The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited. (Plutarch)
DEVELOPING YOUR CHILD’S CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS • What is critical thinking? • Why is critical thinking important to address in school? • What are the goals of critical thinking? • How can parents help students improve their critical thinking abilities? • Suggestions…
DEVELOPING YOUR CHILD’S CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS CRITICAL THINKING IS…… basically one’s ability and tendency to gather, evaluate, and use information effectively and take charge of one’s own thinking. "Critical thinking is thinking that attempts to arrive at a judgment only after honestly evaluating alternatives with respect to available evidence and arguments"(Hatcher and Spencer)
DEVELOPING YOUR CHILD’S CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS Why is critical thinking important to address in school? Many educators believe that specific knowledge will not be as important to tomorrow's workers and citizens as the ability to learn and make sense of new information. (D. Gough, 1991 )
DEVELOPING YOUR CHILD’S CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” Albert Einstein
DEVELOPING YOUR CHILD’S CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS “One of the largest and most neglected responsibilities in school is to develop in each child the ability to think well. Materials used in schools must be worthwhile, but their main function is to furnish the means for practice in thinking.” Lee, J.M., 1950
DEVELOPING YOUR CHILD’S CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS What are the goals of critical thinking? • Decision making • Solving problems • Making connections • Understanding issues • Evaluating evidence • Discovering new information • Finding meaning • Seeking logic • Searching for reason • Developing facts and opinions • Appreciating different points of view • Going beyond memorization to LEARNING
BLOOM’S REVISED TAXONOMYCreatingGenerating new ideas, products, or ways of viewing thingsDesigning, constructing, planning, producing, inventing.EvaluatingJustifying a decision or course of actionChecking, hypothesising, critiquing, experimenting, judgingAnalyzingBreaking information into parts to explore understandings and relationships Comparing, organizing, deconstructing, interrogating, findingApplyingUsing information in another familiar situationImplementing, carrying out, using, executingUnderstandingExplaining ideas or conceptsInterpreting, summarizing, paraphrasing, classifying, explainingRememberingRecalling informationRecognizing, listing, describing, retrieving, naming, finding Higher-orderthinking
Low-Level vs. High-Level Thinking: • Lower level questions are those at the remembering, understanding and lower level application levels of the taxonomy. • Questionsat the lower levels are appropriate for evaluating students’ preparation and comprehension, diagnosing students’ strengths and weaknesses, reviewing and summarizing content. • Higher level questions are those requiring complex application, analysis, evaluation or creation skills. • Questions at higher levels of the taxonomy are usually most appropriate for: • Encouraging students to think more deeply and critically • Problem solving • Encouraging discussions • Stimulating students to seek information on their own
Example Using Blooms Taxonomy: Here is a lesson objective based upon the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears focused on all six cognitive levels. Remember: Describe where Goldilocks lived. Understand: Summarize what the Goldilocks story was about. Apply: Construct a theory as to why Goldilocks went into the house. Analyze: Differentiate between how Goldilocks reacted and how you would react in each story event. Evaluate: Assess whether or not you think this really happened to Goldilocks. Create: Compose a song, skit, poem, or rap to convey the Goldilocks story in a new form. Although this is a very simple example of the application of Bloom's taxonomy, it can demonstrate both the ease and the usefulness of targeting higher level thinking skills.
DEVELOPING YOUR CHILD’S CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS How can parents help students improve their critical thinking abilities? • Have faith that all children can think. They need to see thinking as a goal. • Share with children how to solve different kinds of everyday problems. • Provide opportunities for challenging problem solving. • Create a safe, risk-taking environment. It is OK to make mistakes; we learn from them! • Give thinking time. We all develop at our own rate—physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. • Model lifelong learning; be aware of your own growth and enjoyment of learning. Get excited about life…make each day count!
DEVELOPING YOUR CHILD’S CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS Suggestions for Strengthening Thinking Skills Persistence Decreasing impulsivity Listening to others Flexibility in thinking Awareness of our own thinking Checking for accuracy and precision Questioning and problem solving Drawing on past knowledge and applying to new situation Precision of language and thought Using all the senses Ingenuity, originality, insightfulness, creativity Wonderment, inquisitiveness, curiosity, and the enjoyment of problem solving
Critical Thinking Quiz How many birthdays does the average man have? Divide 30 by ½ and add 10. What is the answer? Some months have 31 days, how many have 28? There are 3 apples and you take away 2. How many do you have? How many outs are there in an inning? What is 3/7 chicken, 2/3 cat, and ½ goat? If you only have one match and you walked into a room where there was an oil burner, a kerosene lamp, and a wood burning stove, what would you light first? I have two U.S. coins totaling 55 cents. One is not a nickel. What are the coins? Why can’t a man living in the USA be buried in Canada? Do they have a 4th of July in England?
He who learns but does not think is lost (Chinese Proverb)
Sources • Critical and Creative Thinking - Bloom's Taxonomy http://eduscapes.com/tap/topic69.htm • Gough, D. THINKING ABOUT THINKING. Alexandria, VA: National Association of Elementary School Principals, 1991. (ED 327 980) • Hatcher, Donald and L. Anne Spencer. 2000. Reasoning and Writing: From Critical Thinking to Composition. Boston: American Press. • Pohl, Michael. (2000). Learning to Think, Thinking to Learn: Models and Strategies to Develop a Classroom Culture of Thinking. Cheltenham, Vic.: Hawker Brownlow.