Teaching Your Child To Think!
Posted on 26th October 2022
Each child is different and each child processes information differently; the common denominator is that a child can think if you teach them.
I have tutored different children over many years, and I still feel a great sense of achievement when my students’ say, “Ah! I get it now; I can see what I did wrong.” Teaching children to think is a skill they will take into adult hood; it is a skill that will define them and create opportunities for them to step into. Whether it is teaching them grammar, maths, creative writing, comprehension, non verbal, spatial or verbal reasoning, the variety of strategies chosen depends on how the child interacts; allowing them to be taught in a way that suits their intelligences.
Some students love non verbal reasoning and some find it a challenge, either way, they are not shy in letting me know. Non verbal reasoning is all about shapes and how they change. I teach my students to eliminate; consider what the answer cannot be and explain to me why- THINK! Once they’ve gone through that process, students are beginning to develop the tools to gather information they have learnt, remove irrelevant information that does not apply and look closely at what answers are left. Sometimes there are two possible answers, but they have now whittled down the possibilities from five answers to two. They can start the process again to work out the definitive answer. The final answer is not always obvious; the more information the student gathers during the process the better they become at deciphering by asking what information has I got in my tool box? What further information can I gather? How do I apply it to this question?
When I’ve tutored GCSE students in English language, I‘ve taught them to infer information. For example if they saw a person walking slowly across the road with a slightly hunched back and a walking stick verses if they saw a person walking slowly across the road uses crutches- what information is obvious and what information has to be inferred about that person. Another scenario could be if the word ‘braces’ is used in the text; are they the braces on your teeth or the braces on trousers. The word braces was used in an English language extract; a student automatically assumed it was the braces for your teeth until we read the text in full and they realised it was braces for trousers.
Inferring and analysing are tools each student should be taught; in many cases reading a variety of texts and books helps tremendously and in other circumstances it’s about teaching students to interpret what the text is saying within its context.
Teaching students to use thinking to ask questions and improve on the skills they have learnt to improve the outcome until they no longer have to think about routine matters, is what will move them forward. I recall a few years ago when one of my students starting improving in leaps and bounds. I asked her what she did differently and her answer was, I really had to think and it hurt.” I responded, "Great answer!"
When you are stuck you have to think hard, it’s no longer about ordinary thinking as this will not help you; it’s about better thinking and doing. If you think and do not do, you achieve nothing; if you think as well as do and make a mistake, you can correct it. The process of understanding what you did wrong and making the correction improves the thinking process and fosters a deeper understanding.
“Many highly intelligent people are articulate but poor thinkers” says Edward de Bono, author of ‘Teach Your Child How To Think’.
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