STEM education goes beyond simply passing tests and fosters higher-order thinking abilities by tying classroom instruction to real-world experiences. Regardless of individual hobbies or professional objectives, STEM promotes cooperation, communication, investigation, problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity—skills that students need to excel in robotics for kids and coding for kids to succeed in today’s world.
In this blog, we will focus on critical thinking, understanding what it means, and its importance for your kid in a STEM field learning environment.
What is Critical Thinking?
A lot of definitions abound as far as critical thinking is concerned. One of the early ways to understand it included considering any opinion or alleged body of knowledge actively, persistently, and carefully in light of the premises on which it is based and the implications it tends to imply
American educator John Dewey saw it as a disposition that consisted of taking risks and dealing with uncertainty. Additionally, he perceived reflective thought as a sequence of linkages or connections that needed to be carefully explored to maintain the thinking pattern rather than just being a collection of unrelated pieces of knowledge.
Critical thinking can also mean investigating a topic, phenomena, question, or problem to develop a hypothesis or conclusion about it that incorporates all available evidence and can, therefore, be persuadingly justified, which is the definition of critical thinking. Since all presumptions are susceptible to challenge, different viewpoints are actively sought. The fact that inquiry is not biased in favour of any one result also makes discovery obvious.
This is where it becomes an essential skill in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and robotics classes for kids.
It involves applying cognitive techniques or tactics that raise the likelihood of a desirable outcome. It is defined as deliberate, logical, and goal-oriented thinking. Additionally, this thinking entails problem-solving, generating inferences, estimating probabilities, and making decisions. The thinker applies considerate and efficient skills for the situation and task.
Characteristics of a Critical Thinker
Critical thinking also places importance on the thinker as it is seen as a process where the thinker can elevate the quality of their thinking by taking control of the structures built into thinking and applying intellectual standards to them.
A well-cultivated critical thinker will display the following qualities in their thought process:
1. Raises vital questions by clearly and precisely formulating them
2. Collects and evaluates pertinent information, using abstract concepts to interpret it effectively.
3. Thinks critically within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and evaluating, as necessary, their premises, implications, and practical repercussions
4. Actively collaborates with others to find solutions to challenging situations.
5. Reaches well-thought-out findings and solutions, evaluating them in light of pertinent criteria and standards
We understand from the above definitions and characteristics that critical thinking is concerned with engaging brain processes to work on specific cognitive tasks.
It is the ongoing use of the mind as an active agent in problem-solving, assessing situations and ideas, overcoming bias, and effectively communicating. The type of activities that must be used in learning situations to stimulate the intellectual thought required to engage critical thinkers is also clearly justified when the importance of using the mind is understood.
Support for Critical Thinking
It is crucial to promote critical thinking at home and classroom by regularly giving kids options and chances to apply these abilities in each subject area and at any academic level.
Suppose parents and teachers assign worthwhile, challenging tasks and encourage full engagement and cognitive rigour. In that case, it can address the need for continual development of critical thinking. Gifted and creative kids display good engagement in various activities that include passively watching television, actively participating in sports, and choosing challenging volunteer or work situations.
They can start participating in extracurricular activities as soon as they start their academic careers. They do not live according to a “one size fits all” philosophy. Gifted children are curious about various ideas, literature, and methods for examining them.
This uniqueness must be fostered, and individual differences must be attended to by providing differentiation in the curriculum.
When we say that you can teach, you can support your child’s critical thinking skills. There are two main assumptions here:
Those kids can be taught to detect and correctly use specific thinking skills that are easily recognizable and defined
Kids will become better, more efficient thinkers if they understand and use these thinking skills.
Critical thinking is essential for kids, irrespective of age. Whether they are in elementary school or high school. However, more creative and gifted kids would require superior challenges as straightforward content and solutions won’t work toward promoting cognitive growth.
Suppose the experience is demanding, open to inspection, and tolerates more than one correct response when the answer is supported with well-developed support. In that case, schools too can be a laboratory for development and perfection.
Like physical skills, intellectual skills also require education, constant exercise, and feedback for learners to advance to higher proficiency levels.
For kids, developing and using critical thinking abilities opens avenues that rote memorization of another person’s thoughts does not.
Skills for Life
It’s a two-way relationship. Specific skill sets are required to excel in STEM education. However, constantly practising in the STEM field and subjects of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics also fosters the critical thinking abilities of analysis, interpretation, inference, assessment, justification, and self-reflection. Numeracy and these fundamental abilities are essential for tackling today’s complicated problems.
Applying these skills is not limited to STEM but prepares kids for life, irrespective of their jobs. They can use their skills to navigate difficult situations and seize opportunities as they arise throughout their lives. Thus, as a parent, if you support the development of critical thinking, then, together with a supportive education system, you are enabling an entire generation to succeed in life.