The 21st-century learning skills are often called the 4 C’s: critical thinking, creative thinking, communicating, and collaborating. These skills help students learn, and so they are vital to success in school and beyond.
Critical thinking is focused, careful analysis of something to better understand it. When people speak of “left-brain” activity, they are usually referring to critical thinking. Here are some of the main critical-thinking abilities:
Analyzing is breaking something down into its parts, examining each part, and noting how the parts fit together.
Arguing is using a series of statements connected logically together, backed by evidence, to reach a conclusion.
Classifying is identifying the types or groups of something, showing how each category is distinct from the others.
Comparing and contrasting is pointing out the similarities and differences between two or more subjects.
Defining is explaining the meaning of a term using denotation, connotation, example, etymology, synonyms, and antonyms.
Describing is explaining the traits of something, such as size, shape, weight, color, use, origin, value, condition, location, and so on.
Evaluating is deciding on the worth of something by comparing it against an accepted standard of value.
Explaining is telling what something is or how it works so that others can understand it.
Problem-solving is analyzing the causes and effects of a problem and finding a way to stop the causes or the effects.
Tracking cause and effect is determining why something is happening and what results from it.