Why is higher level thinking so important?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Higher ordered thinking is extremely important for a couple of reasons.  I think that one reason why higher ordered thinking is important is because it helps to keep the focus of classroom teaching and learning on instruction.  Students who are engaged in learning might find it less likely to pursue disruptive ends if they are driven by higher ordered thinking tasks.  Higher level thinking also enables students to reflect and ruminate on classroom instruction inside and outside the classroom setting.  Being presented with problem solving tasks or initiatives that employ a variety of thinking strategies and ideas will enable students to reflect on their learning outside of the classroom setting, allowing a greater sense of absorption of material and comprehension of content to happen in a more dynamic setting.  At the same time, higher level thought engages all learners.  When higher level thinking is presented in a setting for all students, there is a progression and growth that is marked and more evident for all students.  Even for a student who is at a lower leve, if they are engaged in higher level thinking in a developmentally appropriate and scaffolded manner, they will progress farther in their understanding of content than if they were kept at a lower level.  It is this notion of challenge that makes instruction more worthwhile when it is geared towards higher ordered or high leveled thinking.

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