Reflection activities provide opportunities for students make a connection between experience and their personal values, feelings, motives, desires, behaviors, and ability to create change.
When educators learn about how the brain appears to process, recognize, remember and transfer information at the level of neural circuits, synapses and neurotransmitters, and when they share that knowledge with students, they share empowerment with their students. Did the authors explain the background/context of the problem? We all encounter people who can’t seem to think critically about situations…not just mathematically, either.
Informed teachers help students understand their ability to change their brains and experience success and renewed confidence. After reading multiple articles about critical thinking, I see one common thread is the need for good questioning. They struggle with processing information from different resources, turning a problem around and over and conceptualizing differently, collaborating with others, and/or communicating their thought process effectively.
We know that employers want employees who can think critically. These sound suspiciously like questions I ask in the math classroom, but they apply to a much broader audience than math students.
Fortune 500 executives choose critical thinking, collaboration, and communication as highly desired key skills for their employees. Educators across the curriculum have many opportunities to teach students how to gather and evaluate information while eliminating non-pertinent information.
Read more of her articles about math, ICTCM, and quantitative reasoning.
Critical reflection is the key element of service learning that bridges in-class learning and service experiences.
Rather, it should focus on how the student is making meaning of what happened.
Find more information at Tips for Teaching Reflective Writing.
So what we can do to address the need for reasoning? One point of interest is professional teacher education; both pre-service teacher training and ongoing professional development opportunities should include the latest neuroscience research. Staff in career centers can help applicants understand the importance of good thinking skills.
I do agree with Judy Willis in her article “A Neurologist Makes the Case for Teaching Teachers About the Brain,” on the “There are no more critical life supports than passionate, informed teachers who can resuscitate students’ joyful learning. Fortune 500 executives choose critical thinking, collaboration, and communication as key skills for their employees!