These are the Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) which need teachers to practice them as well while teaching. Content is the bedrock on which teachers can help students to develop these skills. As students move from Lower Order Thinking skills (LOTS) to HOTS, they start focussing on these very important skills.
Some interesting activities that provide focus on these ‘21st century skills’ to my students are:
Draw pictures to show a particular event / make a colouring book: This activity is for a very creative mind and a very good technique for students to remember an important event in the text.
Make up a puzzle or a game about the topic of study: The sky is the limit for this activity as students can create vocabulary games or quizzes about quotes / characters, points of interest. This activity also takes care of collaboration as it works best with groups.
‘Gamification’ can enhance and bring out creativity as well as critical thinking skills.
Write a biography of any one of the characters: Writing a biography needs an in depth analysis of characters. This can also be taken up as a follow up activity of ‘interview with ------------- (character)’.
Dramatise the content: One of the best collaborative activities, dramatisation brings out the best from all the students involved as everyone has something to contribute.
Conduct a debate about an issue of special interest: Debating is a skill which needs a critical analysis of the issue. It also brings out the best reasoning abilities of students.
Write a different ending to the story /play: This activity would bring out the critical thinking and creative skills of students, the teacher may ask the students to justify the ending that they have thought of for the particular story / play.
Make an acrostic: https://www.youngwriters.co.uk/types-acrostic - This site gives different types of acrostics.
A few questions to make students think creatively and critically are:
1. What do you think could have happened next?
2. Do you know of another instance where...?
3. What would you change in the story?
4. From the information given, develop a set of instructions about ...?
5. What do you see as possible outcomes? Why?
6. Why did ..... changes occur?
7. What was the turning point? Why?
8. What was the problem with...?
9. How would you have handled...?
10. What are the pros and cons of ...?
11. If you had access to all resources, how would you deal with...?
12. What are the alternatives?
This is just the tip of the iceberg. There is no end or limit to being creative in enhancing these skills that our students need to be competent in. Today’s teachers have endless resources and have online forums where they are able to collaborate with their colleagues from all over the globe. Best practices can be picked up and /or can be moulded to suit the needs of their students.