Teaching thinking skills

 Teaching thinking skills


In order for the teaching processes to be successful and fruitful, it is better to integrate thinking skills into teaching, and this is done by taking some steps, and in the following, thinking skills in teaching will be clarified:

  • Take care to invest time.
  • Accept the opinions and ideas of colleagues and the coach.
  • Criticize the ideas of colleagues and the coach in a positive way.
  • To participate in all training activities.
  • Applying the information and skills received in the educational field.
  • Transferring all that has been learned and trained to colleagues in the educational field.
  • Accept the role that is assigned to each person in the training group.
  • Motivating group members to participate in all training activities.
  • Seeking to form good relationships with trainers and colleagues during the training program.
What is the concept of thinking
Thinking is a series of mental activities that the human brain performs when it is exposed to a stimulus received through one or more of the five senses, and it has been defined as “the mental processing of sensory inputs with the aim of forming ideas.”
What is the concept of thinking skills
Since thinking is the overall process that works on mental processing of information and sensory and retrieved inputs in order to form ideas or judge them, and therefore thinking skills can be defined as (specific processes that are practiced and used intentionally in developing information processing) such as:
  • Observation skill.
  • comparison skill.
  • Brainstorming skill.
  • deduction skill.
Methods of integrating thinking into teaching
Thinking can be integrated into teaching through some methods, and the following is an explanation of them: 
  • Direct teaching of thinking and its skills.
  • Integration of thinking skills into the content of the study.
  • Education for thinking.
Direct teaching of thinking and its skills: it distances itself from the content of the study material, and the owners of this approach believe that it leads to the best results, helping the mental development of the teacher and the learner alike, and thus leading to the development of society, and then building systematic minds, and given that learning to think possesses strategies and activities However, teaching in this direction needs a longer time, although the curricula consist of cramming and excessive length.
Integration of thinking skills in the content of the study: The proponents of this approach justified that what is learned from the mental processes of that method is reinforced jointly by all academic subjects, so thinking skills are combined with the study subjects, and the meanings and concepts that they include are based on. The materials are even new experiences that students participate in solving, and this trend has stated that “learning to think through an independent material causes the student to flop and not get used to that method compared to what has been used to.”
Education for thinking: This is done by creating and equipping the environment that stimulates thinking, and among the elements of this preparation: (formulation of activities and questions that stimulate thinking).
Directions of learning to think
  • The first direction is the additional entrance (independent).
  • The second direction is inclusion (integration of thinking).
The first trend is the additional (independent) approach: some researchers believe that teaching thinking skills must be taught independently, and this approach is called the (additional approach), meaning that thinking education programs are additional programs that are added to the regular curricula.
The second trend is inclusion (integration of thinking): Other researchers believe that the method of including thinking skills, i.e. (implicit approach), is integrating thinking skills into the school curriculum so that the lesson includes the required thinking skills.
Steps to integrate thinking into teaching
There are two steps to the process of integrating thinking into teaching, namely:
  • The first step: integrating thinking skills into academic courses.
  • The second step: Incorporating thinking skills while teaching.
The first step: Integration of thinking skills in academic curricula: The curricula of the Ministry of Education courses in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are designed in proportion to the mixing of thinking skills in academic subjects, so in many cases these skills are mentioned as classify, observe, compare, arrange, evaluate, imagine , infer, and link across, as types of basic or compound skills.
The second step: Integration of thinking skills during teaching: It is for the teacher to be able to stimulate the thinking skills that were mixed in the study subjects during the teaching process, as he presents the content in addition to encouraging students’ thinking on the basis of the skill contained in it, which makes the teacher able to distinguish the skills included in the material, and then he must motivate his students to use it in an effective manner.
Advantages of integrating thinking into teaching
The advantages of integrating thinking into the teaching process are divided into advantages related to the teacher and others related to the learner, and the following is an explanation of them:
Teacher features
  • Make him able to plan well the teaching process.
  • The teacher applies modern strategies for learning, such as: self-learning, cooperative, and others, effectively and efficiently.
  • It helps the teacher to achieve the objectives of the lesson with the highest efficiency, whether in terms of (the degree of assimilation and understanding or the duration of achieving them).
  • Can employ appropriate skills to deliver all lessons in the curriculum in a fully informed manner, as planned in advance.
Learner features
  • Encouraging the motivation of the learner.
  • Learn the curriculum in a more comprehensive and deeper way.
  • The application on the steps of learning and thinking skills.
  • The learner is effective and has a pivotal role in the educational process.
  • The learner builds the knowledge he learns on his own, in addition to being an effective partner in the education program.
  • Enhancing the self-esteem of the learner because of his awareness of controlling thinking, and his ability to employ it in various fields.
  • Diversity in the forms of implementing thinking skills in various educational fields, which contributes to the learner’s ability to implement skills in different life environments.
Obstacles to the development of thinking skills

There are many things that hinder the development of students’ thinking skills, which are often all related to the teacher’s style in the classroom, including:
  • The one who has the first and last word in the class is the teacher.
  • Teachers rarely use cooperative learning strategies in the classroom.
  • In the event that the teacher punishes the student who asks and exposes him to ridicule.
  • When teachers do not accept asking questions that deviate from the topic of the lesson.
  • Teachers tend to reward students who demonstrate obedience and conformity behaviour.
  • If the course in the textbook is the teacher’s only reference most of the time.
  • The teacher being the focus of action, monopolizing lesson time, and students becoming idle.
  • If the majority of questions asked by the teacher are of the type that requires minimal thinking skills.
  • It is rare for teachers to ask questions that begin with interrogatives such as: (how, why, what if).
  • Learners often receive stereotypical verbal reinforcement based on their memorization and acquisition, and not on their creativity.
  • The teacher often evaluates his students by recalling information that they supposedly memorized earlier.
  • It is rare for a teacher to rely on modern methods of communicating information, such as (discussion, research and investigation).
  • The teacher’s belief that thinking skills exist and grow and develop with the growth of the student’s body, and therefore believes that learning has a limited effect on them in terms of quality and quantity.
  • Teachers relying on a small number of students, so that they always ask them questions in order to solve difficult questions to save the situation, without trying to involve other students.