Teaching Children to Think

We all know it’s easy to teach children what to think, but is it easy, let alone possible, to teach children how to think? With so much emphasis put in IQ and child “giftedness,” parents can sometimes believe it’s not possible to teach their child how to be a creative, critical thinker.

William R. Klemm, a senior professor of Neuroscience at Texas A&M University and writer for Psychology Today, challenges that notion and explains why students may not be showing thinking skills as high as what they are capable of:

“Many students lack the confidence to think for themselves and are actually afraid to try. The reality is that students are natural-born creative thinkers, but the conformity of schools has drilled students into a submission that precludes analytical and creative thinking.”

Though it seems that the only place “thinking outside the box” is excluded is in the school, there are other ways to teach insightful, criticial thinking. Click here to read more about it.



Three Things Top Performing Students Know That Their Peers Miss

“Every class has students who excel and those who don’t.”

Why is that? The writers at Mindshift shared useful information from Elevate Education explaining that there are three things top-performing students know to be true that others are not necessarily aware of. The article explains that 50 to 90 percent of students believe IQ is the biggest factor in getting good grades and ultimately reaching success, when in reality, there are many other elements at play.

It talks about the effects of studying in ways that go beyond mere memorization and cramming. For example,

“One of the biggest differences between top students and everyone else was that when they study, they take practice tests. Only 11 percent of students do this.”

Read the full article to learn about other habits your student can practice in order to excel in school and beyond. You might also learn some tips and tricks about time management and healthy habits along the way, which could lead to a journey of success for the whole family.



Critical Reading v. Critical Thinking

What’s the difference between critical reading and critical thinking? Is there a difference? Daniel Kurland, author of various academic books and journal articles on the subject, not only explains the difference, but he also goes on to talk about how the two seamlessly intertwine. In order to think critically about a text, you must read critically to ensure you understand the text. As he puts it,

“Critical reading refers to a careful, active, reflective, analytic reading. Critical thinking involves reflecting on the validity of what you have read in light of our prior knowledge and understanding of the world. …We need to solve problems, build roads, write legislation, or design an advertising campaign.  We must evaluate what we have read and integrate that understanding with our prior understanding of the world.”

How do we distinguish the difference between critical thinking and critical reading, and in what ways can we learn to incorporate that in our everyday lives? Click here to read more.



Helping your child through exams

Do you have children who always seem to be stressed out about some exam or another? Are you thinking about simply bribing your child to give them incentive to do well? Think again! This article published by the BBC suggests different ways parents can healthily assist their learners while they are preparing for and taking exams. For example,

“Make sure your child knows you’re interested in their work and that you’ll be proud if they do well. Although bribery isn’t advisable, it’s fine to provide small treats by way of encouragement – perhaps a piece of cake or some biscuits after a chunk of revision has been completed.”

If you’re at a loss when it comes to assisting with revision, planning study schedules, or providing all-around support to encourage your student to do well, we suggest you read this.


How to teach all students to think critically

All parents praise their children for being able to think critically, but the ways they learn critical thinking can be a bit vague. Can educators devise a course that is based explicitly on critical thinking? This article by Peter Ellerton explores the idea and the implications of requiring university students to take a compulsory maths course to teach critical thinking.

As Ellerton puts it,

“The problem is that critical thinking is the Cheshire Cat of educational curricula – it is hinted at in all disciplines but appears fully formed in none. As soon as you push to see it in focus, it slips away.

If you ask curriculum designers exactly how critical thinking skills are developed, the answers are often vague and unhelpful for those wanting to teach it.”

He then comes up with four areas of thought that are often used in any set of critical thinking values: argumentation, logic, psychology, and the nature of science. Though critical thinking itself may be difficult to teach, these four disciplines are very concrete subjects that Ellerton believes are worthy of attention and thought.

Read more about how  argumentation, logic, psychology, and the nature of science play a major role in critical thinking in the original article here.