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How to teach elementary school students to think critically?

How to teach elementary school students to think critically?
How to teach elementary school students to think critically?

The development of critical thinking is one of the priority tasks of the educational process of the new school. And, therefore, it is no secret that every school aims to teach or develop this skill in every student, starting from elementary school. Before we talk about the possibilities of developing critical thinking in children,

What is critical thinking?

 Critical thinking goes beyond the usual memorization of information. It encourages students to make connections between concepts, solve problems, teaches creative thinking and apply knowledge in new ways. For a long time it was believed that critical thinking was important only for such subjects as mathematics, chemistry, physics or other exact sciences. However, the development of critical thinking in students contributes to the fact that the acquired skills become not only important for successful learning in school, but also a necessity in everyday

The priority of the tasks of the new school should be to teach students of different ages the skills of critical thinking. And for us, primary school teachers, teaching young students to analyze, evaluate, see the problem, make choices and make decisions has become a real challenge. Speaking of primary school, we, primary school teachers, need to learn to find and properly apply ways to develop critical thinking during primary school lessons. Here are 7 basic ways to develop critical thinking in junior high students.

  1. Ability to ask “open” questions.

 Such questions allow students to build on their knowledge and apply what they have learned before. It also allows them to solve problems faster and increases their self-esteem in front of peers. Students need to ask questions that evoke a “research reflex.” Such questions include: “Why …?”, “How …?”, “And how would …?”, “And if…?”

  1. Ability to make decisions.

Since much of critical thinking skills are the application of knowledge and decision-making, primary school teachers should encourage students to make decisions as much as possible. This way, students will be able to apply what they knew before, weigh the pros and cons of decisions, and then decide which ones work best.

Ask children questions that allow them to make assumptions about what the text will be about (work in pairs or groups). The text is divided into parts, and then students will read it in parts. Stops need to work in the most interesting places, to create an intriguing situation of waiting. After reading each part, students are asked questions. It is proposed to make predictions about what will happen next. And after reading the next part, this prediction is analyzed and a decision is made.

  1. Opportunity for students to study in groups.

 Group projects and discussions are another great way for elementary students to develop critical thinking skills. Such group learning broadens their worldview and also demonstrates to them that there is no single right way to solve the problem.

  1. listen to different points of view.

Listening to different points of view during the discussion will give the opportunity to form a single correct opinion and at the same time will allow you to share your own views with other participants in the learning process. Strategy “Press Method” (At any stage of the lesson) Stages of the press method: – “I believe…” – “Because…” – “For example…” – “So…”, “Thus…”

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Reading with marks Variety of work with the textbook. It aims to teach students to read meaningful text with analysis. Before starting work, students are asked to highlight four types of information in the text and mark them with the appropriate symbols

Familiar information, I knew it before (+); new information (-); contradictory information, I did not think so ((); insufficient information, I would like to know more about it from classmates (?)

  1. Ability to use different ideas.

 Using life situations to teach critical thinking. For example, a teacher might ask students if they know why flowers did not grow in a school flowerbed. Such life questions help students consider various possible situations (for example, they were planted late) and other decisions (poorly cared for plants). This will help them to apply the acquired knowledge in the event of unforeseen situations in life.

  1. Ability to create something new.

 Elementary students have a very developed imagination. And this in turn contributes to the successful creation of educational projects. They can create their own inventions, write a story or a poem, come up with a game, sing a song.

  1. Possibility of “brainstorming”

 Brainstorming is an excellent tool for teaching critical thinking, which allows you to activate previously acquired skills and better remember the following knowledge in class. This is a very good exercise for developing critical thinking, especially in combination with a video or cartoon, which stimulates conversation and discussion in the classroom. Everyone expresses their own ideas. The aim is to involve all participants in the work. For example, the strategy “Associative bush”. Rules for assembling an associative bush:

  • Write a keyword or phrase on the board in the center;
  • Write down any words or phrases that come to mind;
  • Put question marks near parts of the bush in which there is uncertainty;
  • Write down all the ideas that come up or how much time allows.

Thus, the proposed ways to develop critical thinking in primary school lessons will help students learn to perceive phenomena, objects or events from different points of view. And they will be more interested in studying and exploring this world, to develop their outlook. In the future, these skills will help students in everyday life. The teacher’s task is to be able to successfully manage learning activities in the classroom, skillfully calculate the different levels of students, learn to see and show each student its uniqueness. In the future, all this together will be able to form successful personalities of students.