Fostering critical thinking skills: The Cambridge Lower Secondary approach

Deepika Sodhi
Feb 2, 2024
Learning, School

Typically for ages 11-14, the Cambridge Lower Secondary Programme (CLSP) is a stimulating international curriculum that helps enhance critical thinking skills, power of questioning, problem solving and collaboration amongst students as they learn, engage with concepts, question and investigate.

Critical thinking fosters intellectual independence in students – the ability to meander through complex situations, navigate through the sea of information available in today’s digitally-enhanced world, and make informed decisions. It empowers learners to question assumptions, think for themselves, and develop their own perspectives. 

The Cambridge curriculum emphasises active learning and fosters essential 21st-century competencies. The teaching and learning approaches aim to develop learners who are ready for this dynamic world. 

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Some of the key advantages of Cambridge Lower Secondary Curriculum are:

● Broad and flexible curriculum: The programme encompasses a wide array of subjects, fostering critical thinking skills, creativity and expression for a well-rounded education.

● Clear progression: With a structured curriculum framework, students smoothly advance through the Cambridge pathway, ensuring readiness for the next educational stage.

● International approach: Emphasising cultural awareness, the programme is culturally sensitive yet has a global outlook towards learning and student growth.

Cultivating critical thinking through Global Perspectives 

In this blog, we will focus on how through Global Perspectives – taught as part of Cambridge Lower Secondary programme – the Cambridge curriculum aims at developing critical thinking skills through research, analysis, reflection, collaboration, and communication.

It encourages deeper understanding of global issues that hold relevance for the learners. By engaging with diverse perspectives, students develop the ability to think critically about global challenges, consider different viewpoints, and understand the interconnectedness of the world. 

The range of themes include, Education for all, Health and well-being, Employment, Migration and urbanisation, Sport and recreation, Digital World, Poverty and inequality, and more. Throughout this exploration, students have the opportunity to:

● Cultivate skills essential for further education

● Make well-informed decisions regarding the information they encounter

● Engage in independent research on global issues

● Learn to collaborate with peers

● Develop the power of analysis while analysing research findings and reaching the clear unknown, and sometimes unpredicted outcomes with tangible results

Also read: ‘Cambridge Lower Secondary provides a strong pathway to IGCSE’

By the culmination of the lower secondary years, students learn to adeptly discern information from varied sources. They engage in meaningful scrutinisation of information and evidence supporting them. Moreover, logical & balanced reasoning skills also develop along with positive argumentative skills. All these skills prepare students for life, and make them ready for the world.

Cambridge Lower Secondary programme at GIIS

CLSP at GIIS is offered to middle school students in Grades 6-8 as part of the Cambridge international curriculum. After completion, students move on to Cambridge IGCSE offered in Grades 9-10. 

Throughout middle school and high school years, students develop the ability to analyse information, break down complex problems, and devise effective solutions. This skill is invaluable across academic subjects and real-life situations. 

As students progress to higher levels of education, critical thinking becomes increasingly crucial. It empowers them to engage with more advanced and abstract concepts, fostering independent learning and research skills necessary for success in college and beyond.

At GIIS, as part of the international curricula offerings, the natural progression for CLSP is Cambridge IGCSE, followed by the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) offered in Grades 11-12,  where the critical thinking skills aid in IBDP core components, such as the Theory of Knowledge and Extended Essay, which is a 4,000 word-independent research paper. By reflecting on the knowledge acquired, the students develop greater awareness of their surroundings, and appreciation for the diversity.

Moreover, beyond academics, critical thinking is a life skill that enhances problem-solving in everyday situations, promotes sound decision-making, and empowers students to approach challenges with confidence.

If you are keen to know more about the Cambridge curriculum offered at GIIS, please feel free to contact our admissions counsellors.

Deepika Sodhi

A highly motivated and dedicated educator with nearly 24 years of teaching experience, Ms. Deepika Sodhi is the Academic Supervisor for International Curricula at Global Indian International School (GIIS) SMART Campus, Singapore.

Ms. Sodhi has a rich experience of teaching Physics across curricula such as the IB, Cambridge IGCSE and CBSE. She has served as an Exam Officer for Cambridge Assessment International Education. Currently, she is an IB Assessment Officer, and a member of International Schools Network and International Baccalaureate Educator Network.

In her free time, Ms. Sodhi enjoys writing blogs, creating guiding material for training staff and community service.

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