Module 1: Critical Thinking (html version)

Our project

Sustainable development for the inclusion of migrating and refugee populations can only be attained if women are involved, as mothers, as teachers, as entrepreneurs and/or when a gender sensitive policy environment is created for them to influence community and social policies at the higher level. Women are the primary victims of the intertwined causes of conflicts, underdevelopment and migration. To address these issues, in a sustainable and humanitarian way, migrants should be offered assistance in building a new life in the respective host countries by developing, testing and implement new concepts of train the trainer programs for online training offering migrant women the opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial skills. That is the aim of the 241 project.

01 Introduction

What is critical thinking?

You can often hear the words “critical thinking” but what do they mean?

Let’s see the video first to find out. 

Video Summary

Critical Thinking Brain Teasers:

The video shows some puzzles to help us understand “what is critical thinking?”

Almost everyone will answer wrong.

Because we are not thinking about all the details, the puzzle will tell us so many “important” things that we pay attention to only some of them.

The same thing happens in our real lives too.

So, it is important to take our time and think very well before we make a decision.

Critical thinking is the ability to…

  1. think clearly
  2. and rationally
  3. about what to do
  4. or what to believe

Development of skills

  • remembering important pieces of knowledge
  • understanding the information
  • applying existing / acquired knowledge
  • analysing – breaking down the information
  • evaluating – judging the value of information
  • creating – generating new ideas

How to become a critical thinker

Check the following video and learn about some habits in our everyday life that can help us become critical thinkers. 

video no longer exists

Video summary

7 Habits of Highly Effective Thinkers:

The video shows 7 things that people with critical thinking do:

  • Read a lot and read many different things
  • Take your time before you decide
  • Pay attention to the process, not just the result
  • Argue with yourself
  • Be open to change your mind/ opinion
  • Write
  • Try to be in difficult environments or situations that “force” you to become an active thinker

At the end, critical thinking is something that we develop and not something that they can teach us.


Scenarios on critical thinking

Play the online game “SPENT”: where you have to apply your critical thinking skills in a real life scenario and face the consequences of your choices. 

02 Access to information and the importance of filtering

A torrent of information

Reflect on the comic strip of David Sipress.

Does your everyday life seem familiar to this? 

Access to information

Think about our everyday life and how we are bombarded with information. From the media, from talking with friends and family, from just walking down the street and seeing the posters on the walls…

A complicated situation

The internet has changed our lives and the way we receive information drastically. Almost everything we do, is done by using the internet. Regarding information, now with just one click we can read any news from around the world and be updated in real time.

Sometimes, this stream of information comes unexpectedly, even without us searching for it -notifications on our phones from news sites, ads on our email accounts, recommended posts on our social media etc.

So, how can we choose the kind of information we receive? 

Do we really have control over it?

What are your thoughts?


Critical Thinking application

Learn how to navigate the news in your daily life

Video Summary

How to choose your news:

How do you know what is happening in the world? By reading or watching the news.

In the past, only a few could share the news -specific channels, specific newspapers etc. Later, we found out many scandals by the governments that were using those to spread fake news, a certain opinion… with the goal to deceive the people.

Right now (especially with the internet) we have so many choices, there is so much information and everyone can be a reporter. But, again, which news are real?

How can we know the truth?

  • Find the original source
  • Follow reporters on social media
  • When you cannot find the original source, read/listen to different coverages (internet, radio, news, magazines, interviews, newspapers etc.)
  • Learn to separate “facts” and “opinions”. Opinions will contains words like “think”, “likely”, “probably”
  • Be careful of anonymous sources

And, finally, let us try to see if the news are true before we are going to tell everyone about it.

Read the following articles

03 Media Literacy

The CML defines “media literacy” as an approach to education providing a framework to “access, analyze, evaluate and create messages in a variety of forms -from print to video to the Internet”. Also, it “builds an understanding of the role of media in society as well as essential skills of inquiry and self-expression necessary for citizens of a democracy”. 

Center for Media Literacy

About media literacy


Recognising propaganda

Play the game of “Get Bad News”: in which you assume the role of a person who spreads fake news on the social media in order to gain followers. 

Through actively learning how to spread the misinformation, you will learn how propaganda works and be able to recognise it in the future. 

04 Making choices, finding solutions

Making decisions

Critical thinking can also help us in difficult situations. Let’s say we encounter a problem in our everyday life and we need to make a decision. By choosing to follow a problem-solving strategy, we also apply our critical thinking skills.

A problem-solving strategy: The 4 P

An easy and effective strategy when approaching the problem is the 4 Ps

  • defining the problem
  • generating possibilities
  • creating a plan
  • performing a plan

Defining the problem

Defining the problem means understanding what the problem really is. Be very specific about it and, also, it is very important to tell the truth. Do not be ashamed to admit to yourself the real situation or your feelings about it. Moreover, try not to blame yourself as well. Be as objective as you can be.

Then, be very specific about what you want and what your goal is. This will help to in two ways: firstly, to better define the problem and, secondly, to make a future plan on how to overcome it.

Keep in mind that a problem is created because we want something, but we don’t/cannot have it. So, in order to solve this, we have to define what we have now and what exactly we want.

Generating possibilities

Generating possibilities is the next step in which we are trying to think of solutions to the problem. Try to be creative and think of as many scenarios as you can. 

Make a list of what is missing and if you need more information, search for it. Write everything down. Place the problem at the center and make a map with the possible solutions. Write next to them the advantages and the disadvantages -this will help you decide what is the best course of action. Think about the consequences of your actions, what will happen if you choose a particular scenario? 

In general, if you have problems in thinking from another perspective, discuss it with your friends and family and gather their opinions and ideas. Be careful though, the final decision will be yours after reviewing all the data you have collected -do not be carried away by other people’s opinions. 

The mind map

Organising and visualising information is an important aspect of our critical thinking process.

Watch the following video on what is a mind-map and how to create one.

Video summary

How to create a mind map (tutorial):

This video explains what a mind map is and how we can make one.

A mind map is a collection of thoughts.

How to make one?

We draw a big shape in the middle of an empty paper. Inside we will write the main thing we want to map/think about (central topic).

Then we think about this topic and write whatever idea comes to mind in different shapes around the first shape. When we are finished, we link everything to the first shape (the central topic).

Following that, we take each idea separately and think more on it to give it more details. We write them down in smaller shapes and connect them to this specific idea. We repeat this for everything.

When we are finished with thinking, our mind map is ready.

The video also offers an example on how we can even mind map our lives.

It is also a great tool for strategic planning and project management.


An online mind-mapping tool to help you get started is Mindmeister:

It requires a free sign up and lets you create (freely) up to 3 different mind-maps.

Mind-mapping: how-to

01. Create a mind map

02. Edit a mind map

Video summary

Create a mind map – Edit a mind map:

Both of these videos show explain visually how we can create and edit a mind map in an application called “MindMeister”. We don’t have to use an online tool to create our mind maps -a piece of paper and a pen are enough, but if anyone wants to try and do it digitally, then they should watch those videos.

Tasks: an app

In order to keep track of your list (once you have created a plan), you can check the application “Tasks”, a free to-do list and reminder app (for all devices), that can keep your thoughts and tasks organized.


Select a problem that is troubling you and try to apply the problem-solving method we described earlier.

If you cannot find such a situation, try to mind-map your life at this point-what is happening, and which are your goals for the future? 

05 Success story

“The danger of a single story”

Explore the negative influences that a “single story” can have.

Video summary

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The danger of a single story

In this video, Adichie talks about the danger of a single story and its negative result.

A single story is about showing people as one thing only, as one single story, over and over again. At the end, this is what they become in the minds of those who listen to this story.

In their majority, single stories come from misunderstandings or lack of knowledge about a group of people. Media and literature that are easier to find often tell one story. So, the people make generalizations and stereotypes are born.

These single stories have cultural and political power and using that power to manipulate our understanding of others (most often in a bad way) can lead to suppressing those groups of people with malicious intent.

People (and groups of people) are more than just a single (incomplete) story. 

For that, it is very important to tell many stories, diverse stories, and not just focus on one.

“We should all be feminists”

Read about Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and watch the following video on how feminism is about the social, economic and political equality of the sexes

We should all be feminists
In this video, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talks about gender and how we should all be feminists.

From a very young age, children are raised differently based on their gender and society has different expectations of them which continues to adult life. In the video you can listen to many examples of gender inequality and understand why it is important to acknowledge and fix it.

Feminists (as is the assumption) are not the women who hate men, marriage, culture, are always angry, they hate to be feminine etc.

As Adichie says, for her, “A feminist is a man or a woman who says, “Yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today, and we must fix it. We must do better.””


What is your “single story”?

Reflecting on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s video about “The danger of a single story”, can you think of similar “single stories” and their impact on your life?

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