Sunday, December 04, 2011

Mind in the Making: Seven Essential Life Skills

Skill Five: Critical Thinking

This is an important skill that helps in making decisions in every day life.  This skill helps is especially important when you consider the easy access they now have to information through the internet.  It will help them determine what is valid and reliable knowledge.  The first step in developing this skill is theorizing and learning from others.

As a science teacher, I am always trying to teach the skills that Galinsky emphasizes in the chapter.  It is important to be able to think scientifically and understand cause and effect.
1.  Focus on the evidence
2.  Gather new evidence
3.  Interpret the evidence

How to promote critical thinking:
1.  Observe them to determine what theories they are coming up with to try and understand the world
2.  Encourage their curiosity and guide them in solving their own problems whenever possible through experiments, clues, and suggestions
3.  Encourage their passions and interests
4.  Give them accurate and valid information (that's age and developmentally appropriate)
5.  Help them find other experts to learn from
6.  Help them evaluate information from others (rumors vs. reality)
7.  Encourage critical viewing skills (when watching tv, especially ads)
8.  Model problem solving for them:
     - Identify the problem
     - Determine the goal
     - Come up with possible solutions and evaluate their effectiveness
     - Choose a solution and evaluate its outcome - if it doesn't work, try something else

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