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In fact, research suggests that explicit instruction in critical thinking may make kids smarter, more independent, and more creative.Here are some examples--and some expert tips for teaching critical thinking to kids. You might wonder if kids will work it out for themselves.
In a recent study, researchers assigned college biology students to one of two groups. Teaching creativity and inventive problem solving in science. Herrnstein RJ, Nickerson RS, Sanchez M and Swets JA.
The writing group had to turn in written explanations of their laboratory work.
The kids trained in critical thinking also did a better job solving everyday problems (Zohar et al 1994).
The short answer is make the principles of rational and scientific thinking explicit.
In another experimental study, researchers Anat Zohar and colleagues tested 678 seventh graders’ analytical skills.
Then they randomly assigned some students to receive critical thinking lessons as part of their biology curriculum.
Students in the experimental group were explicitly trained to recognize logical fallacies, analyze arguments, test hypotheses, and distinguish between evidence and the interpretation of evidence.
Students in a control group learned biology from the same textbook but got no special coaching in critical thinking.
And at home, parents may consider these recommendations made by Peter Facione and a panel of experts convened by the American Philosophical Association (Facione 1990). Young children might not be ready for lessons in formal logic.
But they can be taught to give reasons for their conclusions. The effect of the biology critical thinking project on the development of critical thinking.