Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.
WOW! That’s a hard pill to swallow but ironically, it does make you think! How many times in the past 24 hours have you said the word “think” either to yourself or to somebody else? Put your thinking cap on…, Think about it…, What was I thinking... Let me think about it and I’ll get back to you…, Let me think out loud… are just a few examples to get you to think! We use the word “think” several times on a daily basis.
I’ve had the opportunity to delve into the new English language arts & reading (ELAR) standards that will be fully implemented in our Texas public schools next school year, and one of the main words that stands out in the introductory paragraph is THINK!
The English language arts and reading Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) embody the interconnected nature of listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking… (Updated ELAR TEKS Introduction).
So knowing this, it is our responsibility to teach our children to be thinkers.
Step 3 of Powerful Interactions, discusses extending the learning, and one of the 10 strategies is to Help Children See Themselves as Thinkers. We do that by:
Making them more aware of their own thinking:
When they are young, they are not always aware of what is going on in their brain, so ask: “What are you thinking?”, “What’s going on in your mind?”
Calling attention to the thinking of others:
When you tell them what you are thinking or encourage other children to share their thinking, young children begin to learn that different people think in different ways. “Here’s what I think.”, "Let’s find out what Bobby thinks about that.”
Inviting them to explain their thinking out loud:
Encouraging them to think in new ways:
By teaching this strategy at an early age, these children will be natural thinkers. Our hope is that even though thinking is hard work, our children will engage in it.
Dombro, A.L., Jablon, J. & Stetson, C. (2011). Powerful Interactions. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.