Questions for Your Students to Learn to Think

April 15, 2020
Helping students learn to think is very important. In this article, we'll show you some ways that you can do this in your classroom.

We are going to talk about what it means to always have some questions ready so that students learn to think. Teaching isn’t just about learning, but also learning to think, meditating, reflecting and understanding.

Learning is a complex process. Understanding a concept and getting the right answer on a test is great. In addition, it can lead to success in education.

Of course, it’s important not to lose sight of testing. However, you need to also know why we understand a concept, or how we got to the right answer.

The article “An Analysis of Research on Metacognitive Teaching Strategies” by Arthur K. Ellis, David W. Denton and John B. Bond states that the definition of metacognition has changed over the years.

“Metacognition is thinking about your own thinking or recognizing your own thinking process, including reflection and self-evaluation.”

In this study, you can see the different metacognitive teaching strategies. Also, you can see their relationship with student success. This way, the authors highlight several effective teaching strategies for all kinds of students that help them learn to think.

Questions for Your Students to Learn to Think

Types of metacognition

Although we can simply describe metacognition as “thinking about thinking,” John Hurley Flavell, often considered the founder of this word, divides it into three parts:

  • Knowing the strategy you used to learn something
  • Understanding the type of task you used
  • Understanding your strengths and weaknesses

Knowing the strategy for students to learn to think

There are several strategies that can help you learn to think. Understanding the process helps determine the strategies that are good for an individual student.

As the study mentioned, learning strategies like thinking out loud of making positive statements are two great processes that support self-assessment.

Understanding the type of task

Knowing the task requires students to understand the objectives of what they’re learning. In addition to understanding learning strategies, students need to be able to determine when and where to use them.

Self-awareness

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses is key when it comes to learning to think. In fact, it’s essential not just to learn, but to understand why and how learning occurs on a personal level.

Questions for students to learn to think

One way to make your students learn to think is to ask them certain questionsAlso, make sure they’re very specific questions. Here are some examples:

Make students learn to think before an activity

  • What do I want to achieve?
  • What should I do first?
  • Does this remind me of something I’ve done before?
  • What is the goal of this?
Questions for Your Students to Learn to Think

During an activity

  • Am I doing this right?
  • How many ways can I think of to solve it?
  • What can I do differently?
  • Who can I ask for help?

After an activity

  • What worked well?
  • What could I have done better?
  • Can I apply this to other situations?
  • Could I add something else to this solution?
  • Could I argue against my final decision?

Benefits of learning to think

The main benefit is that it helps students be responsible and independentHaving control of your learning process is a great tool to succeed. In addition, it can boost academic performance.

Therefore, remember that it’s important to teach students the importance of reflective thinking. Also, encourage them to make critical reflections of their surroundings, life, experiences, and learning processes.

  • Arthur K. Ellis, David W. Denton and John B. Bond. An Analysis of Research on Metacognitive Teaching Strategies. Elsevier. 2014.
  • Barell, J. Teaching for thoughtfulness: Classroom strategies to enhance intellectual development. White Plains, NY: Longman. (1991).