Friday, August 10, 2012


Skills which will Serve You Though out Your Life as You Think Critically & Creatively.

What are Higher Order Thinking Skills?

Thinking is a conscious act that requires space and time. You do a lot more thinking that you perhaps realize, simply in the way that you carry out your everyday life. Deciding what clothes to wear, and remembering to take your keys with you when you leave the house require conscious thought. Mastering the skills of higher order thinking requires your commitment and dedication.

Simple thinking skills include things like learning facts and learning how to remember these. Higher Order Thinking Skills include skills such as creative and critical thinking, analysis, problem solving and visualization. The term first became popular with the 1956 publication of Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives which set out an educational reform that included Higher Order Thinking Skills. Today such skills are also commonly referred to as Advanced Thinking Skills.

In his reform, Bloom categorized thinking skills into 6 groups listed in order of complexity:
  1. Knowledge acquisition: Memorize how to do a task.
  2. Comprehension: Question, discuss and explain how to do a task.
  3. Application: Extract and transfer this knowledge
  4. Analysis: Categorize, characterize, compare and contrast.
  5. Synthesis: Collating and creating.
  6. Evaluation: Prioritization, relevancy and judgment.
By first becoming aware of new knowledge and committing this to memory we are then able to understand and apply this knowledge. By further interpreting, deciphering, questioning, and critiquing such facts and understanding we are able to broaden our mental outlook so as to recreate something new and original by assessing and evaluating the benefits and importance of doing so. This is the skill of higher order thinking; a skill which I prefer to define as the passion and purpose with which to solve problems.

Why are Higher Order Thinking Skills Important?

Higher order thinking is imperative to progress. No explorer ever discovered anything new by following in the footsteps of those who had been there before. If lower order thinking skills seek to learn and commit to memory knowledge and know how that somebody else has already acquired then Higher Order Thinking allows for the interpretation and reconsideration of such information so that other application may be used and alternative conclusions drawn. This exposes further fields of knowledge and know how which may again, be transferred, reapplied and collated to create a new and improved version.

If you are committed to learning, growing and constant evolution then it is vital that you commit yourself to improving your Higher Order Thinking Skills.

Thinking is at the heart of all learning. Thinking makes things that have yet to be perceived possible, thinking facilitates and enhances our ability to perform and produce and pass on such vital information to others who would then do the same. This is progress.

If the purpose of this web site is to help you improve and strengthen your advanced thinking skills and problem solving abilities then your purpose is to pass this information on with passion.

Learning and knowledge is organic. Given the right climate it will grow and thrive. Given how many problems our planet faces today the need for more people capable of thinking at Higher Order levels is more important now than ever.

In this information age in which we live vital, life-saving skills are being lost. As the generation gap widens the transfer of skills weakens. As more and more gadgets seek to support our brain activity what affect does this have on our memory and powers of recall.

Memorization is an essential Higher Order Thinking Skill. Without the ability to memorize and recall information our ability to interpret, analyze and assess such knowledge and know how is limited by its own lack of information. If we can collate and combine our wider, collaborated understanding and experiences then so too will we be equipped to generate solutions to the many problems we face.

Can you learn Higher Order Thinking Skills?

Contrary to popular belief, we all think or at least we have the ability to think, in the same way. Much as our bodies develop as reflections of how we have lived our lives, so too do our minds. A person who has been to the gym 3 times a week for the last 30 years will physically look very different from somebody whose lifestyle has involved a visit to the MacDonald’s DriveThru just as frequently.

Your brain is much the same. If you want to improve your Higher Order Thinking Skills then you need to give your brain a regular workout. In order to give your brain a workout then there is something very important that you must know about your training.

Again, to use the analogy of training your body rather than your mind, if you were to lift the same weight every day in the same arm, never once using the other arm then, you can see how you would very quickly develop a lop-sided body.

Now imagine your brain: Your brain consists of a left and right side. The left side of your brain tends to deal with logic, reason, language and liner thinking. The right side of your brain processes your creative, intuitive, imaginative and rhythmical thoughts. If you spend all day, every day running through the same thoughts and patterns of thinking then very quickly you are going to build up strength in this one particular area of your brain. Soon it will become difficult to use your brain any differently. Imagine, suddenly after many years switching that 10 kg weight to the other arm… it would feel unbearably difficult to lift. You’d have to go back to using smaller, lighter weights. You’d have to train each day to build up your strength; concentrating on retaining strength in the first arm either whilst focusing your attention on building up the weaker side. Eventually, and certainly if you’ve ever recovered from an accident or injury, you know that your strength would balance out and your body would be in better shape than ever. It is with this mindset that you must approach your Advance Thinking Training too.

It’s imperative that you begin to think radically differently, that you start to cross examine evidence from a number of different sides, that you acquire skills such as visualization to improve your powers of recall and that you understand how best to think creatively and critically if you truly wish to master the skills of Higher Order Thinking.

This web site is here to help you achieve this.

How do I teach Higher Order Thinking Skills?

Higher order thinking involves learning complex judgmental skills such as critical thinking, creative thinking and problem solving. Because of this it is harder to teach. Higher order thinking is much more ambiguous, rarely are answers right or wrong making it subjective when tested or measured however, such skills are vital to all further education and understanding how best to teach them can help you pass this information on with the passion it deserves….

…My Words of Wisdom:

Using words such as Higher Order Thinking Skills or Advanced Thinking Techniques only encourages those who believe themselves to be incapable of such skills to stop listening. Such descriptions are intimidating, seemingly scientific and daunting. They encourage people who lack confidence or understanding to assume such subjects as “out of their league”. The truth is very different. Everyone is more than capable when they know how.

Learning happens in 4 stages. First we are in a state of Unconscious Unconsciousness, when we are not aware of the subject, neither are we aware that it exists. If you landed on this web site in this state then by simply reading this article you have moved on to the next stage; Conscious Unconsciousness. In this state we are aware of the subject but we don’t necessarily know anything about it. During the next stage; Conscious Consciousness we are aware and we have an understanding. We are able to apply our awareness if we think about it. The final stage of Unconscious Consciousness is where we become unaware of how aware we actually are. In other words we are able to apply this knowledge and understanding without having to stop to think about it.

When teaching Advanced Thinking Techniques it is important that students are encouraged to use and adopt such skills before they become too aware of what they actually are. In a situation where the student focuses too firmly on understanding the terminology and technology of such brain activity he or she will merely be practicing lower order thinking skills of memorization and understanding rather those of a higher order.

The best way to acquire Higher Order Thinking Skills is through action learning and practice. Having appreciated the participation, the pupil can then begin to acquire theoretical knowledge too. Much like sport or music it’s much better to install a sense of passion and pride in performing than to bore a beginner with theory!

Practice is what makes the performance perfect.


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