This story on how teaching critical thinking skills online during the COVID pandemic, originally published on April 29, was eSN’s No. 8 most popular story of 2020. Check back each day for the next story in our countdown.

As educators, we often hear about the importance of teaching critical thinking skills to our students. What we hear about less, however, are the most effective techniques for teaching those skills and how teachers can implement them in the classroom—especially now that schools are forced to provide virtual instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At Laurel Springs School, an online K-12 education provider, we have mastered the art of teaching in an online classroom. With a competency-based model and asynchronous instruction, students at Laurel Springs must be able to think critically about their lessons and assignments, and the demonstration of concept and skill mastery is crucial to their success at our school.

Related content: 8 learning apps for students with special needs

In an online academic environment, the focus on critical thinking skills is amplified. Our learning model fosters independence and self-advocacy with applications in all areas of a student’s life. The earlier students develop these skills, the more well-equipped they are to grow as learners, expanding their knowledge base and making connections both across core content areas and in the world around them.

About the Author:

Megan O’Reilly Palevich, M.Ed., is Head of School at Laurel Springs School. Megan O’Reilly Palevich has been a teacher and administrator in the public and private sectors for 26 years. Her rich and varied experience in PreK-12 education includes curriculum design, signature innovative program development, technology integration, and personalized professional development for educators. Mrs. Palevich has won awards for innovation in science education from CESI and in social studies education from Facing History and Ourselves. She earned her B.A. from Rosemont College in Elementary Education and Psychology, and her M.Ed. from Cabrini University in Educational Leadership with completion of the K-12 Principal Certification Program.