What is critical thinking?
The Importance Of Critical Thinking
1. Critical Thinking Is Universal
Critical thinking is a domain-general thinking skill. What does this mean? It means that no matter what path or profession you pursue, these skills will always be relevant and will always be beneficial to your success. They are not specific to any field.
2. Crucial For The Economy
Our future depends on technology, information, and innovation. Critical thinking is needed for our fast-growing economies, to solve problems as quickly and as effectively as possible.
3. Improves Language & Presentation Skills
In order to best express ourselves, we need to know how to think clearly and systematically — meaning practice critical thinking! Critical thinking also means knowing how to break down texts, and in turn, improve our ability to comprehend.
4. Promotes Creativity
By practicing critical thinking, we are allowing ourselves not only to solve problems but also come up with new and creative ideas to do so. Critical thinking allows us to analyze these ideas and adjust them accordingly.
5. Important For Self-Reflection
Without critical thinking, how can we really live a meaningful life? We need this skill to self-reflect and justify our ways of life and opinions. Critical thinking provides us with the tools to evaluate ourselves in the way that we need to.
Critical thinking exercises for elementary education
- Ask questions
Asking questions, especially open-ended questions, gives elementary school students a chance to apply what they’ve learned and build on prior knowledge. It also allows them to problem-solve and think on their feet, and boosts self-esteem by providing an opportunity for students to express themselves in front of their peers.
- Encourage decision-making
Since a large part of teaching critical thinking skills revolves around applying knowledge and evaluating solutions, elementary school teachers should encourage decision-making as much as possible. This enables students to apply what they’ve learned to different situations, weigh the pros and cons of a variety of solutions, then decide which ideas work best.
- Work in groups
Group projects and discussions are another excellent way for elementary school teachers to encourage critical thinking skills. Cooperative learning not only exposes students to the thought processes of their classmates, it expands their thinking and worldview by demonstrating that there’s no one right way to approach a problem.
- Incorporate different points of view
Some of the very best critical thinking exercises for elementary school students involve exploring a concept from multiple perspectives. This tactic not only establishes that an idea should be assessed from different points of view before an opinion is formed, but it also gives students a chance to share their own viewpoints while listening to and learning from others.
- Connect different ideas
Connecting different ideas is key to teaching critical thinking.
- Inspire creativity
Imagination is the key to teaching critical thinking in elementary school. Teachers should seek out new ways for students to use the information to create something new. Art projects are an excellent way to do this. Students can also construct inventions, write a story or poem, create a game, sing a song—the sky’s the limit.
Brainstorming, a time-honored tradition in elementary education is an excellent learning tool. It’s also an excellent critical-thinking exercise, especially when paired with visual elements that bring original thinking and classroom discussions to life.
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