical technologies called “Insert” is marking your text with information with certain icons as you study it.

group training

It is an interactive, markup system for effective reading and reflection. Possible options for marking your text:

  • V – I already know it;
  • + – something new;
  • – – I think otherwise, I do not agree with this statement;
  • ? – it is not clear, there are still questions.

“Zigzag” is working with text in a group. Knowledge is acquired and large volumes of material are optimized, for which information is divided into fragments according to meaning so that students teach each other. Naturally, there should be exactly the same number of pieces of data as there are students in the group.


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