Building Children’s Critical and Analytical Skills

Author : Guest Blogger
Date : September 9, 2018

Critical and analytical thinking are complementary skills and both are necessary to effectively work with information. Critical thinking is the ability to evaluate sources to determine the facts. Analytical thinking involves breaking down complex information into bits that can be understood and tested.

Critical Thinking

It is important in our world of information overload that we teach critical analysis and analytical thinking at all age levels. Kids need to have the skills to understand and evaluate information sources and make intelligent decisions about the inputs they receive.

There are multiple approaches to teaching these skills in the classroom. In this article we’ll look at some of the most important ways to develop critical thinking skills and promote analytical thinking.

1. Teaching Information literacy

Brampton Coding

At its core, information literacy refers to the ability to evaluate sources. Kids need to be able to understand whether something they read is a fact or opinion and how much they can rely on an information source.

Teachers build this skill formally in the classroom by assigning research projects and helping children understand reliable places to search for information. Parents can also contribute by encouraging kids to explore topics they are interested in. Work with your kids to evaluate sources they find on the Internet and help them judge the quality of the information they find.

Another approach is to have children read conflicting accounts of scientific information to emphasize how opinion can influence perspective. This helps kids realize that even so-called facts can be interpreted in difference ways to promote different agendas.

2. Validating information

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Another important skill is the ability to critically validate factual information. This requires the ability to analyse data and apply the scientific method to problem solving.

One really effective way to develop this type of analytic thinking is to teach kids computer programming skills. Learning to code requires the ability to break down the steps required to solve a problem and follow each individual step to the logical conclusion. Looking at information this way helps kids spot logical flaws and other problems when faced with data they need to evaluate.

3. Understanding cause and effect

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Whether looking for connections in historic events or patterns in scientific research, being able to analyse relationships in data is important for critical thinking. Teaching students to analyse cause and effect and recognize the difference between causation and correlation will help them become better at interpreting information.

Developing this skill involves searching for patterns and predicting cause and effect. For instance, when a variable in a computer program is changed, can students predict how that will affect the outcome?

Making predictions based on data encourages kids to think logically about how information is related. Doing the research to back up those claims teaches them to understand what types of information they will need to validate their arguments.

Helping kids learn to weigh information in terms of usefulness, logical consistency, and accuracy will develop their ability to critically think and analyse. Learning to code can be a big boost in building these skills. If you want to introduce your kids to coding, contact us for more information on how we can help them learn these skills in a fun, collaborative environment.

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