Send Richard a voice mail message

Monday, April 15, 2013

What are thinking skills?

Before we explore websites and web tools on creative and critical thinking, let's explain the larger question: What are thinking skills?

In their book, Richard D. Solomon and Neil A Davidson (2012), Encouraging Skillful, Critical and Creative Thinking: Participant’s Guide Fourth R Consulting,  LLC, Tucson, AZ, wrote the following narrative about thinking skills and thinking processes:

Chart of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development's (ASCD)
21 Thinking Skills and Their Definitions

Thinking Skill
Defining Problems
Clarifying needs, discrepancies or a  puzzling situation
Setting goals
Establishing direction and purpose
Obtaining information through one or more senses
Formulating questions
Seeking new information through inquiry
Storing information in long-term memory
Retrieving information from long-term memory
Noting similarities and differences among things
Grouping and labeling things on the basis of their attributes
Sequencing things according to a given criterion
Changing the form but not the substance of information
Identifying attributes and components
Determining characteristics or parts of something
Identifying relation-ships and patterns
Recognizing ways in which elements are related
Identifying main ideas
Identifying the central element
Identifying errors
Recognizing logical fallacies and other mistakes, and, where possible, correcting them
Going beyond available information to identify what is reasonably true
Anticipating next events, or the outcome of a situation
Explaining by adding details, examples, or other relevant information
Combining information efficiently into a cohesive statement
Changing existing knowledge structures to incorporate new information
Establishing criteria
Setting standards for making judgments
Confirming the accuracy of claims

A list of 13 thinking processes appears below. As a reminder, a thinking process is a combination of one or more thinking skills.

13 Thinking Processes * and Their Definitions

Thinking Process
Identifying and articulating similarities and differences between things.
Grouping things into definable categories on the basis of their attributes.
Inferring unknown generalizations or principles from observation or analysis.
Inferring unstated consequences and conditions from given principles and generalizations.
Analyzing Errors
Identifying and articulating errors in your own thinking or that of others.
Decision Making
A process which asks students to make choices among alternatives: e.g. What/who might be the best/worst alternative in order to meet certain criteria?
There are three types of investigations in this framework: definitional, historical, and projective. Each one challenges students to answer different kinds of questions: (a) Definitional Investigation: What are the defining characteristics or salient features of some topic? (b) Historical Investigation: How did event X happen? Why did event X happen? (c) Projective Investigation: What would happen if...? What would have happened if...?
Constructing Support
Constructing a system of support or proof for an assertion.
Identifying and articulating the underlying theme or general pattern of information.
Analyzing Perspectives
Identifying and articulating your personal perspectives in relation to the perspectives of others.
Experimental Inquiry
Students are asked to explain or hypothesize some physical, psychological or sociological phenomenon.

Thinking Process
Problem Solving
Students find (a) solution(s) to a question that has some constraining or limiting condition imposed from the outside. Problem solving usually involves a set of steps including: (1) State the goal. (2) Identify the constraints or limiting conditions. (3) Identify ways of overcoming the constraints or meeting the limiting conditions. (4) Select and try out alternatives. (5) Evaluate alternatives.
Students create something new that meets a perceived need. Inventions are not limited by outside constraints; however, they are limited by the specific standards of the inventor. Invention also involves a set of steps including: (1) Identify a situation you want to improve. (2) State your goal. (3) Identify your standards. (4) Make a model sketch, or outline of your invention. (5) Start drafting your invention. (6) Share it.

In the next post we will explore additional resources defining thinking skills.

*     These definitions of thinking processes are based on ones found in Marzano, R.J., Pickering, D.J., Arredondo, D.E., Blackburn, G.J. Brandt, R.S., and Moffett, C.A. (1991), Dimensions of Learning: Teacher's Manual (draft version). Aurora, Colorado: McRel Institute. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Jewish Education News Blog

Richard D. Solomon's Blog on Mentoring Jewish Students and Teachers