Yesterday I went to my granddaughter's school to celebrate her 7th birthday by bringing her lunch. When I arrived, I was a few minutes early. At the door to her 1st grade classroom, I noticed most of her classmates sitting at their desks, some of them with their heads down. Audrey wasn't among them.
Audrey's teacher told me that Audrey was outside playing with two other students from the class, because she had made good choices that morning. Everybody sitting at their desks, which included most of the class, was not allowed to go to recess, because throughout the morning, they had made bad choices.
Miss May's teaching strategies impressed me. Instead of punishing the kids for misbehaving or for not following directions, she was teaching them that the choices they made resulted in either a reward or no reward. She also placed the responsibility of their decisions upon the children themselves.
Critical thinking is an important skill that teaches students how to think independently and take responsibility for the choices they make. Teaching critical thinking skills is imperative if we want our children to start making good choices.
After thinking about the situation I witnessed yesterday, I wonder if my granddaughter's school used any of the guides offered at Mentoring Minds, a teacher education web site that includes, in their research page, a Critical Thinking Strategies Guide and a Critical Thinking Wheel, because I think that when students recognize that the choices they make result in consequences or rewards, they will make better choices