Cultivating higher-order thinking skills can be difficult while you’re managing behavior, communicating with parents, and covering standards. We can help.

Teaching children requires arming them with academic knowledge, yet also ingraining thinking skills that are crucial to becoming adults who contribute to society in a meaningful way. Higher-order thinking skills (HOTS) move children beyond the problems in front of them by training them to ask important questions and consider possibilities that might exist outside the evidence that has been presented. Instead of relying on rote skills acquired through memorization, students who develop higher-order thinking skills are able to think critically about the world, revealing opportunities to provide breakthroughs, rather than simple solutions to problems.

1. Get in the Game

higher-order thinking skillsOne of the best methods of cultivating higher-order thinking skills is to incorporate game-based learning into lessons. Whether using traditional strategies necessary in chess or focusing on a particular subject through games that incorporate math concepts, students will sharpen skills needed to navigate through a game to victory. These activities require students to consider and evaluate evidence and make decisions based upon this information.

2. Read Between the Lines

To develop higher-order thinking skills, students should cultivate their inferring abilities. By strengthening the ways in which they use reason to examine evidence and develop hypotheses, students will expand higher-order thinking skills. One method to approach this task is to assign reading that will challenge students by forcing them to think critically about the topics presented. Teachers who cultivate skeptical readers provide students with meaningful opportunities that will develop higher-order thinking skills.

3. Project Higher Levels of Thinking

higher-order thinking skillsThe benefits of project-based learning are great and this approach gives students a chance to practice what you preach. Through engaging with classmates and collaborating on projects together, students will develop higher-order thinking skills by asking each other questions, considering the input of others, and taking the information learned from their teachers to create a product or solve a problem.

4. Raise the Rigor

Rigorous doesn’t mean “hard.” A rigorous curriculum is one that pushes students to develop more than a surface understanding of a concept. To begin developing rigor, don’t allow students to settle with their preliminary responses to lessons. When studying problems, encourage students to list multiple possibilities that will solve the issue. Teach children to continue to ask questions and not accept for the first possible answer. The goal is to show students how to build upon the solutions they initially form to reach more solid conclusions.

To remain competitive, today’s employees must possess the skills that make them valuable team players who will be able to not only think outside the box, but reshape it by considering different approaches to problem solving. Through including activities that develop higher-order thinking skills in lessons, teachers can ensure that they are preparing their students today to become tomorrow’s leaders.

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