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Academic excellence is about more than grades and test scores; it is about producing graduates who can think for themselves. As students become critical thinkers, they are able to problem solve on their own, demonstrating skills required for success in the 21st century. At Eastern Christian School, we are training tomorrow’s innovators — students who think critically, learn independently, and are equipped to make an impact on the world around them. The following methods help us impart problem solving skills, creating critical thinkers who thrive in the classroom and beyond.

Focus on the Process
When teaching new concepts to students, it’s easy to focus tightly on helping them reach the right answers. After all, when students get the correct solution to a problem, we assume that learning has taken place. The logic has been prevalent in the education world for many years, and unfortunately, the learning process often gets neglected. Instead of focusing on the right answer, our teachers emphasize the steps necessary to get there. When educators value the process, their students do too.

Ask Hard Questions
Professors in the nation’s top colleges regularly probe their students with tough questions because they know this produces lifelong thinking skills. Likewise, our teachers approach students with challenging and developmentally appropriate questions to promote classroom discussion and independent thought. Whether questions are aimed to promote academic advancement or spiritual maturity, we see the benefits of asking them every single day.

Provide Hands-On Experience
Hands-on experience, also known as project-based learning, is extremely important for fostering problem solving skills. When students learn by doing, they are able to see how the concepts translate into something meaningful. This often motivates children to find their passions early on. As students discover projects or learning activities that interest them, they begin to set measurable goals for the future.

Assign Team Work
Group work or “buddy projects” may make for a nosier classroom, but the value of learning in collaboration with peers cannot be overstated. When students work as part of a team, they have opportunities to work through problems aloud, teach concepts to their peers, express new ideas, and be challenged by different thinking styles. This not only promotes critical thinking, it prepares students for the real world.

Allow Ample Time
Problem solving takes time. Teachers who have a true desire to instill these skills must have patience, as well as a commitment to providing ample time for each student to progress at his or her own pace. In a rushed environment, students will merely try to get the answer in the shortest time possible. On the other hand, in an environment where critical thinking is encouraged, they will engage the learning process and gain new insights every day.

Emphasize the Why
Explaining why subjects and concepts truly matter can transform a complacent student into a motivated critical thinker. This is especially important in Christian education. Students should understand how everything they learn has a greater purpose and fits into an integrated whole. At Eastern Christian, we nurture the spirit while engaging the mind, emphasizing how education aligns  — not conflicts — with God’s truth.

Learn More About Our Teaching Models
Our graduates go on to pursue 21st century careers at top colleges across the country. Armed with critical thinking skills, they are able to problem solve in a way that fosters success across many disciplines. We would love to share more about Eastern Christian School’s educational philosophy and teaching methods. Register for one of our Open House events today — it’s the best way to experience our learning environment firsthand.

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