# Executive Function: Critical Thinking Dr. Hazel McBride Ph.D.

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Executive Function: Critical Thinking Dr. Hazel McBride Ph.D.

Teach Critical Thinking http://youtu.be/-85-j7Nr9i4

Problem solving Identify problem. Generate possible solutions. Prioritize solutions. Develop a plan. Take action. Evaluate the result. Successful. Unsuccessful: try the next solution. * There is no failure!

Problem Solving Problem solving needs practice. Start with simple everyday problems and then move to more complex and abstract problem. Experiment with different kinds of problems. Everyone loves puzzles and games. When we don’t know the outcome of a game or puzzle we get a double dose of dopamine, the reward hormone, called the “Big D”. This is why we enjoy playing games. But playing games can also develop executive function skills such as problem solving. BrainDen.com

Critical Thinking It is goal directed thinking that uses logical reasoning and objective criteria as foundations for evaluation and decision making. http://www.gifted.uconn.edu/nrcgt/reports/rm06218/rm06218.pdf There are two major components: 1. Analysis. Bloom (1956) defined analysis as “ the breakdown of the material into its constituent parts and detection of the relationship of the parts and of the way they are organized.” http://youtu.be/GzV1pNQUX5s

Classroom Instruction of Analysis 1.Teach students to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant facts. Newspapers and advertisements offer good examples of this contrast. 2. Help students discern the difference between fact and opinion. Use current tabloid magazines e.g. US, National Enquirer, STAR.

3. Propaganda and marketing: Develop advertising for a new product. Analyze newspapers and magazines to find other examples. Have students develop video commercials for products. Classroom Instruction of Analysis

4. Show students how you can use statistics to support your position on an issue. e.g. How to Lie with Statistics (Huff, 1954). 5. Teach note taking and outlining procedures. e.g. mind maps, graphic organizers, webs. Classroom Instruction of Analysis

The second component of critical thinking is logic. Logic is a method for evaluating and structuring arguments based on inference. There are two kinds of logic: induction and deduction. Inductive reasoning starts with specific information and leads to generalization. Inductive reasoning leads to probability but not certainty. For example, a teacher who observes that all the gifted students he has taught are high achievers drew the assumption that all gifted students perform well academically.

Deductive reasoning begins with a general statement and proceeds to the specific. e.g. All certified teachers have college degrees. Jan is a certified teacher. Therefore, Jan has a college degree. Example Marlene is taller than Jessica, who is taller than Tania. Richard who likes only girls who are shorter than he is, measures 5ft. 5 in. in height. If Jessica is also 5 ft. 5 in. tall which of the three girls is Richard apt to like best ?

Relational Thinking 1. Compare and contrast a. Similes and metaphors In a simile the word like or as is used in the comparison “A Pretty Girl is like a Melody”. A metaphor makes a comparison without like or as. John was a whirlwind. b. Attribute listing Develops ideational fluency and creativity. Attributes are characteristics or properties that make persons, animals, objects or concepts unique. They can be colors, sizes, textures, shapes, or characteristics such as curiosity.

Relational Thinking 1.Compare and contrast Similes and metaphors In a simile the word like or as is used in the comparison “A Pretty Girl is like a Melody”. A metaphor makes a comparison without like or as. John was a whirlwind.

Relational Thinking 2. Analogy An analogy is a relationship between two concepts. e.g. Comparing today’s astronauts to the explorers of earlier times. A is to B as C is to D. White is to black as ____ is to down. Foot is to football as _____ is to volleyball.

c. Synonyms and antonyms Useful for vocabulary building and writing. d. Classification Essential for recognizing relationships between items or concepts. e. Recognizing patterns In order to recognize, analyze and reproduce a pattern, it is necessary to first identify its attributes. Relational Thinking

f. Following sequences A sequence is a specific type of pattern. e.g. Fill in the blank in these sequences. (a)48, 35, 24,______ 8, 3 (b)ABACADAABBAACCA______ (c ) X6XX5XXX4XXX_____XX2XXXXXX1 Relational Thinking

Developing Creativity Trains executive function skills such as cognitive flexibility and relational thinking. Name 10 things you can do with socks with holes in them. Design a better refrigerator, bicycle, cell phone

Exercises in Creativity After a shipwreck, you're stranded on a desert island. Washed up on the shore were three other items from the ship: 1) a large beach ball, 2) a deck of cards, and 3) a carry-on roller bag-style suitcase. How could you use these three items – in new ways – to help you survive? Come up with as many ideas as possible in 3 minutes.

Creative Problem Solving In a "remote-associations" task, participants are given three words or concepts, and have to find the one word or concept that they all have in common. For instance, what word or concept connects these three words: communist birthday surprise The answer is: "party.” Try to figure these out. cat fire rules news moon tiger Courtesy of Dr. Sarnoff Mednick, Professor Emeritus, US

Developing Creativity Describe a world where people could fly. What would be the benefits and the problems? If animals could talk how would our world view change? If you had an extra eye where would it be placed on your body? Why? http://developingcreativity.org/