Sunday, September 18, 2011

Creating Thinkers

Teaching children how to think can be difficult.  In contrast, teaching children to merely reflect the thoughts of others is simple in comparison.  Think about it for a minute.  Requiring children to memorize and repeat correct answers can be done by practice and repetition.  Sometimes it is necessary to learn this way, like in the case of memorizing times tables or equations.  But the way a child learns best and retains knowledge is when he or she can reason and comprehend why things happen.  

Knowing how and why helps him or her understand and apply it to their field of knowledge and usefulness.  When a child learns to think for themselves, they achieve a level of growth and autonomy that surpasses students who simply memorize facts and figures.  Even the subject of spelling requires more than mere memorization.  Critiquing words and how they are spelled based upon phonics and rules of the English language requires reasoning abilities.  

Teaching thinking necessitates several things.  Using an inquiry method of instruction, where problems are directed to the student and where the student is given time to think and solve is one of them.  Comparison and contrast, evaluation, and questioning are all necessary components in creating thinkers.  Giving the student the ability to evaluate and make judgments teaches them to think for themselves.  

If you are asking your child to list, label, match, name, or recall information, you are teaching them to be reflectors of the thinking of others.  But, if your instructional technique leads them to interpret, discriminate, defend, critique, appraise, or explain something, you can be sure you are on the pathway to teaching your child how to think.  This is the challenge of educating the student, but one that reaps great rewards!

No comments:

Post a Comment