OnHand Schools Home

Integrating Critical Thinking Skills with Instructional Strategies to Improve Student Achievement - Professional Development


Participants Use Higher-Level Thinking Skills to Write and Ask Thought-Provoking Discussion Questions and to develop Rigorous Student Learning Outcomes




PK-12 Teachers


Critical thinking is that mode of thinking — about any subject, content, or problem — in which the thinkers improve the quality of their thinking by skillfully analyzing, assessing, and reconstructing it. Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem-solving abilities, as well as a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism.

Critical thinking skills have relevance in a variety of teaching and learning situations. They can be related to Webb’s Depth of Knowledge and applied to the development of rigorous assessment items that teachers can use construct quizzes and exams. There are also applicable as a rubric for developing and posing discussion questions in the classroom to stimulate students’ creative and higher order thinking. And critical thinking skills in conjunction with Webb’s Depth of Knowledge can be used by teachers to write rigorous student learning outcomes directly related to the Core Standards.

This interactive, hands-on, minds-on, session focuses on the use of effective questioning to engage students in learning and to elicit in-depth thinking. Teachers examine and analyze the levels of Webb’s Depth of Knowledge and Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy to develop questions reflective of each that can be posed to students in particular content areas. Participants recognize the importance of using thought-provoking questions in driving and managing inquiry learning. They also learn to recognize, identify, and describe the nine research-based effective differentiated instruction practices based on the work of Robert Marzano (http://www.marzanoresearch.com/) and to develop at least one practical strategy for each of the practices that are applicable.