Would you like to learn how to think critically?

Posted on 1st November, 2020, under Projects, Research

Critical Thinking

In today’s post, I thought I would write about what it is to think critically. But what exactly is critical thinking? let’s start by clarifying the oblivious! All humans think, how else would we ever make a decision. For example, will I get out of bed on this cold wet winter morning? Or will I stay in bed and avoid the forces of mother nature? However, this is not critical thinking! This is simply “thinking”. Critical thinking is a process of many elements. Let’s take a look at some ideas of critical thinking in education

Bloom’s Taxonomy (1956)

In 1956, Benjamin Bloom and his colleagues created what has come to be known as Bloom’s Taxonomy.
What is this?
This is a system designed to classify and organise learning objectives. It is a hierarchical model where each learning objective must be mastered before moving on to the next more complex stage of learning.

The original six key categories were

Knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation. Think about thoughts as building blocks: you cannot put the third block on until you have constructed the first and second block.

Revised Taxonomy (2001)

As education evolves so does our understanding of how children learn to make sense of the world. Hence, Anderson and Krathwohl’s (2001) made amendments to Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Updated Categories

Remember, understand, apply, analyse, evaluate, create.
It was proposed that a strategic line of questioning would engage children in deep thinking. It was also suggested that working with children using questioning techniques would help the adult to improve their teaching practice.

Critical Thinking and Book Talk

Mary Roche, an Irish educator and author developed the concept of teaching critical thinking skills by selecting quality picturebooks to help children see the world from many perspectives. Roche (2015) provides insights into how adults can foster critical thinking in children by using open-ended questions. See below for an example.

Before the story ask

What is the name of a person who writes books?
What is the author telling us?
Why did the illustrator picked these colours and images?
What will the story will be about?

After the story ask

Was anyone right about the storyline?
Was there an underlying message?
Could we tell the story from a different perspective?
How would you write your story?

Engaging in critical thinking and book-talk techniques (see Roche, 2015) help children become active agents in their learning.

The Uniqueness of Children

However, not every child will learn in the same way or at the same time as their peers and this is as it should be. Each child is an individual with his or her strengths and challenges (just like us grown-ups). We need to listen to what children have to say, teach them to listen to others, and allow enough thinking time for children to make sense of their experiences. Consequently, children and adults develop together as a community of learners.

Listen,Talk and Reflect

Listening, talking and reflecting with children will change how they think about themselves as individuals and how they think about themselves concerning others. I hope you found some value in this post.

Thanks for reading. Until next time, keep LearningALOUD


Anderson and Krathwohl, D. R. (2002). A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy: An overview. Theory into practice, 41(4), 212-218.

Roche, M. (2014). Developing children’s critical thinking through picturebooks: A guide for primary and early years students and teachers. Routledge.

Sosniak, L. A. (1994). Bloom’s taxonomy. L. W. Anderson (Ed.). Chicago, IL: Univ. Chicago Press.

Catherine (Kitty) O'Reilly
Catherine (Kitty) O'Reilly Collage

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