How do you develop deep thinking in students?
Julie hovers over a puzzle that requires solving word problems in order to piece together a word collage that is beautiful. As a student at East Side Elementary in Middleton, California, she is used to playing games with language and numbers. Some of the games seem more like work, as they are challenging to complete.
What helps the most is that Julie is able to collaborate with her peers to work out the problems, and she has found that her friends know quite a bit. More importantly, she recognizes that she has much to contribute. Julie is competent and has a strong self esteem.
In many ways, Julie sits in an ideal learning environment, and scientists along with educators have gained so much knowledge about how children learn that school projects have cognitive design behind them. The cognitive revolution, which began with Noam Chomsky in 1957, initiated a flood of discoveries about how the brain works and learns, and teachers are able to apply this knowledge in the classroom to benefit students like Julie. This understanding of the brain increases exponentially as we move forward.
Just last year, neuroscientists pinpointed individual thoughts in the brain, monitoring the precise neural firing of a thought as it lit up the brain. Discoveries like these have allowed vegetative patients to communicate with their doctors after years of silence. All of this amounts to a new era in science, medicine, and education. As we learn more about the function of the brain, we can adapt to most effectively stimulate and nurture minds.
The infographic below by Mentoring Minds captures critical thinking with amazing detail, incorporating much of the new science that has emerged recently. While the infographic is designed for students, humans have plastic minds, which means that these principles apply at any age. Neuroplasticity means that the brain has the ability to change, adapt, and increase intelligence over the course of a lifetime.
Take a moment to review the information in the image, and then we will work toward some applications that you can put into practice, regardless of your age.
These exciting mental challenges and potential for growth mean as much for you as they do for children, and working to incorporate a intellectually rich environment into your day will yield mental dividends that will last a lifetime. You'll also see in looking through the graphic that you do an amazing amount of deep, critical thinking in an average day.
Applying some new ways of thinking will create in you a better worker and learner:
Higher order thinking such as this is challenging. Developing better thinking habits requires commitment, persistence, and courage. Especially in sharing your ideas with others, you must find the power within yourself.
These ideas only scratch the surface of the ideas in the infographic above. Make it your first critical thinking task to carefully review the entire image and see what other ideas you come up with. You should find this exciting as the human mind loves to learn and grow. Take the next step and share your new knowledge with someone else.
You may have forgotten that learning and thinking are fun, but you will quickly remember. Our brains are programmed for it, and there is no age limit.
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Let me know what you think about learning. In what ways to you push yourself to continue developing your brain.