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Promoting Critical Thinking Skills in Young Learners' Classes

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Promoting Critical Thinking Skills in Young Learners' Classes

Student: Amil Alibabić

Instructor: Mr. Harun Bastug

International Burch University

Sarajevo, 2016


There are numerous definitions of critical thinking, but what most say is that critical thinking in essence is active learning, or acquiring knowledge through a critical approach. Therefore, by that logic promoting critical thinking would be, basically, every attempt and/or action from the students towards the subject that is being thought at the moment. However, it is not the case. For a student, to acquire quality proof knowledge he must participate and be engaged fully. That means that the student can’t write while listening, or writing while talking and etc. To apply the method of cognitive thinking, we must focus on all of students senses that they respond to. To simplify, a teachers class cannot be one in which he speaks in monotone voice and the students copy down, and there is no interaction between them thus allowing boredom and miscellaneous things to step in and we lose the focus of our students. If we are able to get them to involve into the subject matter, then we can help them start developing and actively using critical thinking.

There are some barriers which prevent us from successfully transferring our knowledge to our students, however if planned and done correctly, the barriers will perish.

One of the major problems is discipline and being able to deliver your lecture to the students. This is also a subject which is very sensitive, which in my opinion most teachers often confuse and make a mistake. To elaborate, when young learners are at the peak of their productivity, we have them sitting in class miserable, (speaking from past experience), and WHY? It is because our students are not actively engaged, or the subject matter is not presented to them in a way that would be compelling for them, or, the most common reason, the students are missing some of the background information required to understand and comprehend the subject matter. And if this is the case, unfortunately, in almost over 60% of Bosnian schools, teachers will force our students with discipline measures to prevent them from attending the lesson passively, but that only creates a counter effect. And if go by another, very much popular teaching technique used in the Bosnian Region, by simply enforcing marks as a mean of discipline measure. Then our students are forced to study FOR THE grade and not for the sake of knowledge, for the marks itself, and as a result of such ludicrous methods, we have one or two in the class who really seek knowledge. A few of them will learn and be able to tap into that memory, but most will forget as soon as they drop the book. All of these so-called “techniques” create a completely opposite effect, which makes an endless loop and our education, our children, and our homeland, will simply decline until it goes under.

Another barrier in promoting critical thinking, would be the “fear of failing” that the students have. For example, if a students get an F from math, he/she will lose their motivation greatly as well as self-confidence. One of many cognitive theories states that, actions that students do are actually results of the surrounding. Therefore, students are withdrawn by their fear of failing. If that same fear is present with our students (in almost all cases it is), it creates something negative, by decreasing their chances of success because it is disabling them to take risks, to strive forward into the unknown to explore and question. If by eliminating the chance for a student to fail, then you are able to question his cognitive abilities, for example, conclusions based on a given subject matter/material.

Critical Thinking and Young Learners

Now, the question must be posed, how can we effectively promote critical thinking in education?

Firstly, we must we must learn our students to think in a proper manner, but we can’t focus on our students until, the root of the problem (in my opinion would be here) is not dealt with. Starting from the facilitators, we are able to make some great steps towards dealing with this problem. The teacher must possess the ability to teach effectively, and to be able to control some types of unwanted behavior in the class. Our students require dynamic lectures, which often mean the way the teachers present the information, will affect our students greatly, so we must pay attention and make the lecture interesting for everyone.

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