How to Improve Critical Thinking Skills in Children -
Techniques to Train Your Children for Critical Thinking
By Andrew Loh
Critical thinking is an amalgamation of several other thinking skills.
Benjamin Bloom was the pioneer to work on an amazing theory that also
provided a series of techniques to enhance cognitive skills in children.
According to Bloom, critical taxonomy lays down a series of competences
that act as foundation for critical thinking. These competences are
described as follows:
Knowledge: This relates to components like
dates, events, information, statistics and math formulae.
Comprehension: This relates to deciphering meaning, analyzing sequence
and events, interpret and evaluate information, compare and contrast
ideas, make and deduce inferences, predict or guess ideas.
Application: Using and deploying information and concepts to solve
problems in hand.
Analysis: This relates to creating and
recognizing patterns, individual components, parts and chunks of information.
Synthesis: This correlates with using information
and details to create a fresh and new system and to generalize and draw
Evaluation: This relates to assess and evaluate
concepts and options for the purpose of subjectivity and judgment.
Now, let us discuss the implications of these six competences to
find out the manner in which you can train your children for better
critical thinking skills. Please remember that training your children
involves asking a series of questions that eventually lead to
fine-tuning of critical thinking skills.
Three competences namely, knowledge, comprehension and application belong to concrete
thinking skills while the other three competences like analysis, synthesis
and evaluation demand better abstraction skills. In sum, all the six
competences combine to form critical thinking skills.
It involves recalling or reciting information learned or
absorbed to bring out factual or real-life answers. Facts are based on
the truth and critical thinking involves competent and right answers.
How to ask right questions: Always ask the right questions that
lead to meaningful answers. Use quantifying and qualifying questions
that lead to correct answers. Questions embedded with these words and
phrases would make the child to recall and recognize available facts and
How many berries are in a dozen?
When did you join the school and in which year?
Which formula do you use to calculate the area of a triangle?
This competence relates to understanding,
comprehending, and grasping of real meaning behind available information
How to ask right questions: Always use
differentiators when you ask questions to your children. Use keywords
like explain, quantify, estimate, guess, predict, identify,
differentiate and segregate. When you use these strategic phrases, you
will nudge your children to interpret, extrapolate, diversify and
translate available information.
How a seed becomes a plant?
What happened when Bush was the president in 2000?
How an egg becomes a chick?
This competence involves using previously learned information or
knowledge to tackle new or strange scenarios.
How to ask right questions: You want to use questions that contain keywords like apply,
demonstrate, highlight, apply, solve, examine, segregate, classify, try,
experiment and deploy to apply available knowledge to scenarios that are
strange and unfamiliar.
Is there any similarity between an egg and earth globe? If so, what is common to them?
Would a plant seed grow into a dog?
Can ice become water? If so, why?
This competence relates to
segregating or breaking down information into different chunks or parts.
It also relates to inspecting available information and asses its
structure and organization.
How to ask right questions: You may
want to use different keywords in your questions. These could be find
out differences, analyze, explain, describe, compare, separate and
arrange and they will help your children break and segregate available
information into understandable chunks.
This involves applying already
learned knowledge and skills to join them into a specific pattern which
did not exist before.
How to ask right questions: This competence
involves several keywords embedded questions like combine, gel, join,
rearrange, create, synthesize, design and invent. Once you ask such
questions, your children will be able to combine different elements into
one comprehensible chunk.
What happens when a cow lays an egg? Do you know any mammal that lays an egg?
What happens when a boat travels on the road? Does a car travel on water?
Does a rose plant give you vegetable? What happens when a
vegetable plant flowers?
This competence relates to
your children’s ability to judge or infer according to a set of
criteria. However, the judgments deduced may be right or wrong in its meaning.
How to ask right questions: You can use keywords like
compare, summarize, select, choose, decide, measure, explain, conclude
and assess to urge your children to make some judgments based on a set
of specific criteria.
What do flowering bearing rose plants have in common?
What would have happened if the Sun were not to exist?
What would have happened if
your country were not getting its independence?
Critical thinking is a specific phenomenon that helps children lead a life full of
contentment and productivity. Your children should use critical thinking
strategies in their daily life without getting any help from their
parents and teachers. Reasoning at an optimum level is perhaps the most
important life skills that your children should develop in their life.
Building Thinking Skills- Critical Thinking skills for reading, writing, math, science (Level 1(Grades 2-3)
By Sandra Parks and Howard Black
Building Thinking SkillsŪ provides highly effective verbal and nonverbal reasoning
activities to improve students. vocabulary, reading, writing, math, logic, and
figural-spatial skills, as well as their visual and auditory processing. This exceptional
series provides a solid foundation for academic excellence and success on any assessment test.
Sandra Parks received an M.A. in Education, specializing in Curriculum Development, for
the University of South Florida and pursued doctoral studies at Indiana State University.
She also received a certificate of advanced study from Harvard University. She has conducted
National Curriculum Studies Institute workshops annually for the Association for Supervision
and Curriculum Development and provides staff development to schools across the country.