Today the world is changing rapidly, and it demands new approaches to learning. Jobs and skills that are relevant today may be obsolete in the next few years. Hence, we must teach our children critical and creative thinking because these are essential skills that will benefit the future.
What Is Critical Thinking, And Why Is It Important?
Critical thinking involves an advanced thought process involving thorough observation and deep analysis of an event or a thing. It enables you to think quickly on your feet and find solutions to problems that cannot be solved easily. Critical thinking skills are the most sought-after skills in every career.
Children must learn critical thinking skills at an early age. It will enhance their ability to understand complex situations; develop their problem-solving, observational, literacy, and language skills, and improve their decision-making abilities. Some of the skills that can be learned are questioning, using logic, analysing, examining, interpreting, reasoning, evaluating, connecting, classifying, comparing, prediction, etc.
Creative thinking involves coming up with new ideas and approaches. It is a critical life skill that enables children to think and connect the dots to see the big picture. Furthermore, it promotes imagination and enables children to see the world with a different lens.
Children must develop creative thinking from an early age. This will enable them to develop various skills like elaborating, brainstorming, risk-taking, artistry, adaptability, and open-mindedness.
Here are some ways in which you can help children develop their critical and creative thinking.
1. Encourage student-centred learning
Online learning has enabled schools to adopt new methods of learning. It is becoming increasingly evident that a student-centred approach to education brings better learning outcomes. Student-centred learning may include cultivating thoughtful discussions, fostering group learning activities, etc. This will reduce direct instruction from teachers and empower students to think critically as they participate in discussions and lead their learning.
2. Assign group work
Encourage students to participate in group projects and activities to improve their critical thinking skills. It will help them learn how to work through problems and solve them together. They will also get exposed to new ideas and understand others’ thought processes. This will allow them to find ways to collaborate and work with ideas to develop better solutions.
Through online learning, you can drive group study and collaborative learning. Teachers can encourage project-based learning where students can work together as a team to solve real-world problems. In addition to becoming a team player, they will also learn to take ownership of their work and use feedback for a better learning process.
3. Provide space to think out loud
Solving problems can be made easy if students are given a chance to share their thought processes with others. Thinking out loud helps us to articulate our thoughts better. It also results in fewer errors as our thoughts become clearer as we speak.
It can also help improve the mental ability of students, as it helps them process the information and understand it better. This will strengthen their critical thinking skills. You can conduct brainstorming sessions or even debates, which will create a safe space for students to share their thoughts and opinions.
4. Encourage to ask questions
Asking questions is an important part of critical thinking skills. It does not come easy to most of us. Hence, students might need help as they reflect on their thought processes. It is important to ask the right questions to provoke critical thinking and take the thought process to the next level. Here are some questions that you might ask your students:
- What problem are you trying to solve?
- Do you agree or disagree with this?
- How can it be improved?
- How will you convince yourself that your way is the correct way?
This will help them make their conclusions as they try to find the answers.
5. Conduct problem-solving activities
You can help students learn better through games and activities. These activities will enhance their critical thinking skills. They might include mystery games, puzzles, riddles, and board games. These will improve their problem-solving abilities and enhance reading comprehension, observation skills, and logical thinking skills, which is a crucial part of critical thinking. Students will also learn important life skills like teamwork, sportsmanship, and leadership through these games.
Online schools can use various resources available on the internet and are free to use. Apps like Quizlet, and Kahoot are good to start with for fun and interactive learning.
6. Inculcate reading habits
Reading is a much more complex task for our brain than watching TV or consuming other video content. It helps us become more aware of our surroundings, situations, and emotions and helps to develop a deeper understanding of the world. Students’ regular reading habits can improve their concentration, imagination, vocabulary, and language skills.
Online learning gives students the freedom to learn at their own pace while giving enough time to extra-curricular activities. Make sure your students dedicate at least one hour daily to reading. Children who are good readers also tend to achieve better results in all the subjects.
7. Encourage students to learn to code
Through online learning, students can take coding lessons anytime and anywhere. Coding is a great way to develop critical thinking skills in students as the students have to solve a problem with a different approach and have to come up with various possible solutions. This step is known as iteration or troubleshooting. This involves evaluating data, observations, and feedback before deciding on solutions.
Creative and critical thinking skills are necessary in today’s world. You can help your students think critically and solve problems they may face in school and in their future jobs.
This is the sole focus at 21K School, India’s first online school that is redefining education. They provide structures as well as flexible curriculums to fit students’ needs. World-class education from nursery to Grade 12 will now reach everyone anywhere.