Using Graphic Organizers to Develop Critical Thinking Skills

Using Graphic Organizers to Develop Critical Thinking Skills


Want to know how successful you will be in life or how your company will compete in the current volatile climate? It is difficult to predict future outcomes like this and requires critical thinking performance. More than ever, the world needs critical thinkers to solve our complex problems. But these skills go in the wrong direction. Instead of improving the recognition of fake news, evaluating sources of information, or making rational decisions, we are getting worse.

The good news is that you already have a tool to reverse this trend and develop critical thinking skills in your organization: the graphic organizer. This post explores an exciting app for this ubiquitous tool, which will teach people how to do it. to think.

Critical thinking is a survival skill and we are losing it

Critical thinking is a term that covers a collection of cognitive skills that help us get along in the world. Our ability to evaluate what we read, recognize false and unsupported claims, question the validity of sources, and make connections between various sources of content are all critical thinking skills. He
British Journal of Educational Technology identifies critical thinking as one of the essential competencies of digital literacy, and our collective capacities are going in the wrong direction at an alarming rate.

Because Nicholas Carr alerted us to how the Internet is changing the way we make decisions, the overall loss of critical thinking skills can be measured in terms of the rise of a large number of conspiracy theories. Obviously, we can’t solve all of these problems with one simple tool, but you can help your team improve the way they process information, recognize patterns, and make decisions.

How can graphic organizers help?

A graphic organizer is any visual representation of information in a structured visual form. There are many types (mind maps, content maps, story maps and infographics) of specialized graphic organizers.

If you have ever inserted a table into your training materials, you have used a graphic organizer. But the power of graphic organizers is not in the ease with which they consume information; is what happens to our brain when to create a. Suppose you have a portfolio of products that new employees need to learn. Some products are great for solutions for large businesses, while others are better for small and medium businesses. So you decide to make a table.

Business solutions Because? Small and medium solutions Because?
Product A Product B
Product X Product Y

To prepare this table for students, it was necessary to evaluate the characteristics of each product based on its potential to benefit each type of company. This is an example of critical thinking. (Note that the one who does the critical thinking is the person who builds the table, not the one who will refer to it later).

A stimulus for our lazy brains

Your brain is essentially lazy. It has evolved to find the easiest path to any decision. This pre-wired preference gives us the ability to navigate a complicated world and avoids “analysis paralysis,” but it also provides us with confirmation biases, echo chambers, and other barriers to becoming our best self. When you actively compare and evaluate information, recognize patterns, and choose a medium to represent these connections, your brain works harder. And flexing those cognitive muscles is the best way to build them over time. When graphic organizers become a learning experience
activitythey become an exercise in critical thinking.

The key to take away

Stop making graphic organizers for your students. Invite them to build their own. The cognitive benefits derived from the usual practice of developing your own tools can improve your learners ’overall thinking skills. Also, they will remember these connections better. Add an exercise where students can share their organizers. This social learning component will help develop critical thinking by exchanging ideas and debates about conclusions, trends, and patterns.

A word of caution

Because the job of creating a graphic organizer is a heavy-duty activity, it must be a focused activity. If you ask students to create an organizer while presenting content, the cognitive load is too great and can make comprehension and retention difficult.

Other great things you can do with graphic organizers

Let us not forget that traditional approaches remain valid strategies for knowledge management, content summaries and review, reinforcement and other important stages of the learning process. You’re probably already familiar with the potential of infographics to make your data more visually accessible. Check out this list of 50 types to see how flexible these tools can be in the hands of a skilled designer. Also, consider this great example of using graphic organizers to drive innovation, as MJ Hall has shared.

Starting

There are many online tools that help create visually compelling organizers. Here are some to get you started (but don’t forget PowerPoint, a good place to start with a budget):

The bottom line

The act of building a graphic organizer builds the cognitive skills needed for critical thinking. It’s an easy way to introduce a new approach that can develop thinking skills into your resume.



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