Promoting Critical Thinking Skills for Preschoolers

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  • 0:04 Critical Thinking
  • 1:00 Teaching…
  • 1:52 Teaching Prediction Skills
  • 2:27 Teaching Cause-and-Effect
  • 3:08 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Saranya Chatterjee

Saranya has a masters degree in Chemistry and in Secondary Education. She has taught high school, AP chemistry for 2 years and is teaching undergraduate college chemistry for 3 years.

This lesson will talk about the importance of critical thinking skills. It will focus on teaching strategies for promoting these skills in preschoolers in three areas: problem solving, prediction, and cause-and-effect relationships.

Critical Thinking

In order to succeed in school and in life, students need to be able to critically analyze information and ideas. These skills are learned early in life, and there are certain strategies that can be used to teach them. Before digging into the strategies, let's define critical thinking and find out why it's important. Critical thinking skills are higher-level thinking skills that allow one to reason, analyze, predict, process information, make inferences and judgments, and make interpretations. It is the ability to make rational conclusions based on evidence, and involves engaging in reflective and independent thinking.

Studies show that these higher-level thinking skills help with things like communication, literacy, language, self-reflection, and creativity. They are necessary for any life situation that calls for reflection, analysis, planning, and judgment. Teaching critical thinking skills will help students beyond school and their professional lives, and it will give them the skills necessary for life.

Teaching Problem-Solving Skills

Problem-solving is one of the essential skills students will need in the classroom, as well as in life. In order to become independent and self-sufficient individuals, students will need to begin to learn how to arrive at solutions. Developing controlled scenarios within the classroom is the most effective way to get students to start thinking about how to come up with solutions to problems themselves. For example, after you present the class with an imaginary scenario, the children can work through the steps to solve a problem as a class. They can identify the problem, brainstorm ideas to solve it, and choose the best option. Finally, they can create an action plan to carry out the solution. As another example, the teacher can write a problem-solving critical-thinking question on the board (e.g., ''Is there a better way to work out this problem?'') and give students a ''response box'' for their answers. The teacher can then pull out entries and read them aloud to the class.

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