Logical, Critical, and Creative Thinking (page 2)
Logical Thinking and Analyzing Skills
In the social studies, teachers can help children gain logical thinking and analyzing skills in at least three ways: by modeling, through discussion, and through guided practice with feedback. Purposeful guided tasks and teacher questions are important in logical thinking skills such as the following:
|Thinking Skills||Type of Activity|
|Interpreting or explaining||Paraphrasing, rephrasing|
|Relating information to self||Advanced organizers for reading assignments|
|Applying previous knowledge||Charting, drawing parallels|
|Identifying implicit assumptions||Discussion of motives|
|Identifying key features and characteristics||Defining, describing, giving background|
|Summarizing and synthesizing||Writing summaries, reviewing, giving closure to lessons|
|Comparing and contrasting||Identifying attributes, pattern finding|
|Organizing information||Outlining, sequencing|
|Classifying and categorizing||Charting, sorting|
|Inferencing and concluding||Cause and effect exercises, following clues, guessing games, problem solving|
|Determining truth, accuracy, completeness, reliability||Cross checking, maps of errors, peer evaluation|
Critical and Creative Thinking
Someone has said that the chief dilemma of teaching is to show students where to look without telling them what to see. Helping students learn to think logically should lead them to critical and creative thought processes, not show them what to think. The teacher wants the student to be able to make informed decisions based on the information available and to have the ability and the mindset needed to come up with multiple and original ideas as solutions to problems.
Critical thinking can be defined as making evaluations or judgments of experience. When evaluation is based on analysis, as it normally is, then critical thinking involves often complex logical reasoning. Critical thinking requires comparing a personal set of experiences and values to current experiences, newly encountered data, and decision- and judgment-demanding situations. We think critically whenever we try to reason out decisions or judgments.
Critical thinking relates to some very important functions of the mind.
- The symbolic process: We allow words, numbers, and other symbols to stand for ideas.
- Visualization: We make mental pictures that represent our perceptions.
- Characterization: We notice the qualities of things and that which we notice, in turn, builds our perceptions of likes and differences.
- Classification: We sort things into classes, types, families, and so on.
- Structure analysis: We notice how things are made and break classes into component parts.
- Operations analysis: We notice how things happen, successive stages, and so on.
- Paralleling: We see how situations are alike.
Creative thinking also requires evaluative thinking as well as other abilities. Creative thinkers come up with new ideas, new ways of looking at things, and different ways of synthesizing or combining existing ideas. They see several logics possible in solving problems and also are open to illogical methods. They are not so much looking for the solution to a problem or answer to a question, as they are trying to see various possibilities. Part of the creative mindset is a fluency and flexibility of thought. Creativity implies originality, the ability to come up with unique and unconventional approaches. But good creative thinkers follow through with the same openness, having the ability to develop and elaborate ideas in solving problems. Creative thinking is what we need when we try to find new and different ways of solving both new problems that we have never encountered before and older ones that have remained without satisfactory solution. Though it would be an oversimplification to say that creative thinking is the ability to solve problems, that ability is at least a focus of creative thinking. Creative thinking differs from most thought required in school chiefly because of its emphasis on alternative approaches and solutions and on multiple solutions.
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