Martin Luther King identified teaching people to think intensively and critically as the main function of education. Schools today also focus on developing and enhancing students’ critical thinking skills. Parents can also help hone the children’s critical thinking skills through teaching them to question ideas and information.
A good way of doing this is through using Bloom’s Taxonomy. Benjamin Bloom, a psychologist developed the classification of questioning according to six levels of higher order thinking. This is often used by teachers in preparing lesson plans and if used by parents can help the child meet the challenges set in the lessons.
Parents can begin by asking who, what, where, when, how and why questions. These simple questions help children master the first level, remembering.
The next level is understanding, children will be answering questions that require them to organize prior information, such as: comparing, interpreting the meaning, or organizing the information.
Once a child is given a real-life problem and asked to find their own solution, they will move to the next level, applying. Examples are asking why they think something is important, continuing a story or predicting what would happen in a given scenario.
Asking the child to identify motives or causes from real-life stories will lead them to level of analyzing. Good ways of doing this is through encouraging them to conduct an interview or a survey, having them make flow charts of activities or events, family tree, or role play a real-life situation.
The next level will be evaluating and this can be achieved through asking the child to form and defend an opinion on a subject. For example they can be asked to evaluate a character’s actions in a story.
All of these levels lead to the ultimate one that of creating, which can be reached by asking the child to put together several bits of old information to form a new idea. Ways of doing this would be through asking them to create, design or invent a new item, proposal or plan.