Critical thinking

Here we examine how critical thinking skills can be used by students across all content areas and its importance in processing large amounts of data.

What is critical thinking?

The Australian Curriculum defines critical thinking as "at the core of most intellectual activity that involves students learning to recognise or develop an argument, use evidence in support of that argument, draw reasoned conclusions, and use information to solve problems."

This definition includes behaviours such as explaining, evaluating, analysing and hypothesising. Critical thinking is also classified as a general capability. This means that it can be developed both across and within different subject domains.

It is widely agreed that critical thinking is a necessary capability across all content areas, and in a rapidly changing world.

How to teach critical thinking

Teaching critical thinking is an area of continued research and understanding. Some common features that students need to become critical thinkers include:

  • deep content-rich knowledge to tackle cross-disciplinary, and diverse problems

  • inquiry and self-correction based on reflection on other's arguments

  • experience in applying critical thinking skills

  • flexible and content-rich curriculum

  • reflective teaching

To find out more:

The position of critical thinking as a general capability, highlights its importance across all key learning areas. This is likely to become increasingly important as students will need to sift through large amounts of data, understand its source, and make decisions as to its accuracy.

Critical thinking resources

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