If you are a parent or an educator, you definitely know the importance of developing critical thinking skills with young people to help them to become capable problem solvers in their daily lives. If we could ensure that we are doing this with EVERY young person, we know that we would make a difference with young people’s lives.

critical-thinkingDeveloping critical thinking skills is a two step process.

“The first occurs when learners (for the first time) CONSTRUCT IN THEIR MINDS the basic ideas, principles, and theories that are inherent in content. This is a process of INTERNALIZATION.  The second occurs when learners effectively USE those ideas, principles, and theories as they become relevant in learners’ lives. This is a process of APPLICATION.” (Wikipedia.org).

So how do we ensure that what we are teaching is first of all understood, and then second of all APPLIED in a young person’s life? This is the question of the century for most educators who try to make real world connections for young people to understand the relevance of what they are learning.

Try This FUN Activity for One Week –

How Can CRITICAL THINKING improve your results IMMEDIATELY?

Results – Is there someone in your family who is really good at decision making, problem solving or thinking critically? Have them share their stories with you so you can hear the process that is involved in their decision-making process.

Change My Results NOW –
This is the KEY to SUCCESS in your life. If you want to change your results in any area, you just need to change your thoughts. It’s that simple! If you change your thinking to more positive thoughts, your level of vibration will change. You will notice that life will become more peaceful. Things will just become easier. Developing your higher faculties of your mind will give you an “edge” that will set you apart from others.

 How to Develop Critical Thinking/Reasoning Skills with a NEW Topic-

  1. Encourage note-taking so that teens can truly understand what they are learning. When you see something in writing, you have a simple way to recall this new information. http://www.headlinespot.com/for/kids/ Visit this site for “What’s NEW in the headlines for kids” and find some topics that your teen may find interesting. Everyone loves to talk about money, so see if you can generate a conversation on this headline- “Obama says stimulus bill saved a troubled economy.”
  2. Start a JOURNAL for learning new topics and ask teens to research The Stimulus Bill.
  3. Quizzes or questions that test understanding of new topics help teens to reinforce what they are learning. If you are a parent, just ask open ended questions (that start with what or how) to see if you can test your teen’s level of understanding on a certain topic.
    1. How did the stimulus bill save the economy?
    2. What examples can you give me?
    3. How will you use this information?
    4. How will this information help you?
    5. What will it help you do?
    6. Where did you read or hear about [topic]?
    7. Where else have you searched?

4.       See if your teen can think independently on the topic they are learning. Ask them questions to see if they can APPLY their knowledge

5.       Debate topics over the dinner table or while driving to soccer that originates with the concept first learned. Did the Stimulus Bill really create more jobs?

6.       Have teens use their prior knowledge about the topic to related their own insights and demonstrate their own understanding of the topic.

7.       Make this a fun activity and create your OWN stimulus plan! Offer an increase in allowance for behaviors you would like to reward.

Feedback –
How is this activity going? If teens are enjoying this, you will know. If they find it a bore, you will need to find a topic that interests them so that they will want to do some extra research online.  

Put it into Practice –
Encourage teens to ask you to think critically. Have them ask YOU questions. With time, it will become a habit that will benefit the whole family.

“Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve.” – Roger Lewin, British anthropologist and science writer of 20 books.

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