PART IV. CORE THINKING SKILLS
Thinking skills are relatively specific cognitive operations that can be considered the "building blocks" of thinking. The following (1) have a sound basis in the research and theoretical literature, (2) are important for students to be able to do, and (3) can be taught and reinforced in school.
FOCUSING SKILLS - attending to selected pieces of information and ignoring others.
1. Defining problems: clarifying needs, discrepancies, or puzzling situations.
2. Setting goals: establishing direction and purpose.
INFORMATION GATHERING SKILLS - bringing to consciousness the relative data needed for cognitive processing.
3. Observing: obtaining information through one or more senses.
4. Formulating questions: seeing new information through inquiry.
REMEMBERING SKILLS - storing and retrieving information.
5. Encoding: storing information in long-term memory.
6. Recalling: retrieving information from long-term memory.
ORGANIZING SKILLS - arranging information so it can be used more effectively.
7. Comparing: noting similarities and differences between or among entities.
8. Classifying: grouping and labeling entities on the basis of their attributes.
9. Ordering: sequencing entities according to a giver criterion.
10. Representing: changing the form, but not the substance of information.
ANALYZING SKILLS - clarifying existing information by examining parts and relationships.
11. Identifying attributes and components: determining characteristics or the parts of something.
12. Identifying relationships and patterns: recognizing ways elements are related.
13. Identifying main ideas: identifying the central element; for example the hierarchy of key ideas in a message or line of reasoning.
14. Identifying errors: recognizing logical fallacies and other mistakes and, where possible, correcting them.
GENERATING SKILLS - producing new information, meaning or ideas.
15. Inferring: going beyond available information to identify what may reasonably be true.
16. Predicting: anticipating next events, or the outcome of a situation.
17. Elaborating: explaining by adding details, examples, or other relevant information.
INTEGRATING SKILLS - connecting and combining information.
18. Summarizing: combining information efficiently into a cohesive statement.
19. Restructuring: changing existing knowledge structures to incorporate new information.
EVALUATING SKILLS - assessing the reasonableness and quality of ideas.
20. Establishing criteria: setting standards for making judgments.
21. Verifying: confirming the accuracy of claims.