Our School Counselor, Therese Schreiner, has been teaching and counseling students for 52 years, and she has learned a lot on her journey. She's here to share words of wisdom with our community. This week Mrs. Schreiner is talking to us about the importance of critical thinking skills!
THE IMPORTANCE OF CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS
Well, we are back into E-Learning, and I thought it might be a good time for us to reflect on how this learning has developed into a student’s “new way of learning” and a “new way of teaching,” both by teacher and parents. Years ago, when I worked in grade school and then in high school, I always took ten minutes out of class time for a counseling session, to have my students reflect either orally or in writing, on what they learned and whether it was relatively easy or had it been difficult and why so.
Perhaps, for just a few minutes, you could ask your child just that. “How has this E-Learning been for you?” Encourage the answer to include some examples if there is no reply, wait-don’t intervene right away. It takes time to form an answer.
What has this to do with critical thinking skills? In an article written in Michigan State University Extension, “Critical thinking requires us to take in information, analyze it, and make judgments about it. That type of active engagement demands imagination and inquisitiveness.” The natural curiosity of children forms the basis for this type of thinking.
There are different terms used when speaking about critical thinking skills. The following is a set of skills in a hierarchy, from low to high, that I use :
1. KNOWLEDGE-Identification and recall of information (define, label, name)
2. COMPREHENSION-Organization and selection of facts and ideas (describe, explain, interpret, rewrite)
3. APPLICATION-Use of facts, rules, and principles (apply, give an example, solve, illustrate)
4. ANALYSIS-Separating a whole into parts (analyze, contrast, diagram, classify)
5. SYNTHESIS- Combining ideas to form a new whole- (predict, invent, create)
6. EVALUATION-Developing opinions, judgments, or decisions (judge, appraise, plan)
As you can see, from the list above, our teachers, in every discipline, work day in and day out, from Pre-K through eighth grade, to teach, using many different strategies, these necessary life skills.
In her book, “Mind in the Making: The seven essential life skills every child needs,” author Ellen Galinsky explains how important it is to teach children these skills. Maybe you have already noticed your child using these different skills.
God bless you, and may you and your family remain healthy.