Critical thinking is the cheshire cat of educational curricula, appearing everywhere half formed but disappearing on close inspection. What is it, where is it and how is it taught to students? One way of thinking about this problem is to focus on the relationship between three key components: cognitive skills, affective dispositions and the values of inquiry. Cognitive skills are the things we do with knowledge, such as infer, categorise, analyse, synthesis and so on. Affective dispositions are those things that are typical of critical thinkers, such as willingness to inquire, opens to new ideas, self reflection, etc. The values of inquiry are those things applied during the process of inquiry, such as precision, clarity, plausibility, coherence and the like. Accepting this leads to certain pedagogical imperatives, principles that can be applied in any situation to guide the development and implementation of our assessment and learning experiences.


 Upon completion of this masterclass you will be able to:

  • Articulate with precision the thinking skills involved in learning experiences and assessment items
  • Integrate thinking skills into criteria
  • Understand what can constitute the pedagogical content knowledge of inquiry


 Mr Peter Ellerton lectures at the University of Queensland in critical thinking and is the founding Director of the University of Queensland "Critical Thinking" Project.



ITaLI's Teaching Masterclass Series

ITaLI's Teaching Masterclass Series is a venue for inspirational and successful teachers to share effective approaches and best practices for teaching. The aim of the series is to assist attendees in learning tangible, practical skills that help them build on their existing expertise to excel in teaching for 21st-century students. To find out more about ITaLI's Teaching Masterclass series or to express your interest in presenting a masterclass, please visit or email Dr Hassan Khosravi at