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Curriculum & Leadership Journal
An electronic journal for leaders in education
ISSN: 1448-0743
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Skills for the 21st Century: teaching higher order thinking

Robyn Collins

It is hard to imagine a teacher or school leader who is not aware of the importance of teaching higher-order thinking skills to prepare young men and women to live in the 21st Century. However, the extent to which higher-order thinking skills are taught and assessed continues to be an area of debate. Higher-order thinking has been defined in terms of three concepts: student's capacity to apply the knowledge and skills to new situations; critical thinking; and problem solving. Using the Bloom's Taxonomy, teachers have a framework available to them that allows them to scaffold the teaching of thinking skills in a structured way. This includes teaching the language and concepts of higher-order thinking; planning classroom questioning and discussion time to tap into particular higher-order thinking skills; and explicitly teaching key concepts in each subject area. 


Subject Headings

Thought and thinking
Teaching and learning