10 Tips for Enhancing Your Child’s Critical Reasoning Skills
Critical reasoning has of late become an indispensable part of elementary education. Here’s how you can help your child improve his or her critical reasoning powers.
We all use critical reasoning skills in our daily lives. We use these vital skills to make better decisions, understand the results of our actions and solve problems.
So, what exactly is critical reasoning or thinking? Simply put, critical thinking is the process of practicing better self-control and focusing on resolving problems and attaining goals. It is a concept that also includes other essential life skills such as developing perspectives, making connections, and communicating ideas.
You see, learning to think critically has become an essential life skill for today’s younger generations. A child’s natural inquisitiveness is the foundation for developing critical reasoning.
Many parents believe that critical reasoning is limited to mathematics or science in general. It is time we debunk this myth and tell you that critical reasoning applies to every subject and every aspect of life. Children simply need to learn how to analyze, contrast, compare and draw inferences from information. This will help them deal with various situations rationally and objectively.
10 Tips to Improve Critical Reasoning Skills
Here are some tips that can help in stimulating children’s critical thinking process and honing their problem-solving skills.
- Ask open-ended questions – Asking open-ended questions is a great way to foster critical reasoning in school children. It gives them a chance to think on their feet, solve problems and express their views clearly. So, the next time your child comes across a problem, make sure you have a suitable ‘why what, and how’ format for him or her to tackle.
- All about perspective – One of the best ways to inculcate critical thinking skills in young students is by teaching them the concept of multiple perspectives. It is essential to analyze any problem from different dimensions to reach a better solution. Young students who are working on the same exercise should sit together and put forth their ideas and thoughts. It gives them the perfect opportunity to introspect, absorb and reach a logical solution.
- Go for groups – Children love to work in groups. It boosts their confidence and widens their perspective. Group discussions and projects are another brilliant way to enhance critical reasoning skills in children. Cooperative learning helps them in exploring the thought processes of their classmates. It also expands their critical thinking abilities and teaches them that there is no one right way to solve a problem.
- Encourage decision-making – Both parents and teachers should focus on developing child’s decision-making skills. Help the child to weigh the pros and cons of available options, apply fundamental concepts and pick the most feasible option independently. This exercise will also make them confident about handling complex situations single-handedly.
- Connect ideas – Connecting dissimilar ideas is the key to learning critical reasoning skills. Here is a simple example:
- How many students come to school by bus?
- Why should they also carry the latest metro train schedule with them daily?
- The answer is simple, they can take the metro in case the bus gets delayed. So, you see, creating and solving hypothetical situations will boost critical thinking. Once this exercise is done, they will try to create hypothetical events, apply prior knowledge, and find potential solutions.
- Inspire creativity – Experts say that creativity is the key to acing critical reasoning skills for children. Teachers and parents should seek innovative ways to utilize available data and create something new. Graphs, flowcharts, pie charts, stories – the sky’s the limit. Let young minds invent their unique ways of presenting and explaining concepts.
- Go for brainstorming sessions – Brainstorming is a groundbreaking trick to boost critical thinking in young children. It is a group creativity exercise in which all participants come together with their thoughts and ideas. However, it is crucial to create a judgement-free zone to encourage a wild and unfiltered flow of ideas. Mind-mapping, weighing pros and cons and asking ‘what ifs’ are some other rules for conducting a brainstorming session.
- Avoid interventions – Intervening can hamper their thought process. Therefore, experts recommend letting students present their ideas first. If you have any questions to ask, you should wait for a student to finish putting forth his or her ideas first.
- Teach to reach a solution – The ultimate motive of every critical reasoning exercise is to reach a feasible solution. Here are the steps to critically analyze a situation and find a solution:
- Define the problem
- Create an action plan to investigate the problem
- Collect and organize available data
- Interpret and apply the knowledge
- Consider the consequences and explore other feasible options
- Reach a solution
- Prompt them to be unique – Every child is unique and has a different thought process. And every mentor should encourage students to maintain their individuality while solving critical reasoning problems. Students should have the confidence to come up with their own version of the story, ideas, and explanations without hesitation. Any child who wins this has higher chances of perfecting critical thinking skills in the future.
Critical reasoning is a must to excel in every stage of life. It is time we teach our children the importance of critical thinking.
Teaching the fundamentals of critical reasoning might prove to be an overwhelming task for some parents. But they can make this process interesting and simpler with professional involvement. Trust the best when it comes to nurturing the fundamental 21st-century skills in your children.
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