Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Critical Thinking in Tutoring: How to Get Students to Think

Having a wide perspective is crucial for any person to gain a certain analytical way of thinking that allows him or her to solve problems he or she encounters. Gaining this perspective isn't as simple as memorizing a set of lessons or learning algebra rules. Gaining this perspective involves the development that is unique to each student, but there are key points to tackle in order to expand how students think.

Critical thinking involves the assessment of ideas in unique ways that expose different angles of how they are viewed. This kind of thinking is important not only in academics, but also in actual life experiences that students will encounter. Here are some techniques that you can use for students to develop a wider perspective on things.

Argumentation (Debates)

Probably the most important aspect of enhancing critical thinking is the use of argumentation. Argumentation can be in the form of debates or even just simple contrasting of ideas. When one topic or idea is up for argument, the result usually combines a different set of opinions about the ideas, widening the perspective of people involved.

Argumentation teaches the value of critical analysis because it describes how an idea can be viewed from different angles. These perceptions allow students to look at things from another aspect which allows an extensive form of development, especially in the course of understanding topics in open ended subjects such as History and Literature.

Root Cause Analysis (Getting to the Bottom of Things with Concrete Evidence)

Basically, you find the root cause of a certain event or idea. This kind of analytical thinking is very effective in enhancing critical thought because of how the student takes steps back into the origin of something. It makes him or her think about the possible cause of something by analyzing possible factors.

In most analytical thinking aspects such as science topics, root cause analysis is very effective. It allows students to explain complex cycles like the birth and growth of a frog or perhaps the motion of molecules affecting the nature of substances.

Exposure (Letting Learners Gain Hands-On Experience)

The last form of letting students enhance their critical thinking is to expose them to different settings. Whether by video or by actual visits, the exposure will allow students to gain a deeper understanding as they are present in the actual simulation or area of interest.

Exposure is very effective because it not only taps into the mind central of the student, but also the other senses are stimulated as well. This teaches students to understand events more easily. For instance, it would be much better to let your student tour a World War 2 exhibit than to narrate the events. He or she will grasp the intensity of the war much more readily through the exposure.

Critical thinking is important in making it in this busy world, especially when your students will deal with problems that require extra effort in analysis. By widening their perspective, students will be at ease when dealing with problems that seem difficult, because they have the confidence to tackle them.

How do you employ critical thinking skills in your tutoring sessions?

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