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    How to develop analytical thinking skills
    учебно-методический материал на тему

    Алеева Эльза Гусмановна

    Basically, analytical thinking is considered as a part of critical thinking. But contemporary life shows that analytical thinking skills are required more and more. We live in the world of double standards, in an artificial world and see the world through the looking glass as depicted in the novel “Alice in Wonderland”.  I think, there is a need to distinguish between analytical and critical thinking.

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    How to develop analytical thinking skills

    EG Aleeva - VSOSH #1

    In our day to day life whether official, personal or social, we have to deal with complications. Some situations are easy to handle with but others are complex. This is where our Analytical Skills help us. The prime purpose for the Analysis of any given situation is to get to know the root causes of the issue, to forecast the impact and to plan corrective/preventive actions strategy. So, basically, analytical skill is to visualize a given situation, task, project or issue from several angles in order to breakdown it into smaller steps, consider the weight of each option. While doing your analysis you might want to consider the difference between urgent and important things.

    Analytical thinking skills help you to gather information, articulate, visualize and solve complex problems.

    Besides, teaching students how to understand their own brains, how their thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions are formed, shaped, and sometimes distorted, would be the most important aspect of teaching critical thinking.

    Analytical Vs. Critical Thinking

    Basically, analytical thinking is considered as a part of critical thinking. But contemporary life shows that analytical thinking skills are required more and more. We live in the world of double standards, in an artificial world and see the world through the looking glass as depicted in the novel “Alice in Wonderland”.  I think, there is a need to distinguish between analytical and critical thinking.

    Some people make the assumption that analytical thinking and critical thinking are one and the same. That is not actually true.

    When you think critically, you make the decision personalizing the problem. Once you are given information, you evaluate the data and determine how it should be best interpreted for you. You then make conclusions regarding your unique perception of the information. Moreover, you combine your new information with your current knowledge of the world in order to make the most accurate assessment you can make. You start to look into other pieces of data that could be relevant. In addition, critical thinking takes facts and uses them to form an opinion or a belief.

    As for analytical thinking, you use it to break down a series of complex bits of information. You take thinks step-by-step to develop an overall conclusion, answer or solution. You look at something through different points of view with the objective to create a cause and an effect.

    So, critical thinking is more of your opinion-based style of thinking. Analytical skills lead you to have a more focus and stream-lined approach to solution finding. When you have to find a complex-problem solution or diplomatic way of solving the problem, you would use your analytical skills.

    If we try to find words that are connected with analysis we can find such words as review, evaluation, test, examination, exploration. It refers to an active learning.

    Developing Analytical Skills

    They can be developed with time and consistent practice. Like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets.

    They are of different levels. Let’s look at some of them.

    To have good analytical skills we should read a lot, to deal with a great source of information and do lots of practice Finding Cause and Effect Relations.

    Another excellent option is to build your mathematical skills. Calculus, algebra and statistics all make use of logic and analysis.

    How can we use it in our lessons? I’ll give you some numbers orally. ( I can write them on the board). What do you think they mean. 1708, 16, 0.  

    Let’s pay attention to the steps you or our students do.

    • We get the information.
    • We start to analyze, to find connections between the numbers.

    So, the answer is date/ sum/ multiplication. Then you can start working with dates, days of the week and grammar asking questions”What date/day is it today? What date/day was yesterday? What date/day will be tomorrow?

    The variants of the task can be different. Another good way is working with the number of pages. Most of our students don’t like when we say “open your books at page…” If you do it using mathematical calculus, their attention wakes up.

    So, it’s good for practicing pronunciation, grammar and sentence building, for catching attention.

    You can also work through different puzzles with the goal of solving them.

    Try going for a walk, and observing everything occurring all around you -  I  see, I watch, I feel. If you see a cat, try to describe it, paying attention to details such as size, color, habits, determine what it is doing, and then ask yourself why it is  doing that? Is the cat resting or watching? After your observations, let them settle in your mind. Write down your observations. It’s good for warming –up, it may be a creative home task and it’s an effective way of developing language skills.

    Sorting and Grouping Exercises
    Categorizing objects on the basis of fixed criteria is a good exercise for developing critical thinking. Give the students a list of different things or names; say a list of animals and ask them to group the animals in various ways. It's they who decide the criteria to group them. In case of animals, it could be habitat, size, color or even number of letters in their names. Have variety in the lists you give them. You can give them a list of names of places or a list of numbers and ask the students to sort them into a certain number of groups based on various criteria. The grouping criteria will depend on what's included in the list.
    Compare and Contrast Exercises
    Comparative analysis of competing technologies or products can be a good exercise for developing critical and analytical thinking skills. Give them two music genres for comparison or give them two movie names and ask them which one they would recommend watching and why. You can give them sets of things that have something in common and ask them to point out what's common to them. For example, September, April, November, June. Now anyone would know what's common to these, they are names of months. But attention to detail is what it takes, to notice that all of them have 30 days.
    Socratic Thinking Exercise
    Ask the students to give their views on the subject and then give them a set of questions like these.
    -Explain your viewpoint on the subject.
    -Why do you think so?
    -Are there examples that support your point of view?
    -What's the counter-argument to what you think?
    -How would you defend your point of view?
    -What made you form this opinion?
    -Are your opinions subject to change?

    Exam tasks. Example of critical thinking. Comment on the following statement.

    What is your opinion? Use the following plan^

    -make an introduction (state the problem)

    -express your personal opinion and give reasons for it

    - give arguments for the other point of view and explain why you don’t agree with it

    - draw a conclusion

    Example of analytical thinking. Comment on the following statement. Do you agree or disagree with the statement. Use the following plan:

    -make an introduction (state the problem)

    -give arguments “for”

    - give arguments “against”

    -draw a conclusion based on the given arguments


    Sample Scenarios (примеры сценариев)
    - Imagine you have just 5 years of your life left. What would you do with the time you have?
    -Imagine you were born in the 18th century. What would life be like?

    - Give 10 uses of a pen other than writing.
    -Other than storage, in what different ways can a bottle be used?

    - If you were able to go back in time and change one thing in the past, what would it be and why?
    - If you were a non-living thing, what would you want to be? Why?


    Fact or Perception/opinion Exercise

    -The square of 12 is 144. Answer: A fact
    - The attendance in class today was good. Answer: An opinion
    - She looks so much like her mother. Answer: An opinion
    -The distance to the Church from your place is 4 miles Answer: A fact
    - Mother is in the kitchen. Answer: A fact that can change
    -The third letter of the alphabet is 'c'. Answer: A fact

    The problem indicates that:

    - students may learn how to provide “correct” answers while not learning appropriate reasoning/ analytical skills;

    -teaching and using of analytical skills require a dedicated effort.

    So, there must be a very strict rule: Tasks are not for giving answers, Tasks are for analytical work.

    Now I want to show you how I use the method of 3 steps. It’s from my own practice.

    1. Find the key word/ phrase
    2. Analyze the situation
    3. Give the answer

    Analyzing of wrong answers is an effective way of developing analytical thinking skills but it needs much more time.

    (Video -3 steps)

    If we want our students to become good thinkers, reasoners, we need to give them clear example of simple cases and lots and lots of practice analyzing them.

    The work on finding effective ways on developing analytical thinking skills is currently ongoing. I think we should pay attention to

    -how analytical skills are developed in a system of education;

    -how students develop their critical and analytical thinking skills;

    - how critical and analytical thinking skills should be taught and developed;.

    - how teaching techniques contribute to the development of analytical skills.

    Contemporary students have different needs to previous generations and that’s why they think, learn and process information in different ways. As a result, new  mechanisms for teaching and assessing may be required to develop their analytical thinking skills.

     

     


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