Higher Order Thinking Skills

Higher Order Thinking Skills


Humans are thinking creatures as compared to other living organisms on this planet. Our thinking help us to stand out among others. Therefore, thinking skills are not only unique at their core, but also vary in levels among human souls. Each one of us is gifted with our own thinking capacity and level.


Why Higher Order Thinking?

Provoking someone to think requires a plan at our own end. Complex real-life problems often demand complex solutions, which are obtained through higher level thinking processes. Teaching higher order thinking, then, provides students with relevant life skills and offers them an added benefit of helping them improve their content knowledge, lower order thinking, and self-esteem (DeVries & Kohlberg, 1987; McDavitt, 1993; Son & VanSickle, 1993).


Higher Order Thinking for Educators

Educators of digital era have variety of challenges, however each challenge is embedded with opportunities. As teachers, teaching to apply and analyze the information boom is certainly not easy, rather a huge challenge in its own sense. Thinking critically, solving complex problems, reaching informed decision making is a process that requires consistent practical situations to be created and provided to the learners.

Therefore, our role and responsibilities as teachers become two fold to plan, organize, and create hands on experiences for our learners to embark upon the journey of higher order thinking from younger age. This would provide learners a longer time span to develop the habit of thinking critically. Following are some of the ways that could help educators:


  • Facilitate thinking inside and outside classroom boundaries
  • Promote and support thinking minds
  • Create opportunities for problem solving
  • Develop out of the box thinkers
  • Encourage questions in your classrooms
  • Advocate research and analytical skills


Higher Order Thinking for Learners

Learning is a life long process, therefore it has no boundaries provided you take best advantage of the opportunities thrown your way. Doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned professional or a young learner, learning always welcomes you with open arms.

Learning is an innate desire of human beings. We all have innumerable opportunities throughout the day to learn from various situations around us.

However, majority just ignore or over look these situations as opportunities for learning as new ideas, knowledge, and information. Actually, human beings are prone to learn what we are really interested in or we feel the desire for it. Successful higher order thinking depends upon an individual’s ability to apply, reorganize, and embellish knowledge in the context of the thinking situation (Crowl et al., 1997).

Higher order thinking is an ability to prioritize, analyze, examine critically and enable to make informed decisions in any given situation, provided we train our minds to process any given information accordingly. Hence, we need deliberate and constant practice in order to achieve higher order thinking capacity. Following are few tips for all learners to achieve higher order thinking skillset. 

  • Analyze information from various angles
  • Investigate the source of information from variety of perspectives
  • Assess if its true, reliable, valid and is based on evidence
  • Question those involved
  • Scrutinize the situation
  • Evaluate the consequences


Be a Leader in Thinking

Leading as a change agent is a highly desired role for us as teachers, mentors, and coach. We have beautiful thinking souls, minds and hearts in our hands to shape and give them a future to succeed and perform using their potential as pros.


Concluding Note

We are all unique in our own ways and so are our students, who come to us everyday with a hope that we will provide them opportunities to improve and elevate their lives through education.

Enable them to think, let them make mistakes, practice consistently until they accomplish their goals, help them improve, guide them towards the right direction, support their ideas no matter how useless they seem to be, congratulate them upon their accomplishments, provide them resources in whatever way possible. Eventually, you will be the leader of their hearts and minds.



Crowl, T. K., Kaminsky, S., & Podell, D. M. (1997). Educational psychology: Windows on teaching. Madison, WI: Brown and Benchmark.
DeVries, R., & Kohlberg, L. (1987). Programs of early education: The constructivist view. New York: Longman


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