Critical Thinking

Once upon a time, when I was employed as a trainer, critical thinking was the hot buzz at that time as the skill to have to move up the corporate ladder. However, it had always been my impression that the most successful and or interesting people were those that could think on their feet and solve complex problems both at work and in their personal lives.

Attempting to teach my son critical thinking in science with very little progress prompted me to read the manual from a training class long ago. Though it was written for the corporate world, I found the information relevant to what I have been trying to teach my son.

My son is able to tell me the correct answer but cannot really explain why because I never taught him the process logical thinking.  According to the manual and website research I used in conjunction, it’s important to first teach specific ways to reason and solve problems.

Some tips from the American Philosophical Association  for teaching critical thinking at home:

-encourage debates from both sides

-encourage your child to ask questions

-encourage your child’s natural curiosity -introduce basic elements of scientific reasoning

– gathering evidence, testing predictions

-apply logical thinking to not just academic/ scientific matters but ethical, political and moral issues

-encourage your child to be a persistent problem solver

-no lectures; just hands-on instruction

-encourage in as many environments and situations as possible to observe, predict, check

-play strategy games, like Chess

One really interesting point they make is that children’s critical thinking peaks when they have to teach someone else how to solve a problem. My son is a very good chess player.  I don’t know how to play.  Guess who is my new Chess teacher?

Check out both the Critical Thinking Community (http://www.criticalthinking.org), which has some great information and tools for educators and American Philosophical Association www.apaonline.org

Article By Nuria Almeida

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