Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intell
ectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness. It entails the examination of those structures or elements of thought implicit in all reasoning: purpose, problem, or question-at-issue, assumptions, concepts, empirical grounding; reasoning leading to conclusions, implications and consequences, objections from alternative viewpoints, and frame of reference.
This definition comes from a statement written in 1987 by Michael Scriven and Richard Paul, National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking, an organization promoting critical thinking in the US.

Why critical thinking important for 21st century students?

Preparing a child for the world that doesn’t yet exist is not an easy task for any teacher. If want our children to thrive in 21st century complicated world, we definitely have to teach them how to think from different perspectives.
Every parent wants their kids to thrive, but they might not have clear consensus about how to put them into the path to future success. Should we teach our kids to learn codes, learn English, Hindi, and French etc? Those may be great but might not be enough to respond to complex problem, comprehend new information.
If we want our children to have flexible minds that can readily absorb new information and respond to complex problems, you need to develop their critical thinking skills.
We need to give students an opportunity to grapple with questions that don’t necessarily have one correct answer. This is more realistic of the types of situations that they’re likely to face when they get outside the classroom.
How can we encourage kids to think critically from an early age? Through an activity that every child is already an expert at — asking questions

Empower and Strategize students to think outside the box

Let them dig deeper into subject matter exercise and have them think from different directions to solve the problem

Go beyond “what?” And ask “how?” and “why?”

Follow up with “How do you know this?”

Prompt them to think about how their perspective may differ from other people.

Ask them how to solve this problem. Go beyond and ask specific question as below
  • Could you elaborate further on that point?
  • Will you express that point in another way?
  • Can you give me an illustration?
  • Would you give me an example?
  • Will you provide more details?
  • Could you be more specific?
  • Do we need to consider another point of view?
  • Is there another way to look at this question?