Critical Thinking is a crucial skill for an Industry 4.0 world - not just because employers require it, but because citizens require it (e.g. how to navigate all the ‘fake news’ engulfing us).
In the spirit of self-directed education, we do not ask “How can we teach Critical Thinking?”, instead we ask “How can we create circumstances that promote the practice of Critical Thinking?”
An idea we have for this is to have a Current Affairs period - not for the teacher to tell the students what is happening, but for students to ask questions about what is happening (e.g. these days, “what are aflatoxins and should we be worried about them?”, “how did the ship get stuck in the Suez Canal and what’s being done to rescue it?”, etc).
The role of the teacher is only to facilitate the conversation (maintain a speaking list, decide on which question is being discussed, etc. until the students can conduct the meeting themselves) - the answers have to be sourced by the students - if computers are available they can search while in school (several students can share a computer or even mobile phone) or otherwise they will need to do that research at home (different students/groups could volunteer for each question).
We explored this idea in a video last year:
It’s important that this not be graded/evaluated (then it becomes about finding the answer expected by the teacher, and is no longer an exercise in critical thinking). Topics should not be censored (they should be free to pursue any topic they are curious about), and there shouldn’t even be compulsory participation - if they don’t want to participate in the activity they should be offered the freedom to do something else instead.