Thinking Minds

“My idea of education is to unsettle the minds of the young and inflame their intellects. – Robert Maynard Hutchins
Often when a child ask question, the need to answer is very high based on the belief that this will help the child to move ahead or to know more. But what we forget is that we are depriving the child from developing his thinking skills. When we evaluate the child (good or bad, A or C grade) we are again depriving our kids from using their own skills. One child, 5yrs old came and asked me ‘why there is hole in this table?’ I asked ‘how do you think this hole was made here?’. She thought for some time and smiled and said ‘drill machine’. I asked ‘how is this black hole around?’ She looked at the black line around the hole and said ‘it got burnt’. Now it was my turn to ask more ‘why it is not same all around?, why it is brown inside? Why it is different?’ She kept on answering my questions. We reversed our roles 🙂

Here are some guidelines to develop more thinking minds:

1.Do not answer their questions– let them think, research, hypothesize about the possible answers. Avoid looking for immediate answer – Give them time. (see 5 below).

2.Ask them open, thinking questions. Remember an answer in a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or a single word indicates a factual question.

3.A good thinking question focuses not on the right answers, but many answers. For e.g.: “Why did Lakshman went with Ram to forest?” indicates that there is possibly one right answer. However, “what could be the reasons that Lakshman chose to go with Ram” indicated that there are many answers. As a tip– initiate your question with “What” or “How”.

4.Even if the answers do not tally with your answers –resist the temptation to correct the child.Instead ask more follow-up questions. “How can you support your answer?” “How can we find out more about this?” etc.

5.Even if the child does not reply, remember you have planted a thought seed – oftenleaving the children to “keep thinking” about it – without the child replying is the best strategy.This way they do not have to worry about their communicative ability (language), also let apprehensions like “what will you think about my answer” come in way. Remember our task is not to get them to answer our questions, but to make them think.

We at Aarohi believe that tomorrow’s heroes, tomorrows successes will be the ones who develop this amazing capacity to think. And if I want a child to be the hero, to be the success,the earlier I start exposing the child to different ways of thinking, the earlier I train the child’s mind to use both his right and left brain, the earlier I harness her natural resource of creative thinking, the better. Also very importantly,is being able to understand and develop his emotional thinkingso that child is also a social success. (This development can start at infant age).

Whats on my mind is important,Even if I am thinking wrong, I am thinking.More I use – More they grow.More its relevant more I think.Its more effective when I work at different thinking levels.