Teach How To Think Not What To Think

By Maham Altaf

“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think”

This is the famous saying by Margaret Mead, but what does that mean?

In this 21st millennium, schools have become a centre of processed information where students are filled with all the appropriate data which tend to make them like walking hard drives. Children are not robots that you programmed them about what activities to be performed. If we encourage children to accept something without thinking this will not produce a major change in their brains. In spite of that, the information will be stored somewhere inside the memory where it will slowly disappear. On the contrary, when we are forced to think to solve a problem, the brain produces a restructuring that results in growth. Children must find their own way of doing things and that cause them gradually form their own values.

Today’s children are going to be the next generation of scientist, engineers and medical researchers who will improve our quality of life. Education should be socially progressive for which we need to make creative and innovative minded children. Mentors, teachers and parents must encourage their children to think for themselves and explore the idea that inspires their curiosities. A child’s mind is like a blank paper where experiences, learning, knowledge is being written to be nurtured. This blank paper should not designed to make that person machine that obeys what it is being commanded the operations, how to do? What not to do? What to think? What not to think? Instead, they should be guided with the mechanism which enhances “how to think”.

Some might think that it is not possible to teach children how to think. So, there are some strategies that help students to think outside the box:

  1. Asking open-ended questions can help the children to think outside the box. In many schools, students are responding to closed question and there is only one possible correct answer which limits the student to think. Teachers must ask the question that requires some creative thoughts.
  2. Try to make an environment in classroom where students feel free to ask a question without any negative reactions from their peers or teachers.
  3. Give them real world examples which help them to understand the topic more clearly.

Thus, we need to expand our teaching methods and encourage our children to be creative and see beyond the imaginary world. Consequently, we must teach this future generation how to think for themselves so that they can expand their reality and negotiate problems quickly and conveniently.




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