We use critical thinking skills every day. This skill helps us make good decisions, understand the consequences of our actions and solve problems. It is incredibly important to use this skill well as it is used in every decision we make from putting together puzzles to helping us plan the best way to study and complete all our assignments/ tasks on time.
It’s the process of using focus and self-control to solve problems and set and follow through on goals. It utilizes other important life skills like making connections, perspective-taking, and communicating. Basically, critical thinking helps us make good, sound decisions.
Critical thinking basically teaches us “HOW to think”
How do we think critically –
- When we do not know something or are confused about something we can ask questions. If things do not make sense it is fine to clarify or ask questions to seek clarity. We try to figure things out by asking questions which is absolutely fine.
- We can think for ourselves, we do not let others think for us and make all the decisions on our behalf. We can always take all the opinions offered and process and analyse all the options. Critically think through to arrive at the best course of action.
To be good at thinking we need to –
- Want to be a good thinker
- Practice our thinking skills every day for example, how can I do my work better so that it is completed in lesser time without compromising on the quality of work.
- Keep evaluating our thinking For example, is this the smartest idea I can come up with? Is there any other way I could have solved this problem better?
- Practice thinking like how we practice any other skill like cycling or sports like tennis or cricket.
Some tips to encourage your children to think critically –
- You could encourage your child’s curiosity.
- Let them grow their imagination through reading and other activities. This helps them develop their abstract critical thinking skills.
- Allow your child to ask questions, it helps with interpreting his/her understanding.
- Spend quality time with your child in discussing some common topics of interest.
- Make sure your child is given the opportunity to express his/her views and have a discussion without correcting anything immediately.
- Pause and give time for your child to think and think about his/her response and correct it if he/she would like. With consistent practice, this will help your child to analyse the responses before reacting.
- Help your child develop hypothesis… questions like, if we do this what do you think will happen or how do you think this story will end or what do you think will happen next in this situation (think of a situational question) etc.
In this World with an overload of information everywhere, it is important for all of us to critically think and process the information before we act upon it and hence this skill is essential for our overall wellbeing as well.