Curious, adventurous, fearless and enthusiastic — these are some of the qualities every child possesses. Children are inquisitive and question everything from the day they start talking. They have the energy to fuel new ideas but all these qualities change as they metamorphose into teenagers and then adults.
As a child grows older, he or she must be able to cope up with the ever-changing world. The way we think must evolve with time, so that we can grow up to be experts in our chosen fields and become adept problem solvers.
This is why developing higher order thinking skills is important at a young age.
The bigger picture
Higher order thinking skills or HOTS is a method of learning and thinking where children go beyond the use of ‘memory and recall’ to learn and solve problems. It enables them to go beyond the written text, make proper inferences, get the big picture and make connections to their existing knowledge.
Similarly, with HOTS, children can solve problems and make better decisions by using logic, reasoning and problem solving strategies. Guiding your children to develop HOTS gives them the ability to solve not just academic but real-life problems as well.
Children are capable of forming reasonable connections between information and interface. Reasoning grows as children are given the opportunity to express their independent views and have an open discussion on the same.
As parents and teachers, when we listen to their views and encourage them to take decisions, we encourage the development of their logical reasoning. Children develop HOTS when they try to find their own answers. If we constantly give them our own suggestions or solutions, they tend to depend on others to think instead of developing their own thinking ability. In such cases, they learn to “remember the right thing to do”, instead of developing the “ability to find the right thing to do”.
HOT skills gives them a new lens of perception and possibility to take them to their chosen path of success.
Having the capability to examine data and present the discoveries in a brief and convincing manner can be incredibly useful and will work in your child’s favour in tests and assessments of all kinds. Analytical skills cover a varied range of areas, including communication, creativity, critical thinking, research and the ability to see ‘the bigger picture’ and to spot organised trends and connections.
To help kids create a base for HOTS, here are some tips and ideas:
Give your children the opportunity to form their own opinions and develop hypotheses. Give an example of a bad situation and ask them what could be done to avoid it.
Ask them open-ended questions and let them discover the answer. For instance, in case of a conflict, you can ask them — how would you feel if you were in that situation?
Give them the independence to tackle their problems and don’t offer solutions when they fail to get a desired result. Ask them: if you were given a rewind button, what would you have done it differently?
Encourage critical thinking while reading a book by asking questions like: what do you think will happen next, or what do you think the writer is trying to tell us?
Encourage games and toys that involve logical or creative thinking. New-age toys that involve robotics and coding help develop such skills.
Children are now growing up in a world that is changing rapidly. It is predicted that 7 out of 10 school-going kids will be taking up jobs that don’t even exist today. According to leading institutions like the World Economic Forum, the top skills needed to succeed in jobs in future are analytical thinking, complex problem-solving, creativity, ability to use technology to solve problems and critical thinking.
It is no surprise that most admission exams for leading colleges and universities across the world are testing students on these skills rather than their knowledge of subjects.
These skills are easy to develop in early childhood, provided that children are given the right stimulus and environment to develop them.
(The author is the founder and CEO of a learning platform)