What is Critical Thinking and How it Connects 21st Century Skills to CBSE Curriculum?

Learn how as teachers, you can introduce students to critical thinking in answering competency-based questions in a better way.

<red> December 27th, 2022 <red>

Why Teachers Need a Different Approach to Teach Critical Thinking in Schools?

There is no specific definition for 21st century skill. But if we want to understand it, we can say that they are thoughts which need to be essential for students' ability to function and participate in today’s world. Learning is a lifelong and holistic process.

So, when the students are able to effectively perform and fulfil his/her responsibility and duties towards self, school, family, society and nation. Then the goal is to enable today’s students to be good and responsible citizens who are well aware of their potentials and competence. 

Basic First Skill: Learning Skill

The 21st Century skills are essentially the outcome of experiential learning, i.e. they are imbibed through observing, understanding, practising and experiencing. So, they are categorised into a structure. But in this segment we are talking about the ways of implementing critical thinking skills in the teaching-learning process. 

Different Ways of Thinking

Students can be motivated to think differently by the teacher. A student can think Critically and Creatively for Solving a Problem or to come up with any Decision Making. 

Critical Thinking 

A teacher can motivate their students to think critically so that they can use and react to reasoning appropriate situations.

For making their students’ think critically, teachers should push their students to think:

  • What’s Happening?

Teachers should encourage the students to gather the basic information regarding the topic and begin to think of different questions.

For example: If a teacher introduces the pattern of letter writing to students, the first thing to think about is the types of letters one can write. After knowing the types of letters, let the students analyse whom they want to write the letter and what information they want to share in the letter. 

CBSE Class 10 English Toppers Answer Sheet of Letter Writing

  • Why is it Important?

It is always necessary to know for the teachers as well as for the students why the topic is so important to teach and learn.

For example: Learning something related to Science and Mathematics raises the curiosity in students' minds. One should know why topics like real numbers or chemical reactions are important to learn by giving them examples of real-life activities.

Teacher showing students a practical and students are learning it very well 

  • What Don’t I See?

Teachers should always enhance the feeling of knowing something new from the students. It is advisable for the teachers to ask open-ended questions to the students. 

For example: A teacher gives an assignment on Global Warming–What major effects it has on the Earth temperature? This question makes students think about the effects of Global Warming on the environment and solution by keeping in mind whether they are catering to all points or not?

Students Making Project on Major Effects of Global Warming

  • How Do I Know ?

With the help of the open-ended questions students’ has to divert their mind from the normal thinking process to the critical thinking process. While doing this encourages the students to do Inquiry-based learning or Experiential- based learning. By doing this they will learn how to get an understanding of the answers.

For example: If a teacher teaches a topic related to soil erosion, she can encourage students to find out the reason for falling trees by letting them experience and inquire about the topic with the school gardner or any other. 

All students participating in class activity with a feeling of participation


We have already seen that ‘Thinking’ itself is a skill. Every individual possesses the skill to think critically. When a teacher motivates students with justice, values and integrity, Critical Thinking can be of a great service to humanity.

For this reason, the development of critical thinking and dispositions is a life-long endeavour which requires students to think in a clear, rational, logical and independent manner. With the basic strategies to shake their comfort zone so that they can reach out in every possible way, take a decision and come up with an answer. 

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