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How To Think? Use Visible Thinking to Help Your Child Master the Art of Thinking

“Think from different perspectives.” Sounds all too familiar? This is a phrase we keep repeating to ourselves, to our friends as well as to our children. But, how can we make someone think? Have you ever wished you were able to impart your thinking process to someone else? But, thinking is not visible, it happens inside our brain. How do you cultivate visible thinking?

Is it possible to make thinking visible? How can we make it visible to our kids, just like teaching them writing or dancing? There are many ways to encourage visible thinking in children.

Visible Thinking is part of the Project Zero program of Harvard University. Educators practicing Visible Thinking make use of many thinking routines to enhance the thinking horizon of their students. Here are five strategies you can use in strengthening your child’s thinking habits.

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1. Use the language of thinking

Visible Thinking Singapore

Many children have the habit of saying “I don’t know” when they are unable to express their ideas or think in a coherent manner. One powerful way for you to help your child in expressing their ideas is by using the language of thinking. “What makes you think so?”, “What is another way to do this?”, “What else?”, “Why does the other group think so?” Questions like these make your child think about their thinking patterns.

2. Circle of viewpoints

Visible Thinking Singapore

This activity encourages diversity of viewpoints. Often in groups, children (as well as adults) tend to get influenced by other people’s ideas and viewpoints. Encourage your child to pick up a particular point of view from available choices and talk about it. For example, if you are talking about pollution, they may pick up the viewpoint of the factory owner, the factory worker, the people suffering from the pollution, an environmentalist, an economist and so on. Use this activity to boost your child’s confidence in expressing their viewpoints, when those are different from other people’s.

You can do circle of viewpoints as a family activity. Take up everyday situations or funny scenarios as a starting point.

3. Questioning

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Ask your child to make as many questions as they can after they read a storybook or an academic book. The questions could also be related to a movie they watched or a game they played. It is the questions that lead to answers. Focus on the questions first, irrespective of whether they know the answers or not.

4. Get in touch with past experiences and knowledge

Visible Thinking Singapore

“What does it remind you of?” Use this powerful question in various situations and experiences. While helping in relating to their previous knowledge, this activity also helps in connecting with their emotions. The way they answer to this question does not have to be verbal all the time. Help them to express it in terms of words, pictures, music or movements depending on what their style is or the current mood they are in.

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5. Storytelling without words

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“How can you say stories without words?”, “What are the options?”, “It is impossible”. Be ready to hear these responses when you introduce this strategy. However, when your child realises you really mean what you said, they would start thinking. Now, their responses would be different. They may ask you questions like “Can I use puppets?”, “Can I use pictures or crafts?”, “Can I act it out?” This is a great strategy to make your child explore ideas on how they can express those stories in a manner another person can enjoy it, without the help of words.

Making thinking visible helps your child in cultivating good thinking habits and in expressing their thoughts clearly. Further more, it gives the confidence to play around with alternative plans and solutions.

For our workshops on thinking skills, please visit Thinkers Unlimited.

Share this article with your friends and colleagues, so that they too are aware of this amidst their busy schedules. 

Do you have any insights or tips that you use? Would you like to share that? Please use the comments section below and let us know!

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The Kidz Parade Magazine 

Are you looking for a special present for an adorable child? Why don’t you give a present that will leave a lifetime positive impact? When you give The Kidz Parade Edutainment Magazine as a present, you are opening the door to a world of Creativity and Communication.

NEW POSTER 6 copy

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You might also be interested in Testimonials Confidence Hub Junior Champs Leadership Camp

 Junior Champs Leadership Camp

Public Speaking for children

You might also be interested in Testimonials Confidence Hub Public Speaking Camp

About Sindu Sreebhavan

Sindu Sreebhavan is the founder of As Many Minds Minds Pte Ltd and the chief editor of The Kidz Parade Edutainment magazine, Asia's premium publication for cultivating creativity and creative writing in children. “The best gift you can give a child is the power of Confidence, Creativity and Communication” is her tagline. She speaks and consults on creativity, communication, innovation and leadership in children. She is passionate about educating parents and kids about bullying. She supports children, parents, schools and several organisations in these areas.

How To Boost Academics By Growing Growth Mindset

Many parents worry why their child is not able to achieve their true potential. Most parents, especially in Singapore, turn into enrolling children in multiple tuition classes to enhance their academics. While extra academic aid helps to a certain extend, many parents ignore a very important aspect – the mindset of the child.

The education system in Singapore is highly acclaimed all over the world. It’s academic value has been proven by many international scoring systems. However, is it making children future ready? In order to find that out, let us take a look at what the future demands from the children. The future is looking out for people who are competent in springing up new ideas, capable of communicating those ideas with confidence and keen in collaborating with others to implement those ideas.

The rise of gig economy where we see people work on short term assignments will demand quick adaptation to changes a necessity. This will also expect people to learn much quickly than the current pace. In order to cope with all these requirements of the future, we need to encourage growth mindset in children. This will not only help them in the future, this will also make them work effectively under the academic pressure they are facing now.

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What is growth mindset?

Growth mindset is a term coined by the famous Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck. She studied the behaviour of thousands of children and argued that it is not just the abilities and the talent that guide children towards the path of success. She divides the mindset into two – Fixed Mindset and Growth Mindset.

A person with “fixed mindset” believes that we are born with certain amount of intelligence, talent and creativity and that do not change during our lifetime. A person with fixed mindset relates their successes and failures as the proof of their talent and intelligence. They would try to avoid situations and challenges where they fear they would fail. On the otherhand, a person with growth mindset does not relate successes and failures to their intelligence. They see success as a result of the efforts they put in and the challenges they overcame and the failures as opportunities for learning and improvement. This difference in thinking lead people with growth mindset to take up challenges and opportunities with confidence and always strive to give their best in every situation.

With a growth mindset, children could achieve higher grades, work towards achieving their targets and learn from their experiences and failures.

How does Growth mindset help?

In the past, scientists thought our brain stops growing as soon we cross our twenties. It was believed that our intelligence and talent were fixed at birth. Research in the last few decades, has shown that human brain never stops growing. It keeps learning and gets smarter depending on what it is exposed to. So, the intelligence and talent can go up or down. A growth mindset gives the attitude to children to take on challenges and to work towards their goals. The more they use their intelligence and skills, the more their intelligence and skills grow.

How can you develop growth mindset in your child?

There are many areas you can focus on while adopting a growth mindset for your family or students.

1. Praise them for the effort

When you tell a child that “you are intelligent”, you are not at all helping that child. Instead, you are creating a fixed mindset in the child. It is not the praising that helps a child, it is how you praise that helps a child.

When you praise a child for their achievement, you can do it in two ways:

  • You can praise to push them down into a fixed mindset or
  • you can praise to raise them into the growth mindset.

When you praise the child for the results, you are limiting their potential by cementing the fixed mindset. But when you praise them for the efforts, you are expanding their horizon to grow the growth mindset. When you praise them, praise them for the behaviour that they followed in achieving what they have achieved. This will help to ascertain that the efforts and the behaviour they practiced in this situation could be consistently used in other situations as well.

When your child gets an ‘A’ in their test, you praise them for their effort in achieving that, not for achieving an ‘A’. Did they put a lot of efforts into it? Did they show the initiative to gather sufficient information about that topic from various sources and people? Did they come up with some new study plans recently? Tell them what are some of their efforts that led them to achieve what they achieved. Is it applicable only when they achieve an ‘A’? – Definitely not. It is applicable in every situation. If they did not get the results you expected, it does not mean that they did everything wrong, there should be something right that they did in spite of the not so favourable results.

2. Embrace Challenges

Carole Dweck’s research saw 90% of students showing interest in embarking on a challenging new task with a learning opportunity, when they were praised for their efforts. Whereas, when they were praised for their intelligence and/or their talent they were reluctant to try challenging tasks. This is because they were scared that if they fail, it will be reflected negatively on their image of being intelligent or talented.

On the other hand, a growth mindset gives children the attitude to work for what they want to achieve overcoming the challenges on the way.

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3. Learn from failures

Something went wrong? It is natural to feel bad about it. But, is there anything else we can do? In spite of the failure, see what are certain things that went well, certain efforts they did right. What are certain lessons they learned? How can they use this mistake to make their future pursuits better?

In the infographic here, you can see how a child with growth mindset would approach various situations. Are you ready to guide your child to adopt that mindset?

There is a need of deeper understanding among the educators to practice growth mindset inside and outside their classrooms through their actions and communication. We can’t expect children to pick up a growth mindset simply by telling them what growth mindset is. Growth mindset involves a lot of motivating and right communication. Teachers, parents and caretakers need to demonstrate a growth mindset when they deal with children. It takes the whole community to make a mindset change. Let us start it right at our homes and classrooms.

Would you like to hang the above poster on growth mindset in the classroom or in your child’s room? You can download a high resolution copy of the infographics here.

Check out  our workshops on growth mindset here.

You can find more on how to encourage your child to study here.

Share this article with your friends and colleagues, so that they too are aware of this amidst their busy schedules. 

Do you have any insights or tips that you use? Would you like to share that? Please use the comments section below and let us know!

Junior Public Speaking & Confidence Building Workshop

Public Speaking for children Singapore

The Kidz Parade Magazine 

Are you looking for a special present for an adorable child? Why don’t you give a present that will leave a lifetime positive impact? When you give The Kidz Parade Edutainment Magazine as a present, you are opening the door to a world of Creativity and Communication.

NEW POSTER 6 copy

Public Speaking Camp

public speaking for children Singapore

You might also be interested in Testimonials Confidence Hub Junior Champs Leadership Camp

 Junior Champs Leadership Camp

Public Speaking for children

You might also be interested in Testimonials Confidence Hub Public Speaking Camp

About Sindu Sreebhavan

Sindu Sreebhavan is the founder of As Many Minds Minds Pte Ltd and the chief editor of The Kidz Parade Edutainment magazine, Asia's premium publication for cultivating creativity and creative writing in children. “The best gift you can give a child is the power of Confidence, Creativity and Communication” is her tagline. She speaks and consults on creativity, communication, innovation and leadership in children. She is passionate about educating parents and kids about bullying. She supports children, parents, schools and several organisations in these areas.

How to Raise Successful Kids: Design Thinking Way

In every dialogue I have with parents about their concerns, there is one topic they always passionately speak about – The kind of education they wish to provide for their children. There is also a tail end of that wish where they say, “I know it is just a dream”.

Many of them think it is impossible to provide a holistic education experience where children will be empowered to express their ideas and apply their skills, while developing their factual understanding.

Design Thinking for children Singapore

Design thinking is a structured process that provides an empowering and enriching learning space. According to Stanford University D.School, design thinking process consists of five steps: empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test. The beauty of the methodology is that you can use it everywhere, be it in a classroom, at home or in an office. Apple, PepsiCo and Airbnb are just some of the companies that found success with it.

Before you jump into any conclusion that it is all for high-tech firms and big companies, let me assure it is not just for them. It is a methodology you can use anywhere as long as you have a problem to solve. There are schools around the world that have used Design Thinking to cultivate problem solving skills and innovation in students.

Teaching children using the design thinking methodology invokes a few mindset changes in their overall learning journey.

1. Teaches children to be more innovative and creative

Children learn how to take a problem from stating the problem, tossing ideas to solve it, all the way to implementing it. Prototyping of the solutions in the design thinking process provides the users of the solutions to get a first hand idea of how it is going to look and behave. This enhances their initiative and entrepreneurial skills. As Indra Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo said, “Design leads to innovation and innovation demands design”.

2. Empowers children to be more confident in expressing their ideas

Design Thinking relies a lot on prompting everyone in the group to express their ideas about the topics they handle. Ideation and brainstorming phases of design thinking is communication rich. While imparting valuable life skills such as brainstorming to a child, a design rich environment also boosts children’s confidence in their ideas and imagination. It helps them to come out of their shells and express themselves.

3. Empowers Children to work towards achieving their own goals

Design thinking process is an end-to-end process. Children come up with question statements, solution ideas and prototypes. This is an iterative process and they improve the ideas in each iteration after getting feedback from the users. Once both parties are satisfied with the solution, they implement it or pass it over to the people who are responsible to implement it. This self-driven approach enables them to take on future challenges as leaders, innovators and creative thinkers.

4. Teaches teamwork to children

In a Design Thinking environment, children learn teamwork by working collaboratively. This is a non-judgemental environment where no ideas are shut down. Whereas, a traditional classroom gives more focus to individual efforts and the system is highly competitive. In that system children are offered team-building programs to learn teamwork over hypothetical situations once or twice a year. Does it leave any long-standing effect in the child?

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5. Boosts problem solving skills in children by cultivating different thinking styles

Children learn to look at all aspects of a problem while trying to solve it. It uses both Divergent thinking and convergent thinking styles. In divergent thinking, they generate as many ideas as they can without any constraints. In Convergent thinking, they delve deep into selected ideas and apply the un-moveable constraints into it. The main agenda of design thinking is problem solving. This problem solving is undoubtedly multi-disciplinary. It helps children to connect everything they learn to solve the problem they are facing. And it helps them in every discipline they are learning and every situation they are exposed to.

6. Helps children to grow up as socially responsible citizens

Since Design Thinking programs focus on solving real life challenges, children feel what they are doing is relevant to the community and the world around them. It gives them the tools and the confidence to make the change. They grow up with an understanding of the world around them.

7. Teaches children how to think from other people’s perspectives

Design thinking is human-centered and empathy is instilled in it. Children are continuously encouraged to think about the feelings of the users of their solutions. It tries to integrate the needs of people, technology and the criteria of learning when used right.

 

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8. Encourages children to listen and respect other people’s ideas

One important virtue that children will get rewarded with is the listening skills. It helps children to combine creative thinking and analytical thinking.

9. Inspires children to be more curious and inquisitive

It creates an enquiry culture in the school. When children are faced with a challenge, they will first get in to ‘Why is it happening’ mode instead of jumping into ‘Let me solve it’ mode. This ‘Why culture’ helps not only in their student life and later in their professional life, it also helps them in solving their personal problems. Children become more experienced in applying their knowledge and seeking new knowledge.

10. Teaches children to look at failures as learning experiences

Since they play around with multiple ideas for the same problem, children come to realize that if one does not work, they will be able to find another solution. It changes the concept of failure in their mind. They learn to look at every disappoint as a learning experience.

In a study by IBM in 2012, 1700 CEOs from 64 countries voted collaboration, communication and creativity as the top three traits that are critical for an employee’s success. As per a NACE survey among 160 employers, problem solving is among the top four skills employers seek in a candidate. Incidentally, Design Thinking comes with all these offerings on a silver plate. Shouldn’t our education systems take advantage of that?

Check out our workshops on Design Thinking here and here.

Share this article with your friends and colleagues, so that they too are aware of this amidst their busy schedules. 

Do you have any insights or tips that you use? Would you like to share that? Please use the comments section below and let us know!

Junior Public Speaking & Confidence Building Workshop

Public Speaking for children Singapore

The Kidz Parade Magazine 

Are you looking for a special present for an adorable child? Why don’t you give a present that will leave a lifetime positive impact? When you give The Kidz Parade Edutainment Magazine as a present, you are opening the door to a world of Creativity and Communication. NEW POSTER 6 copy

Public Speaking Camp

public speaking for children Singapore

You might also be interested in Testimonials Confidence Hub Junior Champs Leadership Camp

 Junior Champs Leadership Camp

Public Speaking for children

You might also be interested in Testimonials Confidence Hub Public Speaking Camp

About Sindu Sreebhavan

Sindu Sreebhavan is the founder of As Many Minds Minds Pte Ltd and the chief editor of The Kidz Parade Edutainment magazine, Asia's premium publication for cultivating creativity and creative writing in children. “The best gift you can give a child is the power of Confidence, Creativity and Communication” is her tagline. She speaks and consults on creativity, communication, innovation and leadership in children. She is passionate about educating parents and kids about bullying. She supports children, parents, schools and several organisations in these areas.