FIVE CRITICAL THINKING TECHNIQUES WHEN TEACHING STEM CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION
Nova Southeastern University (UNITED STATES)
Critical Thinking should be within every career and vocational education program of instruction, it cultivates and enhances student’s intellectual curiosity. It adds value to education, because critical thinking is needed for personal and useful vocational decisions, It brings value by the enhancement of skills and abilities needed for gainful employment within the growing STEM careers. Most educators agree that critical thinking is an important outcome objective of any educational program. It expands and encourages engagement, integrity, empathy and responsibility. These traits are most desired by employers who seek career and technical graduates. Career and vocational educators often overlook the importance of critical thinking when teaching blended and online programs of instruction. When asked, students in the United States say that few instructors have helped their development of critical thinking skills. Critical thinking provides relevant information that enhances online discussions. It assures an organized and higher level of thinking is conveyed, encouraged, understood and practiced. Most importantly, critical thinking instruction coupled with online and blended learning can provide students with a comprehensive set of academic, employability and technical skills and abilities to ensure career readiness for the expanding STEM careers. The following provides five critical thinking blended learning techniques, which add value to career and technical education programs and prepare students for those STEM careers growing at a rapid rate.