At Lourdes Hill College, learning and teaching continue to develop with an emphasis on educating students for the future. This includes maintaining focus on significant emerging curriculum directions.
The Australian Curriculum general capabilities are a key component of the current and future direction of education. The general capabilities “encompass the knowledge, skills, behaviours and dispositions that, together with curriculum content in each learning area and the cross-curriculum priorities, will assist students to live and work successfully in the twenty-first century” (ACARA 2015).
One of the key general capabilities is critical and creative thinking. These ways of thinking are both challenging and empowering for students. Competency in critical and creative thinking gives learners the ability to develop autonomy and flexibility in problem-solving, enterprise, innovation and intellectual activity, as well as preparing them to engage with new and varied challenges.
In LHC Senior Drama, creative thinking tends to thrive, while the complexities of critical thinking can be a significant challenge for students. This has brought critical thinking into the spotlight over the past few years, resulting in research and refinement to help empower Drama students to be confident critical thinkers. The outcomes, however, are relevant for all learners and teachers, across the curriculum.
Three key considerations for learning (and teaching) critical thinking have emerged from my research and development:
- Critical thinking skills are embedded across the curriculum, so it can be difficult for learners to identify explicitly when these are being practised or taught. Look for the connections between the type of thinking in different subjects, as well as the particular words being used to describe what learners need to do (analyse, synthesise, evaluate, etc.) – the thinking skills are the same, even though the subject matter is different.
- Critical thinking actually incorporates a great number of different ways of thinking. The brain needs to work in different ways to analyse (consider the detail or parts), synthesise (link things together), reason (provide logical justification), and evaluate (provide judgement). Most brains can’t do all of these things at once. When trying to build an argument that requires multiple critical thinking approaches, it is helpful to break down the thinking into parts, and explore each individually, before building them into a final argument or essay.
- When learners improve critical thinking in one subject area, they should be encouraged to apply this confidence and skill to other critical thinking challenges too.
In order to achieve success in critical thinking, it is fundamental to be aware of and confident with the sophisticated processes and strategies involved. The rewards of developing both critical and creative thinking are far-reaching, as they are for all of the general capabilities, giving relevance to knowledge in wider aspects of learning and life.
Arts Faculty Coordinator
In order to achieve success in critical thinking, it is fundamental to be aware of and confident with the sophisticated processes and strategies involved.