New Patriot Power of the Month – Critical Thinking
Aside from Professionalism, one of the most sought-after soft skills that our business partners look for in their employees is Critical Thinking – the practice of processing information in order to make a decision, come to a conclusion, or solve a problem. With CMAS, PSAT, and SAT testing right around the corner, it is more important than ever that we all work together to support our students with this skill.
A few exercises that can be done outside of school to build greater critical thinking skills include:
- Use of wasted time: Why not take advantage of the time you normally waste by practicing your critical thinking instead? For example, instead of sitting in front of the TV at the end of the day flicking from channel to channel in a vain search for a program worth watching, spend that time, or at least part of it, thinking back over your day and evaluating your strengths and weaknesses.
- Get in touch with your emotions: Whenever you feel a negative emotion, train yourself to think about the context surrounding the emotion, as well as the emotion itself. What, exactly, were the thoughts that lead you to the negative emotion? For example, if you are angry, ask yourself, what is the thinking that is making me angry? What other ways could I think about this situation?
- Analyze group influences on your life: Closely analyze the behavior that is encouraged, and discouraged, in the groups to which you belong. Every group enforces some level of conformity. Most people live much too much within the view of themselves projected by others. Discover what pressure you are bowing to and think explicitly about whether or not to reject that pressure.
Though thinking critically is a skill that we all practice and perfect over the course of a lifetime, we can help our students get a head start in developing this necessary skill for success in college, career, and beyond.
If you are interested in learning more about the Patriot Powers or Soft Skill development, please contact Gideon Geisel at firstname.lastname@example.org.