Dr. Gayatri Bezboruah
Thinking is often defined as “the action of the mind” or “reasoning” or “being logical.” Thinking is language or symbolic behaviour, although all symbolic behaviour is not thinking. Language is a type of vicarious behaviour in which we react to places, people, things and events either present or not present. We call this type of behaviour “thinking.” It may range from the simple description of past events and remote places and things (recall thinking), to the fantastic description of events that never occurred and places, people and things that never existed (imaginative thinking).
Enhancing thinking skills in our children is fun, thrilling and effective to stimulate them. It all starts with asking the right type of questions in an easy going manner – systematic and well calibrated.
Knowledge Skills include remembering, recalling or retrieving correct, right and appropriate and previously learned information or details to bring or draw out factual and data based answers which may be right or wrong. To develop this skill, we need to use right words, phrases and sentences like “when”, “how”, “what”, “how much”, “how many”, “where”, “tell me”, “detect”, “identify”, “list”, etc. These words are simple to understand and comprehend and they can help our children to answer with a fair degree of certainty.
Comprehension Skills are related to grasping, comprehending or understanding the real meaning of materials and things. To develop this skill we need to use words and phrases like “explain”, “describe”, “guess”, “detect”, “identify”, etc. These words will help our children to translate, interpret and guess things that are materialistic in nature – how animals eat food, how a seed becomes a tree.
Application Skills are developed by applying and adapting previously learned and comprehended information or details to new, strange and unfamiliar scenarios. This skill can be developed by using phrases like “demonstrate”, “show”, “tell”, “solve”, “examine”, “apply”, etc – like talking about the difference between a plant and a tree.
Analysis Skills involve breaking down a given bit of information into a number of parts or segments and later examining them in detail. This skill can be developed using words like “what’s the main difference”, “analyze”, “discuss”, “explain”, “compare”, etc. Questions with these words make children think about different possibilities.
Synthesis Skills are little difficult to learn and understand. It involves applying the previously acquired information, knowledge or skills to get them together into a clear pattern which was not there before. Here, we need to use words like “arrange”, “rearrange”, “combine”, “design”, “compose”, “make”, etc.
Evaluation Skills involve judging, inferring, deciding and concluding based on a set of conditions or criteria, without real or wrong answers. Development of this skill is possible with keywords like “assess”, “measure”, “explain”, “compare”, etc.
Dr. Gayatri Bezboruah is Associate Professor of Paediatrics, Guwahati Medical College. She can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org