Critical thinking is defined as “making reasoned judgements that are logical and well thought out…a way of thinking in which you don’t simply accept all arguments and conclusions…but rather have an attitude involving questioning” and is an essential tool to our everyday lives, in addition to academic success. Luckily, it is one skill which can be taught to children in order to develop their analytical skills, helping them to become better decision makers and problem solvers when faced with difficult tasks and situations.
Although in some circumstances, people draw on their emotions or past experiences to come to a conclusion, the ability to use critical thinking in a difficult situation allows a person to focus on the hard evidence, in order to solve a problem. It focuses on allowing a person to become more in tuned to themselves, leading to an increased overall intelligence and test performance, which ultimately drives academic success.
Another important factor often forgotten about critical thinking is the fact that it leads people to think in different ways, meaning people contributing to a meeting or group project are able to provide different solutions to the same problem, enhancing a person’s ability to listen and collaborate with other team members, thus leading to a more flexible approach to problem solving.
With an ever evolving market and business constantly changing, the ability to think critically in business helps us to adapt, creating us capable of tackling new challenges when they arise. Now that the U.K. has voted to leave the EU, with the market being rendered volatile at present, it is easy to see how critical thinking skills have been essential in planning the contingency plans for this leave, with Mark Carney, the Bank of England governor, immediately putting the market at ease with his reassurance that The Bank of England will “take any measures needed to secure economic and financial stability” (Carney, 2016) in order to calm financial market fears which seemed to ease the pressure at the beginning of the day in London after announcements of Brexit were made.
So, as a parent remember that you are at the forefront of being responsible for teaching critical thinking skills to your children. Remember to use time sequence of past/present/future to help your child learn about sequence, and ask not only closed questions that require yes/no answers, but have your child start to develop their minds by questioning what they think about their favourite television character, or what they think will happen next in the plot of the book you read at bedtime tonight. Most importantly show respect for your child’s thinking and leave them room to grow independently, promoting confidence in their ability to become a critical thinker.