Critical Thinking and Its Role in Curriculum

Critical thinking is one of the essential skills that focuses on the ability to question, analyze, and decipher given information in order to form one’s opinion on the subject at hand. In the modern world, students are surrounded by information that comes from different sources and needs to be fact-checked. With the help of critical thinking skills, students might see inconsistencies and contradictions, filter out inaccurate data, and separate facts from their interpretation.

Characteristics of Critical Thinking

There is a need to include critical thinking skills into the teaching-learning process since it is beneficial to an individual’s general and academic life. Critical thinking can help learners identify solutions to their societal challenges. As a result, every child needs to learn how to gather, synthesize, and analize the relevant information for their solutions. Even though it does not relate to any particular subject, logic is useful for reasoning (Jamil, 2020). Students in a constantly developing society should learn how to retrieve information, as well as have the ability to critically compare and assess that knowledge with their own understanding.

Moreover, critical thinking is important in the life of every child since it also positively impacts their character development. First, critical thinking might neutralize the “herd” thinking, helping the child to distinguish a bad example from a good one and not succumb to mass influence (McPeck, 2016). Second, the ability to lead a discourse eloquently and logically and the tendency to find one’s solution to a problem yields both economic and social benefits. Third, a child who can think critically is less stressed and knows how to evaluate mistakes correctly.

Critical Thinking in Curriculum

A variety of teaching methodsincorporated into the curriculum might contribute to the development of critical thinking skills among students. The curriculum must be rich in critical thinking tasks, which will expedite the development of these skills (Lombardi, 2021). In this situation, teachers play a pivotal role in the learning process since they motivate students and reinforce their knowledge. Depending on the kind of activity, be it writing, speaking, or listening, teachers might encourage students to debate, prove their arguments, synthesize received information, and draw conclusions.

A Role of Textbook in the Learning Process

A textbook plays a vital role in the classroom and the learning process. While the most considerable portion of learning occurs in the classroom, students might utilize their knowledge in order to see what material they have covered during the lessons (Itmeizeh, 2020). Thus, the content of a textbook used during lessons is of vital importance. Critical thinking exercises and activities should be found in good textbooks that challenge learners’ abilities and engage them in content and texts. Therefore, to ensure the integration of critical thinking into the curriculum, it should include a variety of tasks in the learning material.

Tasks whose primary focus is on debating encourage students to see the data from different angles and, thus, develop critical reasoning. This way, students learn to best approaches to debating and adopt the appropriate behavior with the skills of analyzing the opposition’s arguments. The debates should include topics that are “controversial, relevant to learners’ level, interesting, and inspiring” (Itmeizeh, 2020, p.8873). In order to ensure a robust and active participation and engagement of the students, it is necessary to inform them about the debate ahead of time. Leaving ample time for children to present their views spontaneously is critical. Children can reflect on the information and think about every aspect when they have sufficient time.

Problem-solving Tasks for Critical Thinking

Other practical tasks and activities for critical thinking are focused on problem-solving since students need to be able to detect a problem and find the most suitable resolution. A student must develop solutions to problems and give accurate, reliable, and meaningful answers to partners, teachers, and audiences with enough time (Itmeizeh, 2020). In this case, students should be split into pairs or groups. Then they define the topic, identify the problem, discuss the issue, offer a variety of answers or solutions, choose the best options or alternatives, and conclude with a reflection or evaluation.

However, to achieve the desired effect of these tasks, several points must be considered. The problem should be manageable for students and pertain to the areas of interest of students in order to motivate them to resolve it. Teachers should encourage students to study the facts, evaluate different views, and assess the ramifications of various solutions before presenting their favored answers. In the event of contentious matters, teachers should outline specific guidelines that all participants in each group must follow. The goal of this practice is to remain respectful to opponents and acknowledge the right of others to voice opposing viewpoints, particularly when students disagree.

Reading Assignments and Exercises

Reading assignments and exercises should include a variety of topics and discuss a variety of reading methods in order to provide students with insights into the procedure as well as practical template approaches. Reading is meant to help children develop the abilities of gathering information, comprehending what it implies, and eventually drawing judgments based on evidence (Itmeizeh, 2020). Furthermore, by reading a wide range of literature, students will learn to answer provided questions, assess arguments, and comprehend the development of logical arguments. Students will be able to discern between valid and invalid arguments and apply judgment skills as they advance. This ability will enable students to use provided evidence or proof to form their own judgments without relying on other sources. As a result, students will learn to assess and reflect on their responses with the aid of reading exercises.

Writing Tasks for the Development of Critical Thinking

Aside from reading and speaking, the tasks and activities should also include writing tasks. Only a combination of skills might yield the desired effect and facilitate the development of students’ critical thinking. In every field of education, students are required to exhibit critical thinking skills when writing academic essays or reports. Many writing tasks, such as subject-focused critical thinking portfolios, summary writing, emails, recollections, posters, and so on, can help students develop their thinking (Itmeizeh, 2020). Adjusting and rewriting the information might enhance the rationalization skills of a student.

Speaking Tasks and Activities

Speaking tasks and activities, in turn, facilitate the mentioned skills and contribute to critical thinking through expressing one’s opinion. While writing may require a lot of effort and careful thought, starting with the main idea and ending with a conclusion based on the arguments, speaking is also essential in a student’s life (Itmeizeh, 2020). Speaking activities promote better learning and eloquence since children need to share their opinions and make sure there is coherence. Practical exercises such as information-gap, role-play, and jigsaw tasks can help students improve their communicative ability.

Information-gap Exercises

Information-gap exercises encourage students to collaborate in pairs to exchange knowledge. In this task, one student shares the knowledge with their partner who does not obtain this knowledge (Itmeizeh, 2020). Information-gap tasks not only teach children to cooperate and work in a team but also find an approach to different kinds of people, as well as find approaches to explain a variety of information from different perspectives.

Role-play Activities

Role-play tasks and activities encourage children to simulate events with the use of critical thinking. The role-playing model refers to the process of “developing imagination when playing roles,” both as living and inanimate characters through understanding the notion of learning (Wahyuni, 2020, p.2). Role-playing can also improve students’ social interaction skills by promoting a cooperative, caring and confident attitude as a key component of the syllabus’ core competencies. Therefore, children are not only taught social interaction skills but also how to evaluate information gathered from observations of different situations and how to apply appropriate strategies.

Jigsaw Activities

Jigsaw activities promote a cooperative learning approach during which children share the received information. In the 1970s, psychologist Elliot Aronson invented the jigsaw technique (Itmeizeh, 2020). This activity facilitates the learning process, boosting the motivation for studying and increasing the level of satisfaction received by the learning process. Teachers should create tasks ahead of time and arrange their students into groups, with each group having a leader. Later, the task is divided into smaller information segments, with each student receiving an individual part. In order for students to complete the task with perfection, sufficient time must be provided. Following that, students take turns sharing what they have learned. In the end, each group member explains the thoroughly studied information.

Thus, students enhance their critical thinking abilities by distinguishing between vital and less relevant information with the assistance of the exercises mentioned above. Students learn to evaluate data, synthesize it, and present it to others in a variety of ways as appropriate (Zulkifli, 2020). Children also learn to listen and focus intently, taking down all necessary notes. All of the mentioned skills later help children not only in one subject but rather in all subjects and matters.

Difficulties with Learning Critical Thinking Skills

However, it must be noted that many children experience difficulties when learning critical thinking skills, thus, needing extra assistance. People, regardless of their education or intellectual aptitude, may find it challenging to think critically. Critical thinking can be mastered through both learning and understanding it, as well as applying it. Each critical thinking barrier is individual; however, all barriers are based on misunderstanding, emotions, lack of detailed knowledge, and desire to perform different tasks.

Misunderstanding as One of the Barriers

A barrier based on misunderstanding is based on the fact that children may perceive critique as a hostile reaction to their knowledge, skills, or works. Some students may believe that criticism is a negative reaction to their view of point, and only the negative sides are taken into account when analyzing it (Cottrell, 2017). Nevertheless, in reality, criticism also focuses on positive aspects, as well as effective and ineffective arguments. As a result, children might avoid any comments that may seem as negative and only focus on positive feedback. This path does not lead to improvements and is unproductive. Only constructive criticism can lead to progress, improvements, and problem-solving.

Self-control in Critical Thinking

Self-control plays one of the essential roles in developing the development of a student’s critical thinking, and its absence may hinder this development. Critical thinking implies the recognition of the existence of more than one point of view on the subject. Thus, if a student is emotional, his critical thinking may be impacted negatively. In particular, when students’ arguments or values are in question. Critical thinking requires a student to disregard everything he believes in and what he considers essential (Cottrell, 2017). The essence of critical thinking is based on collecting information and separating it from any emotions. This way is the only way to reasonably argue the position.

Disposition to Discourse

In the end, the disposition to discourse is the key to critical thinking. The disposition to argumentation process indicates the degree to which a student intends to perform this skill (Cottrell, 2017). This is essential for understanding how he thinks and how he can improve his thinking, both in academic conditions and daily circumstances. Dispositions or attitudes cannot be taught alone, but they play a significant role in determining whether critical thinking will occur. Even if the student can be proficient in analysis, evaluation, and inference, without the intention of thinking critically, it is unlikely that the student will develop this skill.

In the situation when students are not enthusiastic to improve their critical thinking skills, teachers should find an approach to the children. For example, teachers may explain the advantages of critical thinking and how it may aid their future. Moreover, teachers may try to incorporate additional tasks for such children in order to alleviate the process of discussions and critique. Constantly encouraging a child to ask questions, analyze the given information and take part in classroom activities may also help.

Teaching Methods of Critical Thinking

Teaching methods play a significant role in critical skills learning since they raise students’ consciousness of critical thinking. This is achieved through a variety of activities designed to get them conversing with others in order to reflect on their thoughts and to be aware of the thinking process. However, it is unfortunate that most educators continue to use conventional teaching methods in schools. Some are still impacted by how they were taught. In contrast, others are hesitant to adopt any method or tactic since there are so many options which can be “confusing” (Schmaltz, 2017, p.2). If teachers provide students with a variety of teaching methods and skills, children will adapt to diverse problems and resolve issues.

Brainstorming as one of the techniques

A number of strategies can be used by teachers to contribute to the process of critical thinking learning. The first teaching method is based on brainstorming, which is the first step to the activity. Brainstorming is one of the most popular methods which stimulates creative activity (Al-Samarraie, 2018). This is an excellent way to quickly involve all students of the group in work based on the free expression of their thoughts on the issue under consideration. The purpose of such a lesson is to create comfortable learning conditions in which students feel their success, their intellectual viability, which makes the learning process itself productive. Thus, brainstorming is the best connection with students, which is achieved by interacting with children and asking them about their opinion and assumptions on the subject at hand.

Classification and Categorization

Another teaching method is focused on classification and categorization. By recognizing and classifying objects, students learn how to organize themselves more effectively. The purpose of this technique is to assist students in structuring the material in their minds in a logical and orderly manner. Visualization in this situation plays a crucial role since children see things not only “within sight” (Shatri, 2017, p.72). Moreover, this method also extends the length of retention and makes retrieval of information easier when needed. Additionally, this method leads children to become self-aware as they learn where, when, and why things should be placed.

Promotion of Decision-making

Since the learning process should focus on individual development, there is a need for decision-making skills. Applying information and assessing solutions is a significant component of teaching critical thinking abilities, thus, primary school instructors should promote decision-making as much as feasible (Alsaleh, 2020). This allows students to apply what they’ve learned to diverse circumstances, assess the benefits and drawbacks of various solutions, and then determine which ones work best.

Work in Pairs

However, teaching methods should not only consist of individual work; thus, work in pairs is highly needed. Work in pairs is highly essential and plays a significant role in every student’s life since the company of peers influences the learning process and teaches valuable skills. In this situation, children can either take the responsibility of a leader or participate in problem-solving tasks. In order to reach the best communication, team-building exercises must be incorporated.

Team-building activities are characterized by the absence of wrong or correct answers. Instead, the focus is on viewpoints, sentiments, and values. Students are taught to understand and tolerate opposing viewpoints, as well as numerous argumentation skills through this type of activity. One of the most important steps to becoming a critical thinker is to accept other people’s perspectives without bias or preconceived beliefs (Nold, 2017). People who are open-minded tend to grow and progress in all aspects of their lives.

The Duality of Critical Thinking

As seen from before, an important aspect of critical thinking is based on the duality of this ability. On the one hand, critical thinking involves individual analysis, synthesis, and deciphering of the information. However, on the other hand, critical thinking involves working in a team, which helps a student broaden their horizons and learn the diversity of opinions on different matters. Moreover, with this kind of approach to developing critical thinking skills, children learn to cooperate and eliminate hostility, embracing other people’s points of view. This way, a child not only learns individual working skills, but teamwork skills.

Hence, critical thinking plays a crucial role in the life of every student and impacts their future. As a result, the contribution and encouragement of teachers may play a pivotal role and assist students in becoming exceptional critical thinkers. With the help of educators, children will be able to develop critical thinking abilities and attitudes to deal with a load of diverse information. Through engaging children in a variety of tasks, teachers will be able to instill meaningful critical thinking processes in students. Furthermore, a setting that encourages and promotes inquiry, as well as a teaching and learning environment that respects diverse, and often conflicting, points of view, are essential in promoting students’ critical thinking growth.


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ChalkyPapers. "Critical Thinking and Its Role in Curriculum." April 13, 2023.