Thursday, 21 July 2016

Who's Thinking Skills Need To Be developed First- Teacher or Student

Thinking Skills Are Important!

My 7 year old son was preparing his debate points on ‘books versus electronic medium what is better’- He had to speak for Books. So he was busy jotting his points. I casually asked him ,"Why you are writing everything good about books, in reality you don’t like reading books. You are always glued to some or the other form electronic media. The minute I ask you to Read books, you make a face as I you have been forced to gulp down some uncooked green leafy vegetable.” He said, “Mom I am supposed to speak good about books, and how can I say I don’t like them. So I am just writing what everyone has been saying, why books are good.”
So me being a probing mom, and a crusader of developing thinking skills among teachers and adults rather than just focusing on children, I decided to put some extra thrust on my grey matter, and flipped the question the other way, “Ok then dear, why do you like to spend all your time on electronic media?”

He paused for a while and then replied, Mom I love watching electronic media bcoz everything out there comes without me having to strain my mind, I don’t have to focus on phonetics, spellings and how I am pronouncing the word and secondly by the time I would finish reading one story from a book, via electronic medium I would have seen many stories. In the same breath he continued, but then this will make me lazy and I will not like to use my brains at all. Now I understand why books are equally important and I think I should read more often, just to make sure I don’t become lazy and I keep thinking of some new ideas. That’s when he said exclaimed aloud, this what I need to speak in my debate too, as to why electronic media makes us lazy and complacent, how books are helping us from crossing the line.

Well, I suppose we all understand why it’s important to develop thinking skills among children even though they are a super aware breed of GenY, can themselves connect things if probed intelligently. Then what are we trying to prove? Whose thinking skills do we want to develop? What aspect of Thinking Skills do we have to develop?

The teacher training programs blatantly focus on how to develop thinking skills of the children. The high end education- software’s and apps also focus on developing the thinking skills of the child. On the hind sight, I think it’s important for teachers to develop their own thinking skills if they need to keep pace with the current breed of super aware kids. Because learning happens only when we are quizzing our minds, if teachers themselves are not equipped to do that then how are they going to improve their own thought process and evaluate the same?

Critical thinking relies on universal intellectual values like clarity, relevance and consistency, if the teacher is not clear why her subject is so important and cannot relate its significance in everyday life, then how will she end up developing the thinking skills among children.

Core life skills can be imparted not as a quick fix measure, packaged in a beautiful training program or an app but have to help teacher first wear her thinking cap and realize the benefits of developing thinking skills. Once she has experienced WHY they are important, it will be easy for her to impart and have an impact on her students. The goal should be to first maximize the educators ability to think rationally. In turn, it leads to increased overall intelligence and improved test performance of the students too.

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