Critical Thinking Skills Training

Many taxonomies of critical thinking skills exist and some excellent examples can be found in Anderson and Krathwohl (2001), Chafee (1997), Nelson (2005), Paul (1995), and Wolcott (2006). A few key skills were chosen based upon reviews of the literature and classroom teaching experience. 

Determining Causality - Identifying where influence exists and the direction of that influence.

Accurately determining why something has happened is clearly an important intellectual skill, but vigilance must be maintained to avoid common fallacies and assumptions. Learn More

Developing students' intellectual flexibility by having them build cases for cause-effect hypothesis, then have them probe other hypotheses and the weaknesses of their own arguments.

Analysis - Identifying the elements of something complex and the relationships among those elements.

Understanding the structure of something is crucial for thinking critically about it, and this module will help you develop your students' abilities to understand how parts of something relate to each other and to a whole. Learn More

Analysis consists of identifying as many aspects of an issue or concept. Discussion assignments based on the familiar "pros and cons" format can help students sharpen their analytical skills.

Inference - Drawing a logical conclusion from premises, evidence and sometimes assumptions.

Slowing down the meaning-making process to identify its logical steps can equip students to evaluate the validity of claims made both in and out of the classroom.
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The role assumptions play in logical conclusion, and how assumptions influenced our scientific understanding of the nature of fire.

Synthesis - Combining separate elements to create something new.

Cultivating this intellectual skill enables colleges and universities fulfill their mission of equipping students to create new knowledge. Learn More

An approach placing students in the shoes of competing factions who have to generate a joint statement upon which they can all agree.

Featured Teaching Strategy

Writing - Using writing assignments of various kinds to stimulate critical thinking.

This module provides insights and techniques to help you support your students learning with formal, informal, and personal writing assignments. Learn More

Dr. Lai, Asian Studies Department, designs her course into three sections, which build into critical intellectual exchange among students.

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Halpern's Framework for Teaching Critical Thinking

Develop Critical Thinking Attitude
Critical Thinking Skills Training
Use Skills in New Contexts

Critical Thinking Skills

Determining Causality

Teaching Strategy



Anderson, L. W., & Krathwohl, D. R. (Eds.). (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching and assessing: A revision of Bloom's Taxonomy of educational objectives. New York: Longman.

Chaffee, J. (1997). Thinking critically.Boston, MA: Houghton-Mifflin. 

Paul, R.W. (1995). Critical thinking: How to prepare students for a rapidly changing world. Santa Rosa, CA: Foundation for Critical Thinking.

Nelson, J. (2005). Cultivating judgment: A sourcebook for teaching critical thinking. Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press.

Wolcott, S.K. (2006, February). Steps for better thinking: A developmental problem solving process. [online]