The Golden Equation: How to Create Students With World Class Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinkers must be critical listeners. We respond most often when questions are being asked. Think about it…

  • When someone makes a statement, our response is rarely critical thought.

  • When someone continues to make non-stop statements, our response becomes even less critical.

What I call the golden equation is very simple, not always easy to model, but profoundly worth it! Here it is:


Ask many more questions than statements made.

I’m not going to give you a percentage for you, because you need to figure that out for yourself. For example, if in most of your conversations you are making statements 90% of the time and you’re asking questions 10% of the time, it would be great if you could change that to 70/30. There are times where I am at 50/50. With children I ask questions approximately 90% of the time.

There is also the quality of the question which is a huge factor. When we ask quality questions (questions which are open ended and require more than a yes or no response), and we ask questions far more often than making statements, people will be drawn to you, because you are asking for their authentic input. This leads to an elevated skill set related to critical thinking.

  • Make a list of great questions.

  • Make sure your body language is as inviting as your questions.

  • Ask and they will think!