The writing industry professionals from shared interesting insights: undergraduate students have troubles in expressing their problem-solving and critical thinking skills through writing. That’s why they often seek assistance with such papers.

As an educator, you have a responsibility to encourage the students to develop critical thinking skills.

For that purpose, you assign essays on various topics that should entice students to defend their points of view. Is that the only thing you should do? Of course not!

Assigning an essay is only part of the process. There are many missing links that make your students incapable of improving their critical thinking skills. We’ll share few tips on how you can inspire them to develop these skills through writing.

1. Don’t give up on writing assignments

Let’s be honest: most students don’t like writing essays. That’s the biggest reason why they are not good at it. However, that doesn’t mean you should just turn to debates. Sure, debates are great, but a writing project gives the students more time to research, form opinions, and express them in a believable way.

Research shows that the students who are engaged in writing show significant improvement in their critical thinking performance. The conclusion is simple: your students need these assignments; you should just get them engaged.

2. Give them practical topics

Despite the fact that critical thinking assignments are received with negativity by the students, they can become interesting when you relate the topics to practical issues.

For example, you can find information about people being attacked by stray dogs. Present some facts. How many people have been attacked by dogs in your area throughout last year?

Ask them to express opinions: who should be held responsible and how can the local government solve that issue? How can we all contribute? You’ll get papers with different opinions, which can trigger a healthy discussion in the classroom.

3. Teach!

Do you know why most students struggle with critical thinking assignments? Their teachers don’t bother explaining what the paper should look like. These are the components they need to cover, and you should teach them how to do that:

  • Inference – an ability to consider different approaches and derive logical conclusions.
  • Recognising assumptions – differentiating facts from assumptions and see how assumptions affect the different approaches.
  • Deduction – an ability to move from general truths to specific conclusions, as well as to recognise if the claims in different approaches can be logically drawn from evidence.
  • Interpretation – seeing if the different approaches can lead to logical conclusions and arguments.
  • Evaluation of arguments – making a difference between strong and weak, and relevant and irrelevant arguments.

The best way to encourage critical thinking skills is to present a great sample essay and analyse these aspects.

When they understand how it’s done, it will be easier for them to express their opinions in a logical pattern.

4. Let them play detectives

Critical thinking skills are crucial in solving crimes.

Everyone loves a good mystery, so you can assign projects related to crime.

You can easily think of a crime in almost every niche. If you teach literature, you can ask them to explore a plagiarism issue.

If you teach history, you can focus on war crimes. Math? You can think of a crime related to accounting.

Ask your students to find and evaluate evidence. An intriguing crime will definitely inspire them to make the effort.

The ultimate tip: practise makes them better

Good critical thinking skills lead to outstanding essay writing.

However, it works in the other way, too: constant writing practice will improve the student’s critical thinking skills. With that, you prepare them for success in any profession.

It is important for teachers to motivate their students to invest as much effort as possible in these assignments.

You can’t inspire them through vague talks. You need to alter your approach and guide them through the process, so they will understand that critical thinking is a fun skill to showcase through writing.