What is critical thinking and why is it an important skill to build? Is the ability to think critically, a skill? The question has remained unanswered as it is identified as both an ability and a skillset to become a moot topic for scholars. Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally about what to do or what to believe. We at Nalapad, are able to engage in reflective and independent thinking and are able to frame problems and challenges in a way that leads to action.
What is Critical Thinking and Why is It important?
Critical thinking is an intricate and a developed cognitive process that enhances quick, intellectual, and skilful analysis of a given task or situation to further correlate and interconnect concepts before eventually arriving at the best inference that the said thinker’s mental faculties can muster.
To be able to gauge any given problem or circumstance holistically to be able to make relevant connections, helps one to make an informed but well-adjusted choice to tackle the same. Critical thinking is a skillset that can help children both academically, and as they begin to form their worldviews.
Mentoring children to cultivate critical thinking abilities helps them in the long run. Oftentimes, a consciously curated classroom and a home environment, can help children develop the same and here is how –
Enabling Children to Think Critically
- Engaging Children in an Open-Ended Dialogue – Ask open ended questions and encourage your child’s process of being open minded and as they indulge in step-by-step introspective thought formation.
At Nalapad Academy, the students of grades 2,3,4,5 and 8 are encouraged to gather information by using the 5W+1H approach. In our Global Perspectives class, we make our voices heard while listening to the voices of others by allowing us to understand a situation and analyse all aspects of a problem.
- Teaching Children that Making Mistakes is a Part of the Learning Process – In an atmosphere that encourages children to think even as they may be wrong occasionally, they are able to correct any errors made by retracing when they need to. A hostile environment where mistakes are made, are met with strict responses; children could develop fear of trying and in the long term, the ideal is to ensure that your child is thinking even if they do not get it right on the get go.
- Honing a Child’s Ability to Connect the Dots – When your child digresses in a conversation to respond to you with a seemingly irrelevant thought, hear them out and more often than not, your child will explain the mapwork they have chalked out. To be able to connect dots is a pivotal quality that can be channelized to assume the ring of relevance with relevant information as your child may uniquely require.
At Nalapad Academy, most English classes in lower grades involve discussion. Most times, children in Grade 1 and 2 are so enthusiastic about wanting to share something that they are not able to put their thoughts into words, especially in the right order. It requires us as facilitators to listen, ask leading questions, prompting and gently direct them to what is being discussed in class.
- Nourishing a Child’s Ability to Go Back and Forth Between 6 or 9; to See Perspectives and Points of View – Children are often unaware of the strict boundaries between right and wrong. While there are some aspects of life where right and wrong are necessary approaches; allow your child to think about multiple points of view. The fluidity of a young mind is often able to navigate through various perspectives and to be able to evaluate between them without being partial is a pivotal thought.
At Nalapad Academy, in our Grade 2 class, while we were reviewing a particular book, we discussed how ‘point of view’ and perspectives of each individual can be different. We also discussed the importance of our own perspectives and respecting other’s perspectives as well.
- Inspiring a Child’s Imaginative and Creative Sides – Your child may take naturally, to a hobby and while they cherish their time indulging in the same; you are sure to observe the unhindered approach they employ in the process. Empower your child to read for the sake of reading, paint, sketch, sing, dance, or any creative form as they may have, as an inherent flair.
- Making Room for Team Spirit – Children even as they can sometimes be temperamental and therefore, choose to be quiet on some days; to remind your child to make room for being a team player, when necessary, is important. Within teams, children learn to ask questions and collaborate without unhealthy notions of competence.
Grade 2 students make their voices heard while listening to the voice of others by inspiring each other to work together. They are reminded that each member of the team plays an important role and each one contributes to the team’s success.
- Playing Can Be a Learning Tool – While at play, children are at their curious best and barring from safety, letting your child pursue their intrigue could benefit them. They learn that freedom comes with responsibility and learn to learn little things while at play.
Our learners are embraced by teachers who understand the need for thinking critically and all our classrooms see an environment that aims to empower them with the abilities to think, connect dots, make mistakes to eventually correct themselves via supervision, imagine, and evaluate across perspectives before they achieve their tasks.
We think together, our children and us alike; critically and playfully, relevantly and analytically.