Rote memorization is just one important aspect of education, but this type of learning does not necessarily alter how a child perceives the world around them. Parents will also need to teach their kids open-ended and complex thinking skills that will help them solve problems of any type throughout. Here is a look at some methods that all parents can use to help their children learn the critical thinking skills that will aid them in every challenge that they come across.
One of the ways that parents can sabotage their efforts to teach their child critical thinking is by exclusively focusing on dogma at a very young age. This can happen in many ways, but it often takes place when parents give a child instructions without giving them the reasons behind those instructions. While every moment of the day does not need to be a teaching point, parents must begin to purposefully raise their child in a different environment.
Studies continue to show that many of the skills that a child will learn while they are younger are not taught in the classroom, and this includes many forms of analytical thinking. Even infants that begin to throw spoons or roll from their back to their stomach are learning about the intricacies of actions and reactions. Allowing children to spend time playing with new objects in new environments will trigger a very specific area of their brain which can lead to better critical and analytical thinking.
Asking a child a question that has just one answer will only teach them to memorize that particular answer and then recite that it on command. Instead, parents should take every opportunity they can to ask their children open-ended questions that have multiple answers. Whenever a problem is presented to a child, you can ask them how they would personally solve that problem. If the answer seems too simple, then ask them to explain how they came to that solution.
One of the most difficult things for a parent to do is to step back and allow their child to struggle with a problem, especially at a younger age. Parents naturally feel the need to rush in and “save” their child, but this can be harmful in the long run. A good compromise for these two extremes is to ask your kid a number of questions that will guide them to an answer. As long as the child does not become overwhelmingly frustrated, these types of exercises are excellent for their critical thinking skills.
As children progress through school they will learn everything from basic shapes to complex mathematics. This type of information is extremely important and can even assist them with complex thoughts, but there is quite a bit that they will need to learn outside of a classroom. Delving into issues such as morality and theology at a young age will give them a fresh perspective on everything else that they come across. It will also be a good practice for the entire family to understand personal beliefs and biases without being judgmental.
Teaching a child to think critically is not simply about making them smarter, but it actually gives them the ability to learn new material and analyze that information in a whole new way.
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