Research Conversations: Critical Thinking

Author: Leader in Me
February 23, 2024


In this episode of Change Starts Here: Research Conversations, cognitive neuroscientist Eve Miller, Ph.D, and former educators Jennifer Chevalier, Ed.D. and Kim Yaris, M.Ed. discuss critical thinking. They delve into the foundations of critical thinking, focusing on often overlooked, but essential, skills like emotion regulation, intellectual humility, and active listening, crucial for effective debate and understanding diverse perspectives.


Critical thinking is the skill of engaging in deep, analytical thinking to make well-informed decisions. It involves seeking understanding; exploring all available options; questioning before taking action; considering the impact on others; applying basic decision-making steps; evaluating multiple factors; predicting outcomes; and utilizing critical thinking skills throughout the decision-making process.

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3 Tips for Fostering High-Level Critical Thinking in Students

  1. Encourage emotion regulation: Supporting students’ ability to recognize and understand their emotions, triggers, and responses by pausing to take a breath, helps clear the path for greater critical thinking.
  2. Cultivate intellectual humility: Teaching students the value of curiosity over judgment encourages them to genuinely listen and consider different viewpoints, fostering an environment where diverse ideas are explored and respected. 
  3. Practice active listening: Guiding students to maintain eye contact and repeating the last few words spoken by the other person aids in resisting the urge to respond impulsively and ensures students fully engage with the speaker’s ideas. 


More Information

Understanding How the Brain Thinks

In this article, Judy Willis discusses how understanding the brain works can help educators develop students’ highest thinking skills. 

5 Questions to Improve Critical Thinking Skills 

In this article, Helen Lee Bouygues shares five questions that help people better analyze their thought processes. 

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