Our Students Need More Practice in Actual Thinking

CAROL’S SUMMARY: To be ready for the challenges of the global world, students need to have highly developed critical and creative thinking skills, problem-solving and decision-making to name a few. The trouble is, the standardized testing pattern rarely promotes critical and creative thinking.

How can you as a parent promote critical and creative thinking skills at
* Ask questions of your child. Question-asking is one of the most prized
skills and helps you as a parent to be a coach for your child as they grow
older and need more complex thinking skills at their disposal.
* Do creative and different things together as a family. Spend time asking your
kids what they would do in the world if they could do anything–get them to
think big. Whatever they share, ask them to come up with small steps that could move them closer to their big dream. As much as possible, spend time at home imagining, creating and sharing your vision.
* Ask what else. If your child suffers a disappointment or a setback, ask what other good can come from that door closing. What will this setback
do to provide a stepping stone to a new experience?

The more you demonstrate thoughtful, probing and interesting behaviors with
your child, the more they will see critical and creative thinking first-hand
from you.



During a recent meeting of a committee charged with reviewing my state’s higher-education core curriculum, a committee member asked, “Do students really need two math courses?”

In a word, yes.

Admittedly, as an undergraduate English major, I may have asked the same question myself a time or two. And certainly it’s true that, in the nearly three decades since I sweated through pre-calculus, I’ve never once had to factor an equation — nor, frankly, do I remember how. (Just ask my teenagers, who’ve occasionally been misguided enough to ask me for help with their algebra homework.)

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