Critical Thinking

Lesson length: 45-60 minutes

Lesson aim: To introduce trainees to critical thinking theory and put that into practice

Outcome for students: By the end of the session trainees will be able to:

  • differentiate between arguments that have a basis in fact and those that appeal to emotions

  • recognise whether an argument provides evidence for a statement or whether it it merely expresses an opinion

Session Lead: (1)

Breakout rooms: enough for 4-5 people per room

Materials: Slidedeck [link], Worksheet [link], Volunteer worksheet [link]




5 minutes


Presentation. Introduction to critical thinking, including definition.

3 minutes

8 - 9


Lead introduces the proposition “Wally isn’t coming to the party”.

Vols read out the three arguments for the proposition.

Lead pastes the proposition into Slack and students add emojis to show which one they think is the strongest.

#1 No evidence, based on emotion

#2 Based in fact, provides an educated guess

#3 Based in fact, provides evidence that Wally can’t come to the party.

5 minutes

10 - 11

Presentation. What does this have to do with web development?

Developers often have to deal with competing requests for changes and additions to websites. These are not always constructive or well thought out.

In a work environment you may need to deal with managers and/or clients who expect you to do what they say.

Critical thinking helps you to behave professionally and question poor choices.

3 minutes

12 - 13

Example: Lead introduces the client request “I would like the title of my website to flash”

Lead pastes the proposition into Slack and students add emojis to show which one they think is the strongest. #1 makes a strong statement, but provides no evidence

#2 No evidence, based on emotion

#3 Quotes a source and makes an argument that will affect all sighted users of the website

15 - 20 minutes


Breakout groups

Trainees read out the propositions and the arguments against them [worksheet].

Trainees need to agree between them which are the strongest and weakest of the arguments. The discussion about the relative strengths of the arguments is the most important part of this breakout.

[volunteer worksheet].

15 - 20 minutes

15 - 20

Whole group discussion. Trainees offer their solutions to the three scenarios along with justification.

2 minutes