Everybody thinks, at least we hope everybody thinks. However, few are aware of the various skills that can be used in thinking. In this post, we will look at several different skills that can be used when trying to think and understand something. There are at least four different skills that can be used in thinking and they are…
Clarification, as you can tell from the name, is focused on making things clear so that decisions can be made. Clarification involves developing questions, analysis, and defining terms.
Clarification lays the groundwork for determining the boundaries in which thinking needs to take place. In many ways, clarification deals with the question of what are you trying to think about.
Basis involves categorizing the information that has been gathered to think about. At this stage, a person decides if the information they have is a fact, opinion, or just incorrect information.
Another activity at this level is assessing the credibility of the sources of information. For example, facts from experts are considered more credible than the opinions of just anybody.
Inference involves several different forms of reasoning. These forms of reasoning have been discussed in a previous post. The forms include inductive, deductive, and abductive reasoning.
Whatever form of reasoning is used the overall goal is to develop conclusions based either on principles or examples. As such, the prior forms of thinking are necessary to move to developing inferences. In other words, there must be clarification and basis before inferences.
Evaluation involves developing a criteria upon which to judge the adequacy of whatever decisions have been made. This means assessing the quality of the thought process that has already taken place.
Assessing judgment is near the top of Bloom’s Taxonomy and involves not only having an opinion but basing the opinion on well-developed criteria. This is in no way easy for anybody.
Tips for Developing Thinking Skills
When dealing with students, here are a few suggestions for developing thinking skills.
- Demonstrate-Providing examples of the thinking process give students something to model.
- Question-Questioning is an excellent way to develop thinking. Most of the thinking skills above involve extensive questioning.
- Verbalize thinking-When students are required to think, have them verbalize what they are thinking. This provides insight into what is happening inside their head as well as allows the teacher to analyze what is happening.
Thinking involves questioning. The development of answers to these questions is the fruit of thinking. It is important to determine what one is trying to do in order to allow purposeful thinking to take place.