Opening Minds: A Parents’ Guide to Teaching for Thinking at Home

Selma Wassermann. Rowman & Littlefield, $35 (120p) ISBN 978-1-4758-5953-9
Parents can “become teacher-surrogates in implementing the very essential work of continuing to open children’s minds,” writes education professor Wassermann (Evaluation Without Tears) in this comprehensive if dry guide to filling the gaps created by school shutdowns during the pandemic. She argues that “our long-term survival” may depend on children’s ability to analyze, problem-solve, and innovate. In explaining how to engage and develop a child’s critical thinking skills, she breaks down a dozen “thinking operations.” Observing, for example, helps children make sense of the world, while comparing is a skill that leads to making better judgments. The heart of Wassermann’s guidance comes in the form of hundreds of activities, grouped by reading ability: there’s a list of questions to ask both pre-readers and middle grade students to help them form hypotheses, as well as lists of age-appropriate topics to compare, such as a bear and a pig for the younger group, and TV and radio for the older. Wassermann’s delivery, though, often reads like a textbook (“Parents will need to instruct children orally about the nature of the operation”), and not all of her exercises seem likely to engage modern children, such as asking a child to put an onion in a dish and observe its growth. Still, at its best this an informative deep-dive into what makes children critical thinkers. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 03/31/2021
Release date: 04/10/2021
Genre: Lifestyle
Open Ebook - 120 pages - 978-1-4758-5954-6
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