Unlock the Power of Critical Thinking: Engaging Courses for Young Minds


Welcome to the Critical Thinking Institute, where we transform the way children think and interact with the world. Our unique courses are designed to ignite curiosity, encourage questioning, and build strong critical thinking skills in young learners. 


Below, you will find a comprehensive list of our meticulously structured courses, each one a step in the exciting journey of learning and discovery. With a mix of animated characters, interactive sessions, and brain-boosting challenges, we guide children from the fundamental concepts to the mastery of advanced critical thinking strategies. Our program is crafted to inspire and empower the next generation of thinkers and leaders. Join us in nurturing a brighter, more thoughtful future for our children.

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Section 1: Defining Critical Thinking

Our two animated characters, Kid and Brain, introduce themselves and begin their discussion about critical thinking. As Kid learns from Brain, he has all kinds of wonderful questions about critical thinking—questions your kids might have and the answers they need too.

1:1 Critical Thinking vs. Intelligence:

Critical thinking skills do not depend on intelligence, and your critical thinking skills are actually more important for effective decision making than intellect.

1:2 What is Critical Thinking?:

Why most people cannot even define critical thinking effectively, and why popular definitions don’t work.

1:3 Understanding Critical Thinking:

Defining critical thinking the only way it can effectively be defined, through simple brain science!

1:4 What is Thinking?:

There’s an important distinction between thinking and critical thinking.  Everyone does the former but not everyone does the latter.

1:5 The Problem with Thinking:

There’s a central flaw in the way our brains think.  Find out what it is and how critical thinking compensates for it.

1:6 The Power of Reflection:

The importance of training the mind to reflect on itself and what it learns.

Section 2: The Five Essential Rules for Effective Critical Thinking

As we explain in the program, if you don’t know the rules to any game, you certainly can’t play it very well. As it so happens, critical thinking is a brain game in its own sense, but most brains, because they don’t follow the rules, or even know them, go far astray from effective critical thinking. Learning the rules keeps brains in the critical thinking game.

2:1 Critical Thinking Rules:

An Introduction. Because most people don’t even know that there are rules to the critical thinking game, they don’t play at it very well.

2:2 Rule 1: Fight the Urge to be Right:

Why the brain’s need to be right infects the thinking process, and how to get around it.

2:3 Rule 2: Embrace Evidence of Ideas:

Brains love to dwell on ideas, but doing so stifles the thinking process and tricks people into ignoring facts. But there are ways around it that few people know.

2:4 Rule 3: Create. Don’t Criticize:

Brains have an instinctive urge to criticize things and, in doing so, stop the thinking process entirely! But with a little practice, it’s easy to keep thinking when other people would have already stopped.

2:5 Rule 4: Rethink it Differently:

Most people’s brains can’t think “divergently” very well; they get stuck on one idea and cannot see others. But seeing more perspectives is easy if you know how.

2:6 Rule 5: Think with Your Head (part 1):

It might seem as though this is redundant because everyone always thinks with their head. But if they really did, they’d all be better critical thinkers.

2:7 Think with Your Head (part 2):

How to relieve physical and mental health, and charge-up the brain for even more powerful critical thinking.

Section 3: Taking Critical Thinking from the PITS to the APEX

Most people’s brains too often operate with their instinctive, primitive operating system that not only doesn’t think critically at all, it actually resists thinking critically. In this section, children learn to recognize their brain’s effort to react primally instead of cognitively, and how to elevate their brain function for powerful critical thinking.

3.1 The PITS (part 1):

The common and problematic link between human brains and all other brains on the planet that’s hardwired into our brains.

3.2 The PITS (part 2):

Understanding the hardwired primal process that to which the brain defaults instead of thinking critically.

3.3 APEX Critical Thinking:

How to take the primal process that’s hardwired into our brains and harness its power for elite critical thinking skills few people possess, and that apply to every situation in school and life.

3.4 APEX Step 1:

An easy yet powerful lesson on how to slow the brain down so that its awareness increases until it sees the things other people miss.

3.5 APEX Step 2 (part 1):

A look at the most common overlooked step in the critical thinking process.

3.6 APEX Step 2 (part 2):

The simple yet powerful way to engage the step most people overlook and stand out as a critical thinker as a result.

3.7 Interlude:

Putting all the pieces together for crystal clear understanding and action, including ideas from the first two sections.

3.8 APEX Step 3 (part 1):

Understanding how all critical thinking brains do pivots on one very simple brain function that’s so easy to practice, yet you’ll almost never see anyone doing it.

3.9 APEX Step 3 (part 2):

Engaging the brain’s pivotal thinking act to develop ideas far more deeply than everyone else.

3.10 APEX Step 3 (part 3):

How to maximize the use of language to best articulate the pivotal thinking act in a way that everyone understands, and that impresses them at the same time.

3.11 APEX Step 3 (part 4):

A complete example of maximizing the brain’s pivotal thinking function, and how to apply it to everything one encounters in life!

3.12 APEX Step 4:

When it comes to thinking, brains possess inherent blind spots that cause even some of the smartest people to fail at thinking tasks. With simple attention to this factor, critical thinking becomes safer and more complex at the same time.

3.13 APEX Review:

Whew! That was a lot. And even though each step was simple to understand and apply, we take a pause here to review it and put all the pieces together into a crystal clear picture.

3.14-3.15 Uh oh!:

All along our journey, one of our main characters, the kid, has not understood that he’s actually a cartoon character. But now we see what an amazing critical thinker he’s become, and how magnificently he reasons his way into a more accurate understanding of his reality.

Section 4: Putting it to Use with Dr. Steve

Dr. Steve jumps in to speak to the kids directly, walking them through some simple exercises for taking The Critical Thinking Institute’s unique system that they’ve learned and applying it to life decisions, reading, writing, school … and just about everything else!

4.1 The Metalog:

“Metalog” is a fancy term for keeping a special kind of journal about our thinking process, a journal takes critical thinking from being something reactive to what has happened, to proactive to what hasn’t happened yet!

4.2 The Metalog in action!:

Dr. Steve walks through one of his own decisions and demonstrates the transformative power of this simple exercise.

4.3 Reading with Critical Thinking (1):

How to examine the presence (or absence) of critical thinking in the things that we read by looking for aspects of the critical thinking skills learned in the first three sections..

4.4 – 4.5 Reading with Critical Thinking (2):

How to use CTI’s thinking system to read more deeply, and to build a stronger idea out of what is written..

4.7 The Writing Error:

Dr. Steve explains one of the key mental errors almost everyone makes when writing, especially for school assignments. Hint: This error is actually encouraged in schools! Yikes!.

4.11-4.13 Writing with Critical Thinking:

Dr. Steve explains how to write beautifully insightful and complex works as appropriate to any grade level. In fact, writing this way will make every child be seen as working far above their current grade.

4.14 Critical Thinking for Compassion:

An important conversation with Dr. Steve about why good critical thinkers should also be the most compassionate people towards others.

4.15 Congratulations!:

In this farewell for the Level 1 program, Dr. Steve and our animated characters say goodbye, with some important parting thoughts.

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