5 Ways Tutors Can Promote Critical Thinking In Children

5 Ways Tutors Can Promote Critical Thinking In Children

Critical thinking in children, especially young ones, does not always come naturally. It is a skill that needs to be nurtured and developed through proper guidance and instruction.

As educators and parents, we do not always have the answers or the time to provide the perfect solution to every problem. We can, however, hire tutors who dedicate their time to teaching, guiding, and challenging children to think critically, ultimately leading to academic success.

But how can tutors do this?

Read this post, where we’ll give you 5 ways tutors can promote critical thinking in children.

#1. Open Ended Questions

An online or at-home tutoring session allows the tutor to take extra time to ask questions that help children develop critical thinking skills. Tutors can use open-ended questions instead of closed-ended ones.

Open-ended questions allow children to explore their thoughts, ideas, and opinions. They encourage children to think beyond the obvious answer and provide a more in-depth understanding of a topic.

For instance, instead of asking,

What is the capital city of South Africa?” a tutor could ask, “Why do you think Pretoria was chosen as the capital city of South Africa?”

This prompts the child to consider historical, geographical, or cultural factors that might have influenced this decision.

On the other hand, closed-ended questions only require the memorisation of one specific answer.

#2. Student Curiosity

For a tutor to foster curiosity, they need to apply the inquiry-based learning approach.

Inquiry-based learning is an approach that focuses on students’ questions, ideas, and observations. This approach teaches children to ask insightful questions and challenges them to discover the answers themselves, ultimately developing critical thinking skills.

Tutors can encourage student curiosity by providing real-world examples, asking for their opinions and ideas, and encouraging them to explore different perspectives.

For example, if a child is learning about climate change, the tutor could ask them to come up with ways to reduce their carbon footprint. This would promote critical thinking and encourage practical and meaningful solutions.

#3. Analyse and Evaluate Information

Imagine you’re reading a social media post about a current event. You come across two sources claiming opposite views on the same topic.

How would you know which source is reliable?

This is where the skill of critical thinking enters. Without critically thinking about a topic, we might believe everything we read or hear.

Tutors can help children develop this skill by teaching them how to evaluate information from different sources, question the validity of claims, and consider multiple perspectives.

To analyse and evaluate information, tutors can use the “Five W’s and One H” technique: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.

Here is a quick guide on how to use the “Five W’s and One H” technique:

Who: Identify the author or publisher of the information.
What: Determine what type of information it is (opinion, fact, statistic, etc.).
When: Find out when the information was published or last updated.
Where: Consider where the information comes from (reliable source, biassed website, etc.).
Why: Question why the author or publisher might have written this piece.
How: Analyse how the information aligns with other sources and if there are any conflicting views.

This technique helps children develop critical thinking skills, enabling them to evaluate information and make informed decisions.

In addition, tutors can also teach children how to fact-check and verify information. This includes checking the credibility of sources, cross-referencing information, and looking for evidence to support claims.

#4. Debates

There is an old saying: When everyone thinks the same thing, no one thinks very much.

This is why debates are important in developing critical thinking skills.

Without any debates, it is easy to accept information without question. Debates encourage us to think critically, evaluate different perspectives, and challenge our own beliefs.

Tutors can set up a debate activity where they and the students take opposite sides of a topic and present their arguments. This allows students to practice critical thinking by considering different viewpoints, gathering evidence to support their arguments, and responding to counter arguments.

#5. Reflection

The act of reflection, also known as metacognition, allows learners to think about their own thinking. It is an important process in developing critical thinking skills.

In a classroom setting, educators do not have the time or resources to sit down with a child and reflect on every piece of information they encounter.

However, tutors can incorporate reflection into their tutoring sessions by asking questions like:

  • What did you learn?
  • How did you learn it?
  • Could you have approached it differently?

This encourages students to think critically about their own learning and identify areas for improvement. Once an area has been identified, the tutor can guide the student in finding alternative approaches to learning.

Develop Critical Thinking In Your Child Today!

These are just 5 ways tutors can promote critical thinking in children. However, it’s important to note that each child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. It’s also important to consider the child’s age, learning style, and interests when implementing these strategies.

If you want to hire a private tutor for your child, look no further than Tutor Doctor.

At Tutor Doctor, we offer children online or at-home tutoring services in South Africa! Our tutors will teach, guide, and challenge kids to think critically about a variety of subjects.

Contact us today, and let’s help your child develop their critical thinking skills!

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