At the ASHA convention in Philadelphia, I attended many wonderful seminars. One that provided a great critical thinking strategy was offered by Stacey Crowley from Learning Tree Literacy. Called the 5 WHYS, it is remarkably simple and based on the “Socratic” approach to teaching by probing the student with questions aimed at driving thinking deeper and deeper. Here it is in action:
Example session: working on using EET
Me: Why are we learning to use the EET?
Student: To help us to describe things better.
Me: Why do we need to learn to describe things?
Student: So people know what we are talking about.
Me: Why do people need to know what we are talking about?
Student: So they can understand us.
Me: Why do we want people to understand us?
Student: So that we can sound smarter!
Me: Why do we want to sound smarter?
Student: So we can get better grades!
See how easy it is? Just take the child’s response and turn it into a WHY question! You might not be able to go 5 WHYS deep, but even 3 WHYS will help develop critical thinking skills. Here’s another example:
Example session: working on turn-taking
Me: Why is it important to take turns talking?
Student: So that everybody has a chance to talk.
Me: Why does everyone need a chance to talk?
Student: Because it’s not fair for only one person to do all the talking!
Me: Why isn’t it fair for only one person to talk?
Student: Because everyone has something good to say, not just one person!
The strategy is so easy! It can be used with a wide range of ages and goals. Try it in your speech room …..I’d love to know how it goes!
P.S.: In case you missed it, here’s my post on a simple vocabulary strategy!