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Engaging students in critical thinking and action processes

Students can use a range of processes to engage in critical thinking and critical action. The set of questions, the action competence process, and the experiential learning cycle presented below can all be used across the three disciplines of health education, physical education, and home economics.

Questions for critical thinking

  • What do you know about this issue or situation?
  • How did you come to know this?
  • How do you feel about this issue or situation?
  • What is the evidence for this knowledge?
  • What are your beliefs about this knowledge? And why do you believe this?
  • What information is missing from this picture?
  • Why is this information missing?
  • Have the social, cultural, economic, political, and/or ethical aspects of this situation been considered?
  • Whose voice is heard in this writing, article, or classroom activity?
  • Whose interests are being served? Who has the power in this situation?
  • Who is being advantaged?
  • Who is not being heard or served?
  • Who is being disadvantaged?
  • What are the inequalities that exist in this situation?
  • What needs to change?
  • How can you contribute to this change?

Source: Based on Brookfield, 1995, and Smyth, 1992 in the New Zealand Curriculum.