Jamie Goodwin

Can Thinking Be Taught in the Classroom?

can thinking be taught in the classroom

Can thinking be taught in the classroom? I believe that students already have the tools they need to think for themselves. However, they need help learning how to apply it. To do this, use some of these ways to teach your students how to think.

Be Honest When You Don’t Have the Answer

As teachers, we often feel that we need to be the person that students can turn to for all the answers. We don’t want to look stupid or lose authority by admitting that we don’t know something. In actuality, telling students when you don’t have the answer can have a positive impact on them. They realize that it’s okay not to know the answer. It’s okay to think differently from others. So, if you don’t know an answer or have a different answer than your students, be honest with them and let them know.

Encourage Students to Ask Questions

With the Internet, there’s a lot of opinions floating around. It’s important for students to question everything and find answers on their own. Teach students that they shouldn’t accept everything as truth. Encourage students to ask questions. Then, push them to conduct research and discover the truth for themselves.

Allow Students to Make Choices

Part of thinking for yourself involves making your own choices about your education. This could involve allowing students to choose their own writing prompt, project, or essay topic. Think about ways to provide students with options, so they can practice thinking for themselves and taking responsibility for their own learning.

Choose Alternative Assessments Instead of Tests

For most tests, students memorize information and repeat it back to you. It doesn’t require them to think critically. To get students to really apply what they’ve learned, find alternate ways to assess their learning. Projects, essays, class activities, and other methods can be just as effective while pushing students to think about what they’re learning in a new way.

Have Students Try New Things

Encourage students to step outside of their comfort zone and try new things. Some of the things they could do include:

  • Writing poems
  • Acting in a play
  • Making something new
  • Serving others

As students stretch themselves beyond what they thought they were capable of, they’ll have the opportunity to learn about themselves and think a little deeper.

Provide Opportunities for Meditation

To get students thinking, why not create a time to think during class? Opportunities for meditation could allow students to think about how they think. For example, have students plan out projects and other activities before they do it. After they’re done, they can meditate to reflect on what they did and how they would do things differently.

Can thinking be taught in the classroom? Maybe not. But with the right planning and lessons, you can create an environment that encourages them to think critically on their own.


  • Jamie Goodwin

    Jamie graduated from Brigham Young University- Idaho with a degree in English Education. She spent several years teaching and tutoring students at the elementary, high school, and college level. She currently works as a contract writer and curriculum developer for online education courses. In her free time, she enjoys running and spending time with her boys!

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