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Encouraging Decision-making and Enhancing Critical Thinking in Learners

Handing over the decision-making power to the learners!

The ability to make key decisions about their learning is a powerful motivator for students.

Learners feel valued when they are invited to design learning according to their interests or how to approach it.  This also has the advantage of getting more learners to lean into the learning taking place in the classroom.

Act as a facilitator! Step back and  hand over the decision-making power to the learners.

‘WHW’ strategy is an interest way that pushes learners to think critically and creatively. It encourages them to think about the what, how, and why of a lesson/assignment/project.

Bringing WHW in your classroom

If we know WHAT we have to do?

A facilitator should think of an aspect of a subject or topic that s/he wants to focus on for a lesson, assignment, or project. For example, if the class is researching inheritance in science, teacher can invite students to decide what aspect of the inheritance most interests them– genetic or environmental?

Students can then start research on that topic choosing any specific trait of a specific species. Even though they are focusing on different topics, they are still developing research skills, designing a presentation, and presenting for the class.

This creates a level of personal investment in the task and invites learners to focus on an aspect of the subject that interests them.

If we deliberate HOW we are going to do it.

We should challenge learners to think through a task, assignment, or project and articulate their own path for completing that work. This encourages learners to think critically.

For example, for a project that requires do data collection and create models or anchor charts,  allowing students to decide how they will complete that task, what steps they will take, and which tools or technology they will need to make that task more engaging for learners.

If we find out WHY we are doing it & what benefits we are going to get out of it.

Learners can also be encouraged to define the purpose of the task they are completing and the reason for choosing the particular method of presenting the task in front of the class.

Sharing here one of my lessons about exploring the human body, when my students decided to do presentation using an old tshirt.

Read more about it here –

Promoting Active Learning and Collaboration

Am sure these tips will help ensure Active Learning in your classrooms too. WHW strategy is an excellent way to make the learners feel valued. Students start thinking critically, and offer many chances to students to collaborate, communicate and be creative.

Tell us how you empower your students to enhance their critical thinking in the comments section.

You can read article on creating Rap song for Earth Day here –

Encouraging Educator

Written by Anupam Sharma

I consider myself as an enthusiastic learner and passionate about trying new things for better learning.
As a Science teacher, I believe in nurturing the scientific temperament among the learners from the early years, which is the need of today as building upon the knowledge that a child already has before entering a school and then moving ahead.
Facilitating Biology concepts becomes more interesting to the learners when the facilitator gets successful in passing on his/her own enthusiasm and thirst for learning and exploring along with the learners.

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