Introduction to Practice Five

Practice #5

Critical Thinking Skills are Taught.

Contents include
Printable materials, Ready-to-use Strategies, and Web links in the following sections:

Implementation Basics

Ideas for Implementation

Implementation Evaluation and Goal Setting

Life Principle



Hand Signs

Practice Connections

Practice Characteristics

Evidence of Practice




Music & Video Links

Learning Strategies

Mind Map

Goal Setting Process with Individual and Class Forms and Examples

Introduction to Practice #5

Critical Thinking Skills are Taught.

The WHY? of Practice #5!

Implementation supports a Culture of Respect and Academic Excellence :

  • “Training learners to use problem-solving strategies can help them develop a sense of responsibility for how the classroom is managed and reduce behavior problems.” Marzano, Robert. (2003) Classroom Management That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Every Teacher. Alexandria: VA: ASCD, 88-91.
  • “Thus, work, learning, and citizenship in the twenty-first century demand that we all know how to think - to reason, analyze, weigh evidence and problem-solve...These are no longer skills that only the elites in a society must master; they are essential survival skills for all of us.” Wagner, T. (2008). The Global Achievement Gap, New York: Basic Books, xxi-iii.
  • “The world is changing faster than ever in our history. Our best hope for the future is to develop a new paradigm of human capacity. We need to establish environments in our schools where every learner is inspired to develop his creativity.” Robinson, K. (2009). The Element, New York: Viking, xii-iv
  • When learning becomes repetitive and memorization based, learner’s brains do not get many chances to grow and evolve. Deductive reasoning is one of the most valuable skills a learner can have in working to prove a mathematical theorem, analyzing literature, or taking a standardized test.

For Research: see Rationale for 17 Practices Practice #5 – pages 12-13 on Great Expectations website.


The WHERE? EVERYWHERE learners are engaged in the instructional process.

The WHEN? - Critical thinking is a a key instructional strategy that should be integrated throughout the learning process. It may defined as “The intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.” (Scriven)

A problem well stated is a problem half solved.

--John Dewey (Printable Poster)


Main objection: "This takes too much time!" Response: What are the goals for all learners?


  • To personalize learning and increase the use of critical thinking skills.
  • To address the uniqueness and multiple styles of all learners by encouraging them to become question creators and problem-solvers.
  • To create a risk free environment that encourages individuals to ask questions and share ideas.
  • To facilitate discussions by using open-ended questions that require thoughtful, creative responses.
  • To involve learners in real-life investigations using critical thinking skills and resulting in a desired product or outcome.

Application to Employment Skills:

  • “Work, learning, and citizenship in the twenty-first century demand that we all know how to think - to reason, analyze, weight evidence, and problem-solve… “ Wagner, T. (2008), The Global Achievement Gap, New York: Basic Books, xxii-iii.
  • Practice 5 supports the Problem-solving and Decision-making skills and Commitment to the Job skills listed under The 8 Keys to Employability:   Problem-solving and Decision-making Skills

    • Flexible
    • Creative & Innovative
    • Adapt to change
    • Plan & organize work
    • Reason & make objective decisions
  •  Commitment to the Job

    • Punctual & good attendance
    • Consider work more than a job
    • Enthusiastic
    • Loyal to the organization & its employer
    • Interest in future advancement
  •  Maturity

    • Dependable
    • Accept responsibility
    • Don't let personal problems interfere
    • Willing to perform extra work
    • Pride in their work

Developing Employability Skills - School Improvement Research