The Importance of Critical Thinking Skills in Higher Secondary Education

Critical thinking skills are sadly quite overlooked by many institutions of learning across various levels. It may sound ironic but it is the truth today that the majority of high school students need to seriously brush up on this aspect of their skill sets. According to one survey, just 1 in 4 students believe their peers have reasonable critical thinking skills so a lot still needs to be done. Today, we start by focusing the spotlight on the roles that these skills have to play, more so when it comes to higher secondary school education. 

It is the launchpad for adaptive learning

Most students pursuing higher secondary education in India and the world really fuel on some standard set of reading materials such as books. Without the requisite critical thinking skills, children tend to limit their thinking to the print. So much so that it leads to the same ideas and strategies for doing things. 

Nurturing a student’s analytical skills and the ability to think beyond the book is where true innovation comes alive. Critical thinking often leads to refreshing ideas and new perspectives without necessarily having to reinvent the wheel. From an academic point of view, this enables students to also adapt to examinations and tests that are twisted from the mainstream curriculum but essentially test the same concept. 

Critical thinking improves student engagement 

According to a Gallup Survey, only 47% of students say they are actively engaged. Cultivating critical thinking skills could be key toward changing that statistic for the better, as they improve engagement in the following ways

  • Questions- Critical thinkers don’t just accept things for what they are. They ask questions and interrogate concepts
  • Consult- Students with critical thinking skills tend to discuss with their peers and teachers as well. They seek clarification readily when they don’t comprehend a topic or concept
  • Going the extra mile- Fueled by curiosity, critical thinkers tend to read ahead of the topic and put in the time to research. This improves understanding of the subject matter, thus enabling them to participate more actively during lessons 

With critical thinking skills, student engagement goes up. This improvement leads to more fun and interactive learning that also develops life and social skills, which also have their roles to play in the higher secondary education process. 

Academic success follows suit

Critical thinking skills are one of the essential pillars of academic success. They are at the core of the learning process as they enable students to know how to come to an understanding of what they’ve learned based on their own expertise and observations. 

It also improves performance in the classroom by enabling students to better deal with problems. They are more resilient and receptive to new challenges e.g. being able to take new topics in their strides. 

Moreover, critical thinking skills build a student’s ability to relate what they learn in the classroom to the real world. They can better connect theory and practicality, leading to even better knowledge acquisition and retention. 

Decision-making skills go up

As students get better at approaching situations analytically and thinking beyond what facts or data imply, their ability to make well-informed decisions also improves. This becomes more pivotal during the high school years when children need to make some tough and really important decisions about their lives. One of those is what opportunities to peruse in terms of a career option. 

Students who are critical thinkers can separate fact from opinion and fiction. They can weigh their pursuits more objectively, with the ability to dig deep to get details around a potential career path’s: 

  • Fulfillment
  • Sustainability
  • Compatibility in terms of which skills or personality the student possesses

Critical thinkers tend to be more aware of their abilities and limitations. They have excellent self-awareness, which will also help to inform what course they eventually end up studying at the university level. 

Students become happier at school 

Able to understand their thoughts and feelings much better than the average student, critical thinkers are also likely to be happier at school. That’s because they can get to the bottom of their motivations for learning, and have higher emotional literacy than most. 

Critical thinking skills also enable students to discern parts of the higher education system that don’t sit well with them. They can change parts of their school life, as well as implement other changes at a personal level, to ensure higher content levels at school. 

As a ripple effect, great student satisfaction with their schools also means improved behavior, accelerated learning, and better health, all of which are important factors in the education system.  

Critical thinking improves education quality

Critical thinking is central to success in any higher secondary education system. It is the foundation upon which research skills, creativity, and problem-solving all advance. Moreover, these skills also spark curiosity which is the fuel of any learning process worth its salt. Students and teachers must therefore take active measures to build and hone critical thinking skills among learners. It is a skill that will serve students well beyond their high school years.