Learning Resources Bank

Using the ‘35 Dimensions of Critical Thought’ to increase engagement with critical thinking and to stimulate reflective practice

1. The student is asked to read the list of ‘35 dimensions of critical thought’ and the explanations that follow, understand the various aspects of critical thinking described there and to think about how each of the listed dimensions applies to the study and practice of history. This part of the task works well as a group discussion where it is possible to tease out the meaning of some of the more difficult concepts and to discuss suitable applications.

2. For ultimate effect the assessment task should be based around a short research essay task or content-based research exercise. Students are asked to use the ‘35 dimensions of critical thought’ to help them approach the research task more critically and with greater self-awareness.

3. After the research essay has been written, using the 35 dimensions as an analytical tool, students are then asked to refer again to the list and think about which dimensions they have used most productively in the research essay task and any difficulties they encountered when trying to write History more critically. This involves reflecting on the essay task but also gives students another opportunity to engage with critical thinking as a concept. The reflective exercise is written as a 500 word reflection appended to the end of the research task and refers specifically to the student’s approaching their work as an active Historian. Materials Required www.criticalthinking.org/pages/strategy-list-35-dimensions