Critical Thinking is a higher order thinking skill that is highly valuable in the 21st Century. This allows us to solve problems in a challenging environment that we are seeing in Singapore today.
What some parents are also aware of is that higher-order thinking is not as straightforward.
Here are 8 handy hacks that you can use at home to hijack your child’s critical thinking skills.
1. Encourage Productive Questioning
A family where children are free to ask questions without inhibition is a home where children are encouraged to be creative. Go beyond just answering their questions. Why not show them how to find their own answers to their own questions?
2. Connecting Related Concepts
Teach children to connect concepts with each other. By linking concepts, we are hijacking the brain to form more connections helping them to think better. For example, when we celebrate Easter Friday next month, you can link it to ‘Holidays’. To take it a step further, we can link it to ‘Celebrations’. Each small concept can be connected to a bigger, broader concept. One way you can get children to connect math concepts faster is through the use of manipulatives.
3. Organise Ideas Visually
Graphic organizers help children to frame their thoughts in an organized manner. Getting children papers, markers and crayons to draw and pen down their ideas through mind maps help children connect concepts and see their relationships.
4. Mining for Meaning
Using real-world examples, you could teach your little one to make inferences. In your next shopping trip, get them to observe the crowd in the mall to infer how the weather looks outside. You could also get them to read a story and infer how the character felt in that story.
5. Elaborate Their Answers
Higher order thinking is more than just memorising and repetition. It is the actual understanding of concepts by answering the why’s and the how’s. You can always ask why and how to help them clarify their train of thoughts so that they are able to explain their answers in detail.
6. Problem–Solving Strategies
Teach children to use a step-by-step method for solving problems. This way of higher order thinking will speed up problem-solving for your little one. By encouraging them to find multiple solutions to their problems or even suggesting different methods children acquire problem-solving strategies that help them with the much-dreaded Math Heuristics.
7. Challenge Creative Thinking
This can be as simple as asking them to find multiple uses of a paper clip, or even a plain paper box. Getting them toys that allow them to create, invent and design their ideas help generate brain juices to think “outside-the-box”. How we do it at our PlayFACTO Monthly programme is to use manipulatives like these. These take-home manipulatives allow for children to experiment math in a hands-on manner.
8. Lights, Camera, Action!
Have you seen a movie with your child? Why not get them to think of these ideas as a movie? Give them an imaginary camera and they are the directors. Get them to share how each scene unfolds. Use the 5 senses reflection, “What did you see, hear, feel, smell and taste?” This helps them to express themselves better and builds critical thinking at the same time.
Want to learn how you can develop your child’s critical thinking?
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