Post Mortem

Higher order thinking skills: a powerful strategy

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 3/14/2021 1:55:14 PM IST

 Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) is one of the core 21st century skills.  Educational Psychologists, considers it as the ability to think critical, logically with scientific temperament.  HOTS essentially means   thinking that takes place at higher levels of cognitive domain. 

Its presence was never felt so desperately as during the Covid-19 crisis. The corona pandemic has reinforced the aged old wisdom that best education is the education that prepare one to take on uncertainty or any challenges gracefully and navigate through it even headedly. Studying for exam alone should not be the be-all and -end all for learners. The fear of grading has taken a heavy toll on learner’s creativity. The pressure of performing in exam force students to cram figures and facts with little space of creativity. But these stuff today is a click away.Consequently, missing the other facets of educations as problem-solving and creativity. No wonder our primer universities are dwindling in international ranking. Quantity has become inversely proportional to quality. Thankfully, our policy makers have felt it and envisioned in the National Educational Policy -2020 (NEP-2020) to focus in this area of education by developing new curriculum that would hopefully be brought to light by 2022-23. 

There isn’t any shadow of doubt that there is no way but to develop higher order thinking Skills in our learners to realise their full potential. Psychologists agree that every child is endowed with this skills to some degree even in pre-schooling age. What is expected from teachers is to ensure that the inherent reflective and divergent thinking skills in children are nurtured and developed. 

But how? How we educators in school can develop this Higher Order Thinking Skills in ourselves and then help our learners to develop it in them. Well educators can develop this by planning our lesson well keeping the individual difference, interest, aptitude of students in our mind.  The Covid-19 crisis have develop learning gaps in our students and this will linger for some time.  So, while generating lesson plan we got take care of that too. Our lesson plan should be flexible to account for the learning gap and not ignore them.  We teacher must design activity to transect our lesson plan in hand. Enough think time and response time should be given to the class and not rush through to complete the syllabus. Collaborative activity-based learning  provides ample opportunity to develop a host of life skills including HOTS. Asking open ended questions and valuing every unusual questions form any students will go a long way to initiate HOTS. Integrating multiple subjects may also help students to inculcate reflective thinking and develop HOTS. A good tool to use by every teacher to develop HOTS is to use the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy. It is to be used while making the lesson plan, in designing the activity and drafting question paper. A glance at the Bloom’s taxonomy reveals that knowledge and its understanding needs to be taken higher up the pyramid to enable our students to be creative, decision maker and problem-solver, through the levels of application, to analysis and evaluation. The school administration should allow space to teachers and students to be skillful thinker by providing an ambience of freedom, democracy and extend scaffolding. 

Higher Order Thinking Skills is indeed a powerful strategy for educator to engage students, and help students to explore. It makes them independent knowledge seeker.  With regular guided practice the students would developtheir creative skills to solve problems by thinking out of box. Students with such skills are likely to cope with any situations in life as they attain high degree of rationality and are not likely to be taken- for-ride or fall prey to any crisis.They are also likely to responsible and employable work- force. Above all, they are going to be an asset for humanity.  Let us hope and pray that God Almighty grant us strength and wisdom to do justice to our noble profession by serving children- his finest gift to mankind.

Mir Faruque, Former Headmaster Neingulie Memorial High School, Dimapur

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