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How to Improve Your Child's Thinking Skills

February 03, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 129

Metacognition is a wonderful word! It simply means 'thinking about thinking'.

In adult language we use metacognitive words and phrases all the time, like "What do you think...?" or "Imagine...", "I suppose...", "What if...?"

The more awareness we have about any subject, the more likely we are to understand it better. This applies to thinking and words.

Initially, when children learn to communicate, they are basically operating at a cause and effect level - they do or say something and as a result something else happens. As children learn to talk they will practise by self-talking their play out loud.

But as they grow older, words become more and more involved in the thinking process. Eventually they are able to use words mentally to work their way through complex thinking processes. Some research supports the idea that thinking helps to develop language skills.

By the time children finish primary school they need to be able to think about the meaning of words and language, and to have some awareness of the thinking process. If you teach your child from an early age to think about thinking, you can enhance this process.

As a Speech Pathologist, I find that I am able to improve children's language skills by raising their awareness about metacognition.

My top tips for helping children develop good Metacognition skills include:

Talking about the etymology of words - where words come from. This helps to explain weird spelling, when children understand that words come from different languages. So many different languages have influenced English at various times in history. Talking about new words in our language, such as words for food from other countries (eg sushi), or words concocted for new technology (eg megabytes). Looking for homophones - words that sound the same but have different meanings (eg eight and ate). It is fun to find them and important for children to know which one is which and how to spell them. Many, many homophones are every day words. Making sure children understand non-literal language, when people say something that is not exactly what they mean. This includes idioms (eg "You drive me up the wall!") You can have fun looking out for these in every-day language and imagining what would happen if the phrase was literal. Make sure they understand sarcasm, too. Introducing your child to poetry full of metaphors. Show how wonderfully words can say more than just words by conjuring up pictures in your mind. Encourage them to write their own poems. Ensuring that your child understands tone of voice. Talk about what a difference tone of voice can make. Try saying the same phrase in different tones of voice, to match different emotions.

English is a language rich in words used to describe thinking. It is a language that is colourful and dynamic, and growing daily. A love for the intricacies of words and language is one of the most precious gifts we can give our children.

And by encouraging their metalinguistic development, we help to improve their talking, writing and thinking skills in the process.

Discover more about how to deal with this issue at

Source: EzineArticles
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