How to Engage Students in Higher Order Thinking

Using an inventory of students’ thinking processes to improve teaching and learning can help you create meaningful activities. Other strategies include using “real-world” examples, student-learning objectives, and creative higher-order thinking. Below are some tips for engaging students in higher-order thinking. Each technique can help your students achieve higher-quality learning. Using a thinking inventory is a great way to get started! And, with a little research, you’ll soon have more questions than answers!

Creating a thinking inventory

Using a thinking inventory to guide learning can be an effective tool for teachers and scholars alike. A thinking inventory formalizes the course’s aims and invites students of all levels to participate in the conversation from day one. Students who are naturally high achievers are challenged by these questions, and introverted students will find an entry point into the conversation. The inventory can also create a sense of community among students.

Using student-learning objectives

A common challenge in higher education is the lack of appropriate assessments of students’ ability to engage in higher-order thinking. Although many tests measure students’ ability to apply knowledge, many do not accurately assess their abilities. Using student-learning objectives to engage students in higher-order thinking can help you identify areas for improvement. Here are three ways to assess student thinking:

Using “real-world” examples

Real-world examples encourage higher order thinking by challenging students to understand concepts beyond their rote memorization. They may be challenged to think of solutions that do not solve the underlying problems but do have the potential for improvement. Such “real-world” examples also emphasize the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to solving problems. Moreover, they encourage students to be creative by using different problem-solving methods.

Using creative higher-order thinking

Incorporating high-order thinking activities into your classroom will help your students think more critically. There are many different ways to approach this activity, including incorporating a reflective component into the lesson plan and planning time for assessment. Incorporating this element into your classes will allow you to see the types of higher-order thinking your students are capable of and use this information to plan future lessons. Incorporating reflection into your lessons is an excellent way to see how students are thinking about their learning and how they can apply it to solve problems.

Using metacognition

Using metacognition in the classroom requires instructors to monitor student learning and make intentional adjustments based on student performance. For example, if a class is showing signs of disengagement from the class, the instructor can redouble her efforts to make explicit connections between symbols on the board and previous guesstimate exercises. This way, students will be actively engaged in higher-order thinking. Teachers should also use metacognition to encourage students to develop and apply higher order thinking.

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