Teaching critical thinking skills to elementary students

Home is where children are first beginning to use language.

7 Ways to Teach Critical Thinking in Elementary Education | Walden University

Educational experiences continue throughout their growth. Although knowledge and experience may be limited, many times each day children apply their critical thinking skills to analyze information. They interpret events and situations, evaluate claims and credibility, and assess the reasons offered for why they should think or do something.

Why critical thinking matters

Children engage in critical thinking when they use reflective reasoning and analysis to internalize classroom material deeply. Thinking well also requires students to be internally motivated to think critically when faced with problems to solve, ideas to evaluate, or decisions to make. Children are natural inquirers. Good thinking should be a habit, and habits need to be started young. Critical thinking encompasses many of the skills your child needs to access the primary school National Curriculum , including inventing, making analogies, formulating hypotheses and suggesting alternatives.

Key Stage 2 SATs in English, for example, include a reading comprehension paper, where your child will have to make inferences and deductions from set texts.

Child Psychology : How to Develop Critical Thinking Skills in Children

Indeed, research has suggested that children who are taught critical thinking skills do better at language comprehension and problem-solving, and even have a higher IQ than their peers. Being able to say whether they agree or disagree with something, and why, is a sign that your child is thinking critically.

For example, you can encourage your child to give reasons or examples that show why they agree or disagree with something. For instance, your child tells you that their classmate Sam snatched a ball from someone else at playtime. Help your child work through their reasoning by going through a series of steps. Following on from the example above:. Some schools run these clubs, or there may be out-of-school clubs in your area.


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You can find out more about philosophy clubs from The Philosophy Foundation. To help your child develop critical thinking skills, get into a habit of questioning them about their thoughts and opinions. There are five simple ways to do this:. In my current role as director of curriculum and instruction, I work to promote the use of 21st-century tools and, more importantly, thinking skills.

Some essential skills that are the basis for critical thinking are:. These four bullets are skills students are going to need in any field and in all levels of education.

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Eurasian Journal of Educational Research

Hence my answer to the question. We need to teach our students to think critically and for themselves. One of the goals of education is to prepare students to learn through discovery. Understanding others is an essential skill in collaboration and in everyday life.


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  • Critical thinking will allow students to do more than just memorize knowledge. So how do we do this?


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    • One recommendation is for educators to work in-depth questioning strategies into a lesson launch. Ask thoughtful questions to allow for answers with sound reasoning. When you are asking students questions and they provide a solution, try some of these to promote further thinking:. Utilizing critical thinking skills could be seen as a change in the paradigm of teaching and learning. Engagement in education will enhance the collaboration among teachers and students. It will also provide a way for students to succeed even if the school system had to start over.

      Engagement, application, and collaboration are skills that withstand the test of time. I also promote the integration of critical thinking into every aspect of instruction. Encourage Creativity: I have seen teachers prepare projects before they give it to their students many times.

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      By doing the design work or by cutting all the circles out beforehand, it removes creativity options. Instead, give students all the supplies needed to create a snowman, and let them do it on their own. Giving independence will allow students to become critical thinkers because they will have to create their own product with the supplies you give them.