Tools and Techniques to Improve Thinking Skills


What is Thinking skill

Thinking skill is our ability to use our mind efficiently to understand, analyze, apply, evaluate, decide, create something. Many scientists believe that we are only using a portion of our mind. Also many wrongly believe that thinking is in-born talent and it cannot be learned or improved. Even our education systems completely neglect to groom the thinking ability of our children.

In Schools, students are considered as ‘clever’, when they can store huge amounts of data and recall them whenever needed. It is not the answers which reveal the understanding of the subject. Your questions reveal your true understanding of the topic. Thinking starts not during answers but when we ask questions. In reality(life after school), knowledge alone is not sufficient to achieve success in life. Factories hire workers, but companies hire problem solvers, decision makers, and innovators. If you have knowledge, you can work in factories. When you have thinking skill, you can work for the development of companies. Knowledge may get you some job to survive, but it is intelligence which puts you on top of your career.

The quality of our life both in personal and professional front depends on the quality of our thoughts. But, we do not give importance to improve our skills in thinking. We can improve our thinking skills by understanding different ways of thinking and employing various tools and techniques for different thinking operations. When these tools and techniques are practiced, our thinking abilities improve.

Edward de Bono says - There are three basic aspects of thinking: 1. what is; 2. what may be; and 3. what can be.’ Most of the people limit their thinking with ‘what is’. The valuable contribution to progress in every facet is done by ‘what may be’. People think very little about ‘what can be’ even though our future depends entirely on that.

Subskills of Thinking Skills

  1. Critical Thinking Skill
  2. Creative Thinking Skill
  3. Decision-Making Skill
  4. Problem-Solving Skill

Levels Of Thinking - Bloom’s Taxonomy

Knowledge is the lowest levels of thinking and Evaluation is the highest level of thinking according to Bloom’s Taxonomy of thinking levels. You can access yourself on the level of your thinking by asking yourself how often you employ these thinking activities at home and in the workplace.

  1. Knowledge (What, When, Who) - Ability to Recall Information
  2. Comprehension (Understand, Rephrase, Explain) - Ability to Rephrase
  3. Application (Develop, Solve, Plan, Demonstrate) - Ability to apply solutions in different contexts
  4. Analysis (Classify, Compare, Root-cause) - Ability to identify concepts and relationships between them.
  5. Synthesis (Create, Design, Propose) - Creative Ability to create new solutions
  6. Evaluation (Choose, Judge, Judge) - Ability to make right decisions

Types of Thinking

  1. Critical Thinking and Creative Thinking
    • Critical Thinking refers to thinking to evaluate claims using reasoning whereas creative thinking refers to the exploration of the subject to come up with new ideas.
    • Critical Thinking is also called as Analytical Thinking.
    • Example: Validating whether the information you received in social post requires critical thinking whereas creating a new attractive post for your followers requires creative thinking.
  2. Abstract Thinking and Concrete Thinking
    • Abstract Thinking refers to thinking regarding the underlying concepts/systems and the relationship between them whereas concrete thinking refers to thinking regarding the parts of the system rather than the whole system.
    • Abstract Thinking goes deeper to find hidden meaning and motives whereas concrete thinking goes over the visible information.
    • Example: An abstract thinker sees Flag as a symbol of the country whereas concrete thinker can see the color and shape of the Flag.
  3. Convergent Thinking and Divergent Thinking
    • Convergent thinking refers to organizing information logically and directing our thoughts to find the single right answer whereas Divergent thinking refers to diverging our thinking direction into many aspects of the problem to come up with many possible answers.
    • Convergent thinking is thinking inward, and Divergent thinking is thinking outwards.
    • Standardized Tests such as IQ test focus only on the convergent thinking but not on divergent thinking.
    • Education Systems focus only on convergent thinking because it can be easily tested.
    • Example: Solving mathematical problems are convergent thinking whereas generating ideas to improve a product is divergent thinking.
  4. Sequential Thinking and Parallel Thinking
    • Sequential thinking refers to going from one step to another in single direction whereas parallel thinking refers to expanding your thinking in multiple directions.
    • Example: Sequential thinker creates a step by step instruction to create the product whereas parallel thinkers create models or diagrams to build the product.

Concepts In Thinking

  • Attention - Giving Focus to specific stimulus and neglecting others
  • Remembering - Storing and Recall of Information
  • Gathering - Identify missing and search
  • Organizing - Arranging information so that it can be used effectively
  • Analyzing - Breaking down information and identify underlying concepts and their relationships.
  • Designing - Connecting existing concepts and building new product/structure.
  • Evaluating - Effectively choose from the various options available
  • Creativity - Creating something new
About Prabakaran Thirumalai 767 Articles
Blogger on topics including Life Skills such as Learning, Thinking, Emotional Intelligence, Motivation, and Social Skills.