Critical thinking is the analysis and evaluation of the information we receive. It involves listening to others, taking the positive, talking about the negative and based on that information, making decisions.
When we think we form ideas in our heads that we relate to in order to assess a certain situation. The ability to reflect and reason efficiently will lead us to make decisions and solve problems successfully, therefore, the more information we have, the better results we will obtain. But ... is it something that can be taught to children?
To teach children to have critical thinking, it is very important to:
- Do not impose our criteria and let them decide autonomously.
- Teach them to differentiate the important from the secondary.
- Teach them to analyze the pros and cons, encourage them to ask and be well informed, and for that, we must make them develop in an environment where intellectual curiosity flows.
- We must choose topics that are of interest to children, encourage debate, provoke controversy, ask many questions and give different answers, compare and contrast stories, and of course, even if they make mistakes, make them feel safe by reinforcing their confidence so that they have their own personality and are responsible at the time to make decisions. We know that the brain can be trained to think in a logical and positive way.
Teach them to look for explanations of life in general It will help them to think and therefore to be aware and draw conclusions. It is essential to carry out tasks in groups and make it clear to them that it is okay to have another point of view and not agree with the opinion of others. They will also learn to develop values such as equality, tolerance, empathy: if I want others to take my feelings into account, I must take into account the feelings of others.
To stimulate critical thinking in children we can resort to activities such as:
1. Simple math problems.
2. Take news from the newspaper that they can evaluate and give their opinion, for example the opening of a municipal market in their neighborhood.
3. Encourage reading and watching movies for discussion later.
I leave you one of my nursery rhymes, to work on differences and integration / acceptance, something very necessary in these times.
A very red rose was born,
in a tomato garden,
that's why he always thought,
that although strange, it was a tomato.
The others were round,
she very tall and thin,
and although everyone loved her,
and nobody said anything,
she grew up very self-conscious,
thinking it was very strange.
Two little birds spoke,
one afternoon distracted,
of the flower that between tomatoes
so beautiful had grown.
'Who are you talking about, little birds?
There is no flower here ',
the beautiful rose told them
when talking he heard them
And seeing her so confused
they got her out of her mistake:
'You are a beautiful flower,
that you were born among tomatoes,
Your name is Rosa,
Didn't anyone tell you before? '
The tomatoes looked at her,
They didn't know either!
how it was born among its bushes,
a tomato they believed
The flower stretched out proud,
knowing it was a rose,
but he stayed in the orchard
tall, slim and beautiful.
Reading comprehension questions about the text of the poem to make children think:
1. Who are the protagonists of our history?
2. Do you know where roses are born?
3. Do you know where tomatoes grow?
4. What is the relationship between the rose and the tomatoes?
5. Do you think that being different from others is a problem?
6. Would you feel bad for being different?
7. Would you accept someone different in your environment?
8. Do you think there is a real problem in the relationship of the protagonists of this story?
9. Do you think the birds acted well by telling the rose the truth?
10. Is it important to be loved?
11. Do you think the rose makes a good decision? What would you have done instead?
12. How do you think the tomatoes would have felt if the rose had gone?
13. How do you think the rose would have felt if it had left?
14. Do you know any story similar to this?
15. Which one?
To finish I leave you a phrase of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of 'The Little Prince': 'I know there is only one freedom, that of thought'.
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