How To Make Students Better Thinkers

Photo by Naassom Azevedo on Unsplash

“A student is as good as the teacher. Great teachers produce great students. It is as simple as that. ” Frederick Osei-Manu

This is not an attempt to write a textbook on thinking. There are already excellent books on that sitting on the shelves in our libraries and held by book vendors on the Broadways.

Over the years I have come to appreciate the importance of right thinking and the proper assimilation of information in the life of a person, since it makes all the difference of who one is as a person.

The Good Book — The Bible says “As a man thinks so he is.” It is therefore paramount for a student in this case to get his or her thinking hat properly put on.

Some Incredible Things That Will Help You To Be A Great Thinker As A Student

#1. Good reasoning

Your ability to question the things (facts, data, information, thoughts) you read makes you a far better thinker than those who just ‘swallow’ what they read.

#2. Out of the box thinking

Look at things from different angles. Reverse thinking can help you see things differently than you did before. Most of the time we work our way from problems to finding solutions. What about working from a position of having solutions to problems. I learnt this great lesson from my days of practising mathematics.

#3. Reading in between the lines

Go after the thoughts of the authors of the books you read. The big ideas are always laid out for you to see. When and how you see it is always in between the lines.

#4. Speed reading

This is a vital skill you need to develop. You can peruse through books by glancing at the book cover, introduction, headings, subheadings, paragraph and conclusion just to get what the author is conveying.

Years back in London I had the privilege to attend a program where we were taught to speed read. The technique I picked that day is to view a page(s) in a Z fashion by the eye movement. Speed reading provides you highlights of what the document is about.

#5. Painstaking reading

This approach offers you the student the privilege to comprehend and recollect what you read. Scribble along the pages if you can and more so if the book is not a borrowed item.

#6. Taking notes

It is often said that “a short pencil is longer than a long memory”. The wisdom in this saying is that every human has the potential to forget but once one jots down what he or she saw or heard there is the likelihood to revisit it any day and time.

#7. Pay attention to facts and themes

I have come to appreciate that in learning one needs to heed to numbers, figures, dates, events, circumstances, scenarios, cases and stories to be able to build a point or argue out a point in a better manner.

#8. Underlining the materials you read

One of the fastest ways of remembering main ideas is by underlining the various materials you read. During periods of revisions underlining can serve as a great means of recollecting what you have read. It is also a great time saver when trying to fish for an idea (s) in an already read material. Also, during open book exams it helps you trace answers to questions quickly.

#9. Memorizing

The habit of putting things to memory is essential for a student to succeed. The more you exercise your brain in retaining information the better it improves your performance and score.

#10. Group meetings

An individual can become phenomenal if he or she learns to participate with others who are keen in studying. Life has proven over time that — whole is always greater than parts. So as a student having synergy at group meetings or discussions can be an excellent way of picking ideas, themes and concepts others put across.

Sometimes another colleague can best explain a concept better to your understanding than a teacher because they appreciate the same difficulty and pain your wrestle with in trying to grasp it.

Group meetings can help you see your short coming and strength. You will hear people say during discussions “I never saw it this way before”. So group meetings is always an eye opener. Group meetings can also serve as a means of discovering textbooks and diverse approach colleagues use in gaining mastery over a subject.

#11. Understanding (Logic and Patterns)

Every subject has a logic and pattern that governs it. Reading and learning is by observation and practise.

Observation is fundamental to understanding any subject. By observation you understand why things are done in a certain way. Why certain things are first principles and somethings come after the other.

As you delve into your study materials you see the logic and patterns the course is made of. Use the examples as a means of practise.

#12. Secondary source

Other books apart from your primary textbooks will help you to obtain an in-depth understanding to any subject matter. Therefore, go for other resources available. The library is a great place to start with.

#13. Learning from your mistakes: — Correction

The best and easiest way to improve is by working on your mistakes. I have found out that once you find out a way a problem is solved no matter the form and shape a similar problem is put before you, chances remain that you can solve it.

#14. Revision

Going over what you have read or studied helps in recollection. Make time to go through your notes or materials before taking a quiz or an exam. By this kind of preparation you know you are set for success.

Some Important Things I Learnt From Graduate Schools With Regards To Thinking

#15. Factual claims

The strength of your essay or paper depends on the claims you make. How good is your claim? It is therefore relevant to make a good claim by which other claims can be developed around. Your main claim therefore should be factual. Sometimes there will be the need to rework the wordings of a main claim before your start to write in that way you present a stronger paper by the time you are done with your thesis.

#16. Build a better argument

You certainly need supporting evidence to buttress your main claim. Building a better argument requires that you refer to other writers, experts in the field of study to substantiate your points. How convincing you are depends on your ability to pull in or bring in related thoughts from these writers or experts.

The stronger your evidence the better your argument looks in the eyes of your professors or readers.

Your aim is to move people to buy into your arguments. Always remember that!

#17. Deductive & inductive reasoning

Though I have already touched on good reasoning it is imperative I also touch on two pivotal areas in thinking and that is: deductive and inductive reasoning.

Source: Daniel Miessler in Philosophy

With regards to deductive reasoning one moves from the point of theory to the point of establishing a claim or a law.

On the other hand, with inductive reasoning one moves from the point of observation to the point of theory.

Either way, we all in one way or the other make use of these kinds of reasoning in our field of study. I encourage you to put on these “thinking hats” when you approach a task or a project.

#19. Enrich your mind

As a student decide to read, reason through, and understand the books you read. It is the only way to enrich your mind.

#20. Make a decision to share your discoveries with others

Let me end with this, any time you hit the jack pot of ideas that is worth noting, life changing and important to you and your field of work remember to share with others. You may be carrying the piece of puzzle in your hands that another needs to solve a problem in the world of study. So share what you know, what you have and what you have come across with others.

A Bonus Advice I Got From My Professors I Give To You

A couple of the professors I have come across always say this — “Let your voice be heard” in the work you present. I also think so. Let your voice be heard in the class room, in your writings and in what ever you do.

End Notes

A Short Pencil is Better than a Long Memory — Bigg Success

Scientific Speed Reading: How to Read 300% Faster in 20 Minutes

Daniel Miessler

This article was first published on Medium.

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