Archive for the ‘teaching critical thinking’ Category

Teaching Your Child Critical Thinking

June 23, 2014

criticalthink2Children can begin to learn critical thinking very early. Critical thinking is a skill that elevates thinking beyond memorization into the realm of analysis and logic. It is about knowing how to think, not what to think.

Here are some things you can try with your children to get them used to thinking critically, a skill that will serve them well throughout life:

  • Ask open-ended questions that don’t have one right answer. This encourages children to respond creatively without being afraid of giving the wrong answer. They will begin to see themselves as problem solvers.
  • Teach your child to find patterns and connections in everyday things—at the park, watching TV, different shapes in road signs, etc.
  • Help children develop hypotheses. Ask them, “If we do this, what do you think will happen?” Or, “Let’s predict what we think will happen next.”
  • Categorize and classify things, such as sorting laundry or Legos. Classification requires us to identify and sort based on a set of rules. After classifying something, follow up by asking your child what the similarities and the differences were with the groups that were created.
  • Help your child consider the pros and cons of a situation and make a decision, even if it is a wrong decision. Then ask your child how they feel about their decision and what would they do differently next time.
  • Instead jumping in to solve problems all the time, ask your child some questions and provide enough information so he or she doesn’t get frustrated, but not so much information that you solve the problem for them.
  • Encourage your child to do research, to look for more information about a topic. You could help them search for information on the computer, at the library, or by asking mom or dad.

Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. We also have specialists in college counseling and athletic college prep counseling on our staff. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at:

The Importance of Critical Thinking

July 5, 2013

If we teach children everything we know, their knowledge is limited to ours. If we teach children to think, their knowledge is limitless. Research has found that the more often a student is exposed to critical thinking, the greater the probability the student will transfer critical thinking to other areas of his or her life. 

Simply put, critical thinking is looking at both sides of an issue, then weighing your position based on factual evidence you have gathered on the subject matter. It requires a person to draw inferences from information they’ve been given, and to use deductive skills from all of the gathered facts in order to make an informative decision or to take a position on the subject.

The cornerstone of critical thinking is the ability to ask questions. Teaching children to ask “What if?” and “How can?” questions, for example, sparks exploration and encourages them to think. Critical thinking development can be improved through reading books that both enrich and challenge the mind to ponder on issues or to engage in discussions with other people that provide stimulation for the mind and allow such individuals to test their critical thinking ability during arguments.

Puzzles and other types of games that require the use of logic and reason to solve problems can help in the development of critical thinking skills. There are plenty of opportunities in the course of our daily activities at home and work that can help develop critical thinking skills.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at:

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