With critical thinking comes questions, questions, and more questions. As we apply such skills in our everyday lives, be it for academic purposes or not, the quality of questions we ask plays a significant role in their continuing development. In other words, the better the questions we ask, the better the results that we receive.
The following question strategies cover self-directed learning and learning reflections, as well as critical thinking questions that can be used in any content area. We’ll begin, however, by looking at a 5-step process for asking the most meaningful questions possible.
Asking good questions is a cornerstone of learning and living, and of critical thinking. So much of our success in life depends on asking the right questions. But how do we actually do it? It’s simple if you have a process like the one below.
This framework goes hand in hand with taking ownership of learning. Each stage has guiding questions attached to it, and are things students can consider to help them ask good questions:
This free poster features these 5 categories for developing good questions, with all the exploratory points for each one included.
The framework below features 10 self-directed learning questions broken down into further key points for consideration. This is by no means a complete framework but is intended as a basic guideline for further exploration and development. It’s also a terrific critical thinking exercise that works on deep skills for research and knowledge use.
Have learners use these points to examine the value of each question as they consider how to apply it to their own self-directed learning pursuits.
Successfully debriefing learning means having solid and meaningful reflective questions to use. No matter what you’re teaching, every learner can benefit from asking reflective questions at the end of their journey. We have a list of 15 here that are pretty much the only ones they’ll ever need.
Our most popular resource, the Critical Thinking Skills Cheatsheet, contains almost 50 critical thinking questions students can use for practically any content area. It includes question categories for Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How. Each section has eight questions that begin with their corresponding word.
These questions are meant to be versatile and broad, and applicable to a range of topics. They’re also great potential conversation starters and fillers. You can download a free 11″ x 17″ copy of this poster by clicking on the image below.