The Foundation for Critical Thinking developed a short series of five “Intellectual Standards,” ways of helping elementary-aged children learn to think better. Teach these standards to your kids, and then interact with them in ways that reinforce the five standards.
- Invite them to BE CLEAR by asking for explanations and examples when they don’t understand something. Let children know it is okay to be confused and ask questions.
- Urge kids to BE ACCURATE, to check to see if something is true by researching the facts.
- Encourage children to BE RELEVANT by discussing other topics that are pertinent to the discussion or problem at hand. Help them stay on track by linking related and meaningful information to the question they are trying to answer or the topic they are learning about.
- Support your child’s ability to BE LOGICAL. Help her see how things fit together. Question how she came to her conclusions and whether her assumptions are correct.
- Set expectations that your child BE FAIR. Promote empathy in his thinking processes. Make sure he considers others when drawing conclusions.
Once parents and children speak a common language about the standards of critical thinking, employ them throughout the year and especially during the summer months! Along with having fun, your child’s mind will learn to think critically about the world!