The term independent thinking constitutes two very important terminologies that have mountainous effects on human life.
Independence is a state when you realize that no clutches exist to support you and implement your action plans, whereas thinking is an intricate process that has direct impacts on human behavior. How to infuse “independent thinking” in children or students is not a one day task. It needs a lot of time and effort.
When your child will not be friends with another child who has foul language, his reaction is a result of mommy’s expressions warning him to stay away from such bad kids. As long as childhood is concerned, great, but just as you grow up and exhibit rigidness in such matters, you are following the preset notions your parents injected in your mind, which is not “independent thinking”.
When you get the courage to make decisions on your own by taking inputs from all angles, you are indeed waving the flag of independent thinking. When you think rationally, keeping into account the various moral and social confinements, you are headed towards maturing of your brains.
Nevertheless, independent thinking skills should be developed from elementary level. It is mainly because when students are exposed to the real world, they have no idea of how things work. They are immature and cannot decide on their own. Being a teacher of elementary students, it is important that you hone their independent thinking skills and empower them to stand up to their decisions with confidence.
Give Them Liberty To Make Errors
As human beings, we have a tendency to learn through ‘trial and error’. We make dozens of mistakes before we get it right. As elementary students are in their formative phase, they should be given scope of errors. Give them room for mistakes in a task so that they can do it right in the next attempt. This will help them read a situation and tackle it in an efficiently seamless manner.
For example, as an art class teacher, you can task your students with solving a simple addition or subtraction question. Let them come up with their answers and see where they have made mistakes. Point out those errors to them and instruct them how such errors can be identified and solved.
Give Them Choices
Give your students the choices of doing a task. This will help them make informed decisions based on facts. For a drawing class, you can ask them to fill objects with different colors. They may choose a color over other depending on their object or preferences. Similarly, you can assign them with jigsaw puzzle activity where they have to assemble pieces to complete a complex puzzle.
This will help them identify the relation between things and make them aware of what goes with a specific thing. By doing such activities, students will develop a sense of recognizing things according to their relevancy and value.
Encourage Them To Ask Questions
Let the students speak their mind. They have the curiosity to explore the world around them and see how things work. So naturally they have lots of questions in mind which they want to share with you. Allow them to put forward their thoughts, i.e., what they have in mind and give them the answers they seek.
Give them explanation of their questions even it is for a trivial matter. Your students will learn more when they know the logic behind things. By acknowledging their questions, you will encourage them to gain knowledge about how things work in real life too.
Initiate Tasks That Relate With Critical Thinking Skills
Promote critical thinking skills among your students. Engage them in activities that involve connecting matching colors or corresponding objects. Elementary students learn quickly with graphical information than textual ones. By providing them with visual knowledge, you can enhance their critical thinking skills which will help them put their thoughts in order and make reasonable decisions.
Promote Problem Solving Activities
To promote independent thinking in students, you need to make them identify solutions of problems. However, their raw minds cannot differentiate between things and, therefore, they need your support. You need to help them identify the right from wrong. This will allow them to process the information in their mind and come up with pertinent solutions of a problem. Acknowledge their efforts because your encouragement will give them the boost to tackle a difficult situation without your help.