Brains are biological but minds are created. It is the perfect symphony between school and home that is responsible for creating these minds that grow up to become leaders of the future. To speed up the process of learning and to reiterate on the importance of training minds from a young age, the World Economic Forum has defined a list of ten skills that children need to develop in order to have a successful and fulfilling career tomorrow.
Critical thinking and Analysis is one of these skills and the very topic of our discussion today. So without wasting any more time, let’s understand what this skill does, and how to ensure that our children are well-equipped to handle this skill in the coming times.
Critical thinking is a form of learning that goes beyond books and memorisation and promotes the art of recalling information by attacking the problem from grassroot level. It is an umbrella term used for a plethora of skills such as:
Critical thinking and analysis forms the crux of everything that the child will learn, acknowledge and adapt in the present and the future. It is a mode that requires the child to step out of his or her comfort zone and to become more observant, use more logic while thinking and solving problems and come up with better and innovative solutions.
So, how does an institution or an educator ensure that the skill is inculcated properly in the regular curriculum? Let’s find out:
Promoting two-way communication: Unilateral exchange of information is a passive teaching technique. Ditch that to make the students more actively involved in the class. Push them to ask questions and challenge their thinking capabilities. Have small bouts of discussion over video conferencing tools such as Google Meets or Zoom. These software give you the chance to even break your classroom into smaller rooms so it is easier for the children to ask questions and communicate. This technique also focuses on getting appropriate feedback because children are at much more ease with their teachers, over one-on-one discussions.
Encourage decision making: A large part of implementing critical thinking lies with the child being able to think on the spot and make a decision. A tool that has achieved tremendous results in this regard is the MindMeister, an online mind mapping tool that lets you think, develop and share ideas with everyone you know. It is completely web-based and requires no downloads or uploads, which makes it user friendly as well. This interactive tool can be used in multiple ways to create situations that demand the children to work on solutions and share these solutions with their teachers, parents and peers. This also aids in collaboration which again is another vertical that supports critical thinking.
Inspiring creativity: Creativity gives flight to imagination which in turn makes the child more aware of his habits and assists them in being a better judge of the situation. It also promotes diversity of thoughts which plays a huge part in helping the child become more prudent in his decision making skills. Paired with the right visual elements it can do wonders to promote their skills related to articulating and presenting their point of view. For instance, develop fun puzzles and games that require the child to think creatively. Discovery’s Puzzlemaker is a tool every teacher must explore. From fun word searches to interactive puzzles, it is the most seamless way to make learning fun.
Ask open-ended questions: Asking open-ended questions helps the child to come up with their own hypotheses of a particular story or a discussion. It promotes group discussions, quick thinking, helps them in identifying the right pattern and forces them to deduce a solution after considering various angles. Whooo's Reading is a software you can explore. It takes away from the traditional reading and writing technique and merges it with technology in a way that a child gets the most out of the whole reading-to-learn process. It lets the child think deeply, thanks to its 6-way methods that includes; reading, quizzing, motivating/incentivising, progress (keeping a track of students progress), scoring and taking feedback.
The one great thing about inculcating critical thinking in a regular curriculum is that you don’t have to overwhelm children with information and put them under the pressure of understanding complex technology. We can use these simple and workable plans and let the child take the lead. Our job is to make education as convenient for them as possible and encourage them to take their own steps in the right direction.