Research: Critical thinking requires practice

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Exercising your critical thinking muscle

We now live in a world where Siri, Alexa, and Google can answer straightforward questions in a matter of seconds.

So when it comes to educating our students, there’s almost no doubt that teaching our students how to think critically is an essential skill.

Our guest in Episode 205 has conducted research that takes what we know about teaching critical thinking further.

Emily Fyfe is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University. Dr. Fyfe and her colleagues have released their latest findings in a “Scalable, Versatile Approach for Improving Critical Thinking Skills.”

Their findings give us insight into how we can strengthen our critical thinking muscles.

What did they do?

Fyfe says they were inspired to do the research because people are honestly not very good at critical thinking.

“Just because you are educated, or you attended a class, or you graduated from college doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a better critical thinker, and that seemed like a problem,” says Fyfe.

In their study, all participants started the experiment by taking a pre-test and receiving basic training about critical thinking.

But afterward, only one group of participants spent time having “critical training practice.”

Meanwhile, a second group received “non-critical thinking practice,” and a third group received no practice of any kind.

After the practice, all participants participated in a post-test.

As a result, those in the critical thinking practice scored better on the post-test than the pre-test. However, the people in the other conditions experienced minimal improvements.

To learn more about the study and why it’s important to exercise our critical thinking muscles listen to Episode 205 of the Class Dismissed podcast. You can listen to the latest episode of Class Dismissed on your favorite podcast app or iTunes.

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