Critical thinking and creativity are the must-have skills for children to succeed both at school and in their future careers. Industry continues to change dramatically and as each year passes new technologies and new ways of working emerge. With this dynamic backdrop, your children need to be able to cope with a world where the only constant is change. In short, if you want your children to kick start their careers with a real advantage, they need more than just a list of qualifications – they need to be critical thinkers as well.
What is critical thinking?
In essence, it is the ability to observe, experience and analyse information to establish its integrity. These days, with the Internet and social media, we have so much information at the touch of our fingers that at times it can seem overwhelming. That is why critical thinking skills are a must today, as they enable us to make reasoned judgments, empower us to find solutions to the knottiest problems, and help us discern what is fake and what is real.
1. Get immersed in the arts
With art education, students learn to take a slower, more considered approach. This helps them practice detecting the clues that make solving complex problems possible. Art encourages children to observe the world from many different angles, and the process of creating their own artworks requires careful analysis of the world around them. If you think about, critical thinking is an absolutely vital component of creativity. So, this artistic process naturally develops critical thinking skills in children, without them even realising it!
2. Encourage interest in STEM
STEM itself is a way of thinking and so is particularly useful to nurture critical thinking. STEM activities such as robotics, engineering and electronics present children with real problems, and kids can’t help getting enthusiastically involved in finding the solutions. When faced with such situations, critical thinking skills are inevitably used and the capacity of children to work out answers to tough questions in original and creative ways is bound to increase.
3. Bury your nose in a book
Helping our children develop reading comprehension skills is a great way to enhance critical thinking. Ask your children to summarise a story or chapter. This skill helps them determine what is important in the story and develops critical thinking as they consider what is important and what can be left out.
4. Ask questions
Ask “why?” five times. This is a guaranteed way of getting to the root causes of problems, but make sure that you give your children time to think through the question before asking for responses. So, at home, ask your child to answer questions such as “How exactly does X cause climate change?” and “Why should we worry about it?” To answer, they’ll need to go beyond the basics and really think deeply about a topic. You can also ask them to think about how their perspective may differ from other people’s by asking questions such as “How will climate change affect people living in X country or X city?” or “Why should people living in X country or X city worry about it?”
5. Don’t forget play time!
Provide opportunities for play. Testing how things work informally is the best way of enhancing critical thinking. It is during play that children explore cause and effect. So when they are trying to get a block to balance on the top of a tower, don’t think that they are wasting their time – they are actually exercising critical thinking. These hands-on experiences provide an integral foundation for later abstract critical thinking.
Develop critical thinking at Neoversity
Here at Neoversity, we believe that young minds of today are the seeds from which we can grow great trees of tomorrow. That’s why we lead children on exciting and inspirational educational journeys. We develop children’s critical thinking skills through a wide range of exciting and engaging art, STEM, language and reading activities. Find out more.