Teaching Higher Level Thinking Skills
At school we are working hard to have students develop their higher level thinking skills. The good news is that these skills can be learned! In today’s world with technology all around us, it is very easy to head to the internet for an instant answer to your questions. Unfortunately this instant gratification has taken away some things from us. We no longer have to brainstorm, use our common sense, and prior knowledge to conjecture an answer. Our patience and persistence acquired from having to figure out the answer has been lost. As parents and educators in this age of technology we have to be extremely diligent to continue to foster higher level thinking skills. We must encourage our children to figure out the questions and the answers and not give up attempting to do so when the answers do not immediately appear.
As a parent you can help your child develop his or her higher level thinking skills and foster brainstorming and common sense. You might start by doing brainteasers together. Model how you reread the statement to help understand what is being said. Look for the keywords that relate to the question. Draw a picture or diagram to show what you know. These techniques are also great for students to use with their homework. Another great ways to encourage higher level thinking skills is to ask open ended questions that have more than one answer. Have your children answer the questions from a different point of view. Brainstorm answers together. Make it a game where creative answers get extra points.
Try this idea next time your child says, “Why do I have to eat my vegetables?” Don’t respond with, “Because I said so!” Instead, say, “Let’s brainstorm some ideas on why we should eat our vegetables!” Have fun with it. Why does the trash man, the grocer, the farmer, your dog think you should eat your vegetables? Ask your children how they could find out the answer to their question, and then have them find the information and talk about what they have learned.
In the library we are working on the five steps to being information literate: defining your topic, finding your information, evaluating your information, using your information effectively, and self-reflecting. Students are working on using their higher level thinking skills to analyze the information they are given to find the answers that they need. Together let’s work to develop higher level thinking skills by promoting persistence in problem solving and creative thinking!