Future Focused Skills: How to develop critical thinking skills

Future Focused Skills: How to develop critical thinking skills
Pearson Online Academy UK Global


In our previous post in the Future Focused Skills series, we explained why it's important to teach future focused skills. Today we share some tips on how young people can find opportunities to develop these capabilities. 

It’s useful to identify which of the skills it makes sense for you to focus on first. You can narrow this down by thinking about the job you want or the field you hope to enter and having conversations with your teachers or people working in the industry. You can also review job descriptions, although be mindful that they may use other words to indicate the skill the role requires (e.g. critical thinking is often referred to as problem solving). 

We will start with critical thinking here, and subsequent blogs will cover the other skills. 

Critical thinking

What it is: 

Being intentional and deliberate when gathering information and/or evidence and then being able to analyse and use this to make informed decisions, draw conclusions, design and create. 

Otherwise known as: 

  • Problem-solving 
  • Reasoning 
  • Analytic 
  • Critique 
  • Objective 
  • Judgement 
  • Research 
  • Interpretation 
  • Decision making 
  • Strategic 

Tasks to seek out:

  • Conducting research. 
  • Designing something new. 
  • Composing a document or presentation designed to persuade others. 
  • Collecting and evaluating information in order to solve a problem. 
  • Troubleshooting a system. 

Ways to practice the skills within these tasks: 

  • Research a current social or political issue. Evaluate the sources of evidence you find – are they reliable and valid, could they be biased? Based on the evidence you found, determine your position on the issue. Think through how specifically the evidence supports your position. Practice describing the logical link between pieces of evidence and the conclusions you draw. 
  • Think of a strategy to help a club or organisation you are a part of. It could be to help them raise more money or attract more members. Be thoughtful as you are developing the strategy, gathering information to determine what the most effective strategy would be. 

After practicing this skill, ask for immediate feedback from teachers or peers so that you can build on your performance and improve next time.  

In our next post in the series, we will tackle how to develop creativity skills.