‘Education is not the Learning of the Facts but the Training of the Mind ‘ Albert EinsteinWe are living in such a dynamic world , everything changes within seconds, the unfortunate part is what we are teaching our kids today would not apply or be relevant tomorrow, What then should we do to ensure that our kids are ready and equipped for the future? Teaching our kids Critical Thinking Skills is a must.
Artificial Intelligence and automation are the order of the day, the two continue to replace many job opportunities that were previously done by humans but they can only replace knowledge based jobs, presenting a lucrative opportunity with jobs that need critical thinking and processing.
Critical thinking is the analysis of facts to form a judgment. It is the ability to connects dots ,to think logically and critically.It is the ability and the intention to think beyond the obvious. It is not the accumulation of facts or information The following are Common Characteristics of Critical Thinkers, elements we should intentionally cultivate and nurture in our kids
- Open Mindedness
- Challenging common facts
- Critically assessing data to draw conclusions.
- They think Independently
- Are Passionate about precision and logic
- Loves Learning
7 ways to Train your Kids to be critical Thinkers
- Give them liberty to ask questions
Parents should be concerned when their kids do not ask questions, rather than being comfortable around a kid who does not challenge you and actually accept your truth as his, lets encourage our kids to ask questions and teach them to ask quality questions. It is unfortunate that in the fast paced world we find ourselves in most parents find themselves annoyed by the Why question and many other questions that our kids ask.
How to nurture the art of asking questions
- Encourage your child to ask questions freely .
- Express interest in the questions he is asking.
- Give quality answers .
- Frequently ask him questions /Model the art of asking questions .
- Encourage him to ask open ended questions.
- Take his questions seriously, if you cant answer the question immediately make a follow up later.
- If you don’t have the answer to the question, It is okay to say I don’t know and team up with the child to embark on a research.
2. Develop their reading skills
One might ask how does reading relate to critical thinking skills. The answer is very simple. Reading expand our knowledge on different subjects and concepts, enabling us to ask relevant and quality questions when necessary.
As we develop their reading skills we must pay close attention to ensure that it is not just reading for comprehension but we develop critical reading skills that will breed critical thinking skills.
Critical reading skills involves making the child aware of their current predisposition, beliefs and biases about what he is reading ,it is about, making him aware that the three mentioned can get in the way of understanding what he is reading about , encouraging him to be open minded as he reads.
Critical readers engage the text, they ask not so obvious contextual questions, they make predictions of what they think will happen next. So again allow and create an atmosphere that says ask all the questions you can think of, and as a plus ask him as many questions as possible based on the text.
3. Solve Riddles
The good thing about riddles is that they don’t feel like learning, rather they are fun and entertaining. So anything with fun in it, the kids will sign up for.
What I like about them is the bond and the laughter they bring , they have the power to bring the entire family together. I have enjoyed riddles with my kids and the good thing about them it is that , they can be done casually while cleaning or washing dishes. The exciting part is you can be rest assured they are not only fun but they are sure developing the kids critical and problem solving skills
4 Give them room to come up with hypotheses/predictions
Hypotheses is basically your opinion of what you think will happen in the future . One of the best times to teach the art of making a hypothesis is while reading During these times, challenge your child to use the knowledge of what he just read to make predictions of what will happen next.
One of the benefits of teaching our kids to form hypothesis is that it will empower them to always think about the consequences of their actions before acting.
Unstructured play is an open ended kind of play. There are no rules ,no learning objective or expectations. Unstructured play not only affords the children an opportunity to develop critical thinking skills but unstructured play gives kids a sense of control and fuels their creativity. Unstructured play is a great platform to make mistakes and learn from them without much detrimental consequences .
Benefits of unstructured play
- It has been proven to enhance their cognitive physical, social and emotional development.
- It expands the child imagination .
- It develops problem solving abilities – It would help if parents can distance themselves from this kind of play giving them room enough to resolve their conflicts and solve any emerging hurdles.
For more benefits and Ideas about unstructured read Learning Through Play.
6. Types of games tools and activities
There are many that one still needs to filter through , so far I fell in love with these two.
Mind Meister – I s a mind mapping tool. Mind mapping is a critical representation of written text.Kids can be taught and encouraged to use this mind mapping tool to mapout information from a book they read or a subject/concept they want to analyze. Mind mapping helps individuals to put their thoughts into pictures. It enhances a free flow of ideas which is ideal for problem solving. Mind Meister is simply mind mapping digitalized and made easy.
Mentem – An adaptive training of memory, attention, spatial orientation, imagination, memory, speed, thought and judgments.
The days we are living in, challenge us to rethink education. What we knew and understood to be education is proving to fail over and over again. This era demands new ways of teaching and learning and at the core of what we need to adopt as a new way of learning is to raise thinkers who can process, compare, contrast, analyze, categorize and evaluate information. This is a call to parents to rise and Intentionally invest time and necessary resources to raise critical thinkers.