Critical thinking is an incredibly important skill. We use this skill (or ought to) in every aspect of our lives every single day. Although it’s an important part of academic and business success, it’s not often taught at school unless it’s part of a math, science, or business curriculum.
The basic definition of critical thinking is the ability to take information and make informed decisions without being influenced by your own opinions. Critical thinking is all about being in control of your own thought processes rather than letting it take control of you.
Teaching Children Critical Thinking
As with most things in life, if you begin teaching your children how to think critically, they can master this process, which will benefit them greatly as adults.
Here are a few tips to help your children expand their problem-solving capabilities:
- Ask your child questions. Reinforce what they’ve learned at school with simple questions about their homework. Ask their opinions about their social activities or their favorite television show to spark conversation and encourage kids to think of relevant answers.
- Respect your child’s opinion. Children are complete individuals with their own belief systems. Listening to and considering their opinions will give them confidence.
- Confident children who voice their opinions will become confident adults who will actively participate in their workplace.
- Let your children think for themselves. If you do everything for your child and answer every single question for them, they’ll always rely on you – the parent – for their answers.
- Encourage your child to find their own answers to their questions and praise them when they find the answer.
How Can I Develop Critical Thinking Skills?
Because of its importance in our daily lives, critical thinking is a skill that anyone would benefit from developing and using. You can certainly learn how to think critically and improve your problem-solving skills with little extra effort!
Practice these techniques both at home and in your business and soon you’ll reprogram your brain to automatically look at all sides of a problem:
- Think for yourself. First, don’t be so quick to ask others for the answers to your problems. Step back from the question and look at the subject from all angles. Consider all relevant information about the situation to exercise critical thinking effectively.
- Try not to make snap judgments. Examine all of the evidence closely and absorb all of the data first. When you consider all relevant data, your decision will be well reasoned.
- Evaluate objectively. Evaluating the information without letting your own opinions affect your judgment is one of the biggest hurdles people face when trying to develop their critical thinking skills. Objective reasoning doesn’t happen overnight!
- You may need to make a conscious effort to think past your own opinions. Imagine that you are not yourself, but instead a totally neutral outside observer. How would this change your view of the situation? Being able to get yourself into this mindset will go far towards your development of effective critical thinking capabilities.
Even if it takes some time to sharpen your critical thinking skills, the benefits far outweigh the effort. Critical thinking will teach you an entirely new way to look at the world and can-do wonders for your abilities as a problem solver! As a critical thinker, you’ll be better equipped to face the challenges presented by an ever-changing world and you’ll be well served in both your personal and business life.