ENCOURAGE YOUR MIDDLE SCHOOLER TO USE CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS

Critical thinking, in which students evaluate things instead of accepting them too quickly, is an important skill. To help your child think critically, encourage her to:
  • Know the material. She should read a whole book for example, before assessing it. The more facts and details she has, the better.
  • Figure out the message. What is the creator of the work trying to say? What does he want her to believe? What would he like her to do?
  • Decide what she thinks. Is the work good? Does it make sense? Has the creator changed her mind, taught her something or entertained her?
  • Notice mistakes. She should look for weaknesses in the work and provide specific, constructive criticism.
  • Find the “sales pitch.” Some materials have parts that seem less than honest. The creator may “stretch the truth” to make a point.
As your child thinks critically, keep an open mind. Talk about your views. If you don’t agree with her, that’s okay. Each person should form a personal opinion—and be able to support it.

http://www.parent-institute.com Source: Mel Levine, M.D., A Mind at a Time: America’s Top Learning Expert Shows How Every Child Can Succeed, ISBN: 0-75432-0223-6 (Simon &Schuster), Reprinted with permission from (c) 2007, The Parent Institute, a division of NIS, Inc