“We cannot solve problems with the same thinking we used when we created the,”
– Albert Einstein
Critical thinking in everyday life
Everyday a sea of decisions stretches before us. Some small and unimportant, but others have a larger impact on our lives. We are bombarded with so many decisions that it’s impossible to make a perfect choice every time. But there are many ways to improve our chances, and one particularly effective technique is critical thinking. This is a way of approaching a question that allows us to carefully deconstruct a situation, reveal its hidden issues, such as bias and manipulation, and make the best decision. Rather than choosing an answer because it feels right, a person who uses critical thinking subjects all available options to scrutiny and skepticism. Using the tools at their disposal, they’ll eliminate everything but the most useful and reliable information.
Importance of critical thinking for kids
We all know that we have to deal with questions that are a lot more complicated than those found on multiple choice tests. In reality, there is not a blueprint that tells us how to get from point A to point B. Therefore, it is important that we expose children to a certain degree of uncertainty in their classes and until they have to experience it for themselves the first time outside of the classroom. We need to instill in children the grit necessary to persevere against the next challenging thing that will soon come their way.
Isn’t this already happening?
We assume that whatever knowledge that children learn is enough for them to be able to connect the dots in real life by themselves. That is, take what is learnt in school and figure out how to use it outside of it. We should not be in fact focusing on the ‘what’ or the contents but getting them to the ‘how’ and the ‘why’.
While critical thinking will not eradicate difficult decisions from our lives, it can help us increase the number of positive choices we make. At the end of the day critical thinking is what can give us the tools to sift through a sea of information and find what we are looking for. And with critical thinking we will be providing children those tools that are necessary.
How do we do it?
There are many different ways of approaching critical thinking, each depending up on the individual. Here is the 3 question way to do so;
Also known as the ‘Google’able question. This is what the most textbooks teach students and the easiest one to answer. The objective here is to move beyond these questions and go a level above by asking them to explain more.
This is no longer a safe question. Children will need to dig a little more and it gives them an opportunity to reach into their knowledge and connect with something personal in their lives. By asking these questions they will realize the value of the knowledge and think about how it is useful to them.
Now, they will have to be prepared to defend their answers and come up with concrete evidence to support their answers. And this question would also show the different perspectives among students helping them empathize with others viewpoints.
Another way of approaching would be this 5 step process;
Know what you are looking for
Gather your information
Apply the information
Consider the implications
Explore other points of view
Activities for children
Here are some practices and activities that will help improve your child’s critical thinking skills;
Strategy centered sports
Brain teasers and riddles
Opportunity to play their choice of games
Give them time to reflect and develop hypotheses on their own
Developing a critical mindset is one of the most essential skills in our technology and information overloaded world. By instilling critical thinking skills among kids early in life we teach them on how to analyze the world around. And that is why FSM Buddy (an online venture by Furtados School of Music) is dedicated to this cause by providing courses for children such as Chess for beginners, Life’s little tricks and many more.