Issues In Primary Education: High Order Thinking, Problem Solving Skills, High Order Questioning, And More

High order thinking

Describe the issues in Primary education?

This part of the research deals in analyzing the various theories, concepts and proposed studies from the academic journals and books about the topic. The explanation of themes and the topics have helped the researcher to complete the research work effectively.

Attridge and Inglis (2013) opined that high order thinking which is commonly known as high order thinking skills are the types of learning skills that requires high cognitive processing but generates more benefits. The use of the critical thinking skills is required for the implementation of high order thinking. Baumann, Krems and Ritter (2010) added in simple words the individuals who have the ability to think on a level higher than memorizing of facts or copying the actions or thoughts of theory are said to able to implement high thinking abilities. Thus high order thinking requires the individual to understand the facts, infer from the facts, connect them to other facts and concepts, categorize them, manipulate them and implement them. Burnard and Swann, (2010) further added that the students must master the lower level skills before switching over to high order thinking skills. However to increase the High order thinking within the children of all ages the educational institutions should try to provide logical and reasonable answers to the questions of the children. The steps namely

  • Avoiding rejection of answering a question
  • Restate the question as a response
  • Present information for the ignorant questions
  • Encourage children to seek response though authority (Chang, 2008)
  • Encourage brainstorming sessions and alternative explanations

Figure 1: Steps of High order thinking

(Source: Gigante, 2013, pp-96)

However Lemco (2012) opined that the high order thinking skills can be enhanced when clarity is present within the communication skills so that there is less chance of any ambiguity and confusions. The implementation of higher order thinking can be effectively done within the students with the help of scaffolding. This process involves providing the students wth necessary support at the beginning of the task and then allows them to work independently. Some of the other learning strategies include rehearsal, elaboration, organization and meta cognition. Moreover sincere feedback providing immediate specific and corrective information should inform the learners of their progress (Marshall and Horton, 2011).

According to Muthivhi (2012) problem is a situation where the individual is willing to act positively but is not knowledgeable about the course of action and the consequences. Hence in order to build a high order thinking the individual learners must foster the process of problem solving. The problem solving process involves a series of decisions each of which depends on the outcomes of the preceding decisions (Pilten, 2010). In case of mathematical problems the learners should be guided by the educational institutions in solving the numerical using the following four steps namely:

 Seli, (2012) opined that the learners must be provided with initial guidance in order to define the numerical problems the solutions for which they need to find. On defining the problem the learners will be able to understand the complexity of the problems and will be able to evaluate the type of approach they should consider for solving of the problem (Yuvienco, 2012).

Problem solving skills

The complexity of the problem will help the learners to use their critical thinking ability to generate easier alternatives in solving the problems (Woodard and Woodard, 2011). The extensive use of research analytical skills and logical thinking capabilities are required for generating the alternative solutions.

Finally the learner will be able to judge the problem based on the alternative solutions. The learner will give preference on the solution which is easier to understand. The uses of brainstorming sessions will be helpful in this stage for the learners to ascertain the alternatives and evaluate them (Wang and Wang, 2010).

The learner in the final step of the process will implement the chosen alternative. The logical implementation of the solution will benefit the learner in understanding the whole process and effective in solving the problem (Lemco, 2012).

The process of high order thinking can be successfully implemented by the system of high order questioning.  Good learning can be implemented with the help of logical questions and not with answers because the questioning enables the teachers to check the understanding level of the learners. It also encourages the learners to engage and focus their thinking on various diverse concepts and ideas. Burnard and Swann (2010) opined that the teachers in an educational institute uses questioning and discussion to assess the effectiveness of their teaching and promote the learning of the pupils. A critical question stimulates thinking and often generates more questions in order to clarify the process of understanding. Alderson and Morrow (2011) moreover added that high order questioning push the learners to extend the limit of understanding and in the process of doing do the learners explore new branches of knowledge. The good question technique also improves the listening capabilities of the individuals. However Bell (2010) argued that the process of high order questioning may fail due to use of inappropriate questioning techniques and framing of excessive difficult or easy questions. Moreover the techniques can fail due to inconvenience on the part of the respondents. The learners may not be able to reciprocate the correct answer or may not make any further query in the peer fear. However the following factors contribute to the success of the high order questioning (Cockburn, 1999)

  • All learners should get a chance to answer
  • Learners should be aware of the actions of others
  • Learners should have time to discuss and follow up their answers (Smith, 2007)
  • Teachers should gain information about thinking and learning

Terezinha and Bryant (1996) opined that critical thinking is important for the development of the learning on the areas of mathematics, painting and other curriculum activities. The use of the critical thinking concepts will help the children in their early foundation years to seek patterns, make connections and recognize relationships between the numerical in order to solve numerical problems. Hopkins (2014) opined that the development of the numerical problem solving ability in the early stage will help the individual child to foster effective logical reasoning skills in the later stages of educational development. With the advancement in the field of educational techniques the students are now made to learn the basic counting skills with the help of real life objects. The use of the number lines everywhere in the educational institutes stimulates discussion about numbers and children learns about the easy numerical problems while playing with the number lines. Harcourt  et al. (2011) suggested that all children will be able to succeed in generating numerical problem solving ability if the educationalists provide them the opportunity to explore the mathematical ideas in ways that would make sense to them and opportunities to develop mathematical concepts and understanding.

High order questioning

In the year 2003 the term Children Mathematical Graphics was invented by Worthington and Carruthers to describe a range of mathematical marks of the children. The visual representations found in the educational institute premises including scribbles, drawings, writing, iconic marks and standard symbols forms a part of the Children mathematical Graphics. Bell (2010) suggested that this graphical representation suggests that the children use their own mathematical representations to help them think and communicate the numerical problems with each other. The graphics are important for the development of the numerical skills because with the use of their own graphics the children are able to represent their mental mathematics on paper. The key features of children mathematical graphics are as follows:

  • Children make their own choice to represent their mathematical thinking
  • Children making their own meanings of the numerical problems (Bell, 2010)
  • Children makes or generates standard graphics for the process of the numerical problem solving
  • They create their own layout for solving and understanding of the numerical problems

However Cockburn (1999) added that the importance of the children’s play time is relevant in the formation of the graphics. The graphics and the representations have been discovered during the time of play because the children are able to make the personal interpretations and communications at the time of play.

In case of a fact if all terms are clear, premises are true and the rules of logic are followed then the deductive reasoning skills can be achieved. Burton and Bartlett (2009) opined that the four major reasoning skills are Storage and retrieval skills, matching skills and execution skills. The storage and retrieval skills enable the individual to transfer information from long term memory to the present. The matching skills enable the learner to match the similarity or dissimilarity of the incoming information with the information retrieved from the memory. Finally the use of the executive skills helps the learners to evaluate the alternative options and implement the logical alternative (Alderson and Morrow, 2011).

The chapter highlights the basic concepts of the high order thinking and high order questioning that helps in developing the skills and knowledge level of the learners. With the help of the secondary information gathered from the journals and books the researcher will be able to evaluate the collected data.

Reference list

Alderson, P. and Morrow, V. (2011). The Ethics of Research with Children and Young People: a practical handbook. 2nd ed. London: Sage.

Barmby, P.,  Bolden, D. and Thompson, L. (2014) Understanding and Enriching Problem Solving in Primary Mathematics.  Northwich: Critical Publishing.

Bell, J. (2010) Doing Your Research Project: a guide for first-time researchers in education, health and social science. 5th ed. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Burton, D. and Bartlett, S. (2009) Key issues for Education Researchers. London: Sage.

Cockburn, A. D. (1999) Teaching Mathematics with Insight. London: Falmer Press

Harcourt, D., Perry, B. and Waller, T. (2011).Researching Young Children’s Perspectives: debating the ethics and dilemmas of educational research. London: Routledge.

Hopkins, D. (2014) A Teacher’s Guide to Classroom Research. 4th ed. Buckingham:  Open University Press

Smith, A. M.  (2007) Mathematics in Nursery Education. 2nd Ed Oxon: Rotledge.

Terezinha N. and Bryant. P. (1996) Children doing Mathematics. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

Attridge, N. and Inglis, M. (2013). Advanced Mathematical Study and the Development of Conditional Reasoning Skills. PLoS ONE, 8(7), p.e69399.

Baumann, M., Krems, J. and Ritter, F. (2010). Learning from examples does not prevent order effects in belief revision. Thinking & Reasoning, 16(2), pp.98-130.

Burnard, P. and Swann, M. (2010). Pupil perceptions of learning with artists: A new order of experience?. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 5(2), pp.70-82.

Chang, C. (2008). Does Problem Solving = Prior Knowledge + Reasoning Skills in Earth Science? An Exploratory Study. Res Sci Educ, 40(2), pp.103-116.

Gigante, J. (2013). Teaching Clinical Reasoning Skills to Help your Learners ?Get? the Diagnosis. Pediat Therapeut, 03(04).

Lemco, I. (2012). Deep thinking and high ideas [design history]. Engineering & Technology, 7(11), pp.76-78.

Marshall, J. and Horton, R. (2011). The Relationship of Teacher-Facilitated, Inquiry-Based Instruction to Student Higher-Order Thinking. School Science and Mathematics, 111(3), pp.93-101.

Muthivhi, A. (2012). Schooling and the Development of Verbal Thinking: Tshivenda-Speaking Children’s Reasoning and Classification Skills. South African Journal of Psychology, 42(1), pp.82-92.

Pilten, G. (2010). Evaluation of the skills of 5th grade primary school students’ high-order thinking levels in reading. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2(2), pp.1326-1331.

Schultz, R. (2012). Paradigm thinking: passionate hopefulness and more than 20 cents of effort. High Ability Studies, 23(1), pp.107-108.

Seli, G. (2012). The utility of conscious thinking on higher-order theory. Philosophical Explorations, 15(3), pp.303-316.

Sugden, S. (2012). The Number Crunch game: a simple vehicle for building algebraic reasoning skills. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 43(2), pp.244-258.

Wang, S. and Wang, H. (2010). Organizational schemata of e-portfolios for fostering higher-order thinking. Inf Syst Front, 14(2), pp.395-407.

Woodard, R. and Woodard, R. (2011). Higher Order Thinking Through the Synthesis of Theological Models. Teaching Theology & Religion, 14(1), pp.23-24.

Yuvienco, J. (2012). ESP pedagogy: Blending low and high order thinking. IJRSLL, 1(2).

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