One of the things that teachers spend a lot of time doing is developing their student’s critical thinking skills. But most parents don’t know what this involves or why it is important.

There are a lot of complex definitions floating around, but basically, cricitical thinking is the thought process associated with deciding what is tue and what is false. It is how we choose what we are going to believe in and what we are going to dismiss as incorrect. It involves analyzing information, reasoning, and evaluating.

Here are five ways to help develop your child’s critical thinking skills:

1. Ask Questions – During the day, take a moment to ask your child why or how things happen. For example, your taking a walk through the park and you see bees landing on flowers. Ask your child what they are doing. If your child answers correctly (they are collecting pollen and nectar), then you can ask him why they’re doing that.

2. Don’t Give Answers All the Time – If your child asks you why or how something happens, ask them first what they think the reason is. By doing so you are encouraging your child to think it through herself.

3. Words Don’t Make It True – We are bombarded on a daily basis by information from the media. TV commercials, radios, magazines, and the internet all provide information. But it is important to emphasize to your child that not everything they read, see, or hear is the truth.

4. Read It & Test It - When learning about a subject, encourage your child to read from more than one source. Teach them to read or listen to different opinions/points of view and keep an open mind. When possible, test theories together to observe the consequences. And encourage your child to test multiple times so they can compare the results.

5. Practice It – Look for books, activities, and games that promote critical thinking. Check out the Critical Thinking Company, which won more than 100 national awards for its products that develop a child’s critical thinking skills.

 

Creative commons-licensed photo provided by KellyK.

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