Higher Order Thinking

Psychology is about critical thinking, evaluating situations and conducting mental experiments whose results can then be translated to written communication in the form of research papers, journal articles and reports. Students who do not succeed in one or more of these aspects of psychology may not have been instructed in higher order thinking.

Higher order thinking helps students think more creatively when solving problems. In addition, students who are provided higher order thinking tools are more critical and make better decisions than those who do not. Independent consulting providers provide assistance to educators to help them create explanatory modeling activities that help students develop reasoning activity, often through an online source. Psychology instructors who visit this website can obtain exercises and activities designed to teach students higher order thinking.

Activities and Exercises

The types of activities and exercises found on the websites include those that help students:

Justify the decisions or course of action taken by thoroughly explaining those actions;
Generate, invent and design new ideas and products while also explaining their plan and the circumstances that triggered the idea;
Divide information into parts in order to understand all aspects of the problem;
Compare and organize those parts in order to develop solutions;
Implement, carry out or execute solutions;
Develop the ability to recall information, recognize similarities and apply solutions.

Concept of Higher Order Thinking

Simple thinking skills involve learning simple facts and recall, but in a 1956 publication entitled “Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives,” the concept of higher order thinking skills was introduced. Since that time, many forms of education reform have used higher order thinking methods, including standards-based mathematics and whole language. Many standard based assessments now use open-response questions that require a student to use higher order analysis and writing. Some have eliminated multiple choice questions as these do not require a student to use critical thinking skills to respond, but simply demonstrate they have memorized information.

Although there is a place for traditional learning methods, including a focus on the facts and simple memorization, especially among students who are behind academically, there is growing evidence that higher order thinking puts students at an advantage, especially those who are working in the field of psychology, as those who enter psychological based professions must use higher order thinking to address the needs of those for which they are providing services.

Author: Damien Riley

Having been a public school teacher since 1997, I've gained valuable classroom experience. Sometimes a great tool is a dynamite lesson plan. These posts are from a real teaching journey. I hope they inspire you. Thanks for reading!

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