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Emotional Regulation Skills Assumptions And Critical Thinking

Category: Critical thinking

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Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence

Many of us are aware of IQ (Intelligence Quotient). Designed to measure intellectual intelligence, it gives a score from a series of tests. Higher IQs indicate better cognitive abilities, or the ability to learn and understand. People with higher IQs are more likely to do well academically without exerting the same amount of mental effort as those with lower IQ scores.

A logical assumption, therefore, is that people with higher IQs will be more successful at work and through life. This assumption has been proven incorrect – there is more to success than simply being ‘clever’.

Emotional Intelligence (EI or sometimes EQ – Emotional Quotient) is a more modern concept and was only fully developed in the mid-1990s, by Daniel Goleman, among others.

Emotional Intelligence is the measure of an individual’s abilities to recognise and manage their emotions, and the emotions of other people, both individually and in groups.

Benefits of Higher Emotional Intelligence
  • People with higher emotional intelligence find it easier to form and maintain interpersonal relationships and to ‘fit in ’ to group situations.
  • People with higher emotional intelligence are also better at understanding their own psychological state, which can include managing stress effectively and being less likely to suffer from depression .
There is no correlation between IQ and EI scores.

In other words, academic aptitude (IQ) has no connection with how people understand and deal with their emotions and the emotions of others (EI). This makes perfect sense: we’ve all met very clever people who nonetheless had no idea about how to deal with people, and the reverse.

Some people have high IQs and low emotional intelligence and vice versa, while some people score highly on both and some do not.

IQ and emotional intelligence attempt to measure different forms of human intelligence; along with personality, these measures make up an individual’s psyche.

Emotional intelligence is the one part of the human psyche that we can develop and improve by learning and practising new skills. You can learn more about these skills from the many pages here at SkillsYouNeed. IQ and personality are more static measures and likely to stay reasonably constant throughout life (although you can develop your ability to complete IQ tests very successfully).

For more about personality types, you may be interested in our pages on Myers-Briggs Type Indicators (MBTI) and MBTI in Practice .

You can find many different tests to help you measure your IQ, EI and personality online and in books. Emotional intelligence tests require that the person taking the test answers questions honestly and it is therefore a lot easier to ‘cheat’ at an EI test than it is an IQ test.

Ultimately emotional intelligence can only be measured by how an individual progresses through life - developing meaningful relationships with others, their interpersonal skills and understanding, their ability to manage their own emotions, and their personal skills.

Why not try our Interpersonal Skills Self-Assessment which includes a section on emotional intelligence.

Elements of Emotional Intelligence

Daniel Goleman divided Emotional Intelligence into ‘Personal’ and ‘Social’ competences, which broadly split between personal and interpersonal skills on SkillsYouNeed. Within each of these sections are a range of skills which are the elements of emotional intelligence.

Personal Skills or Competences

Social Skills or Competences

How we manage ourselves

How we handle relationships with others

  • Self-awareness
    • Emotional awareness
    • Accurate self-assessment
    • Self-confidence
  • Self-regulation
    • Self-control
    • Trustworthiness
    • Conscientiousness
    • Adaptability
    • Innovation
  • Motivation
    • Achievement drive
    • Commitment
    • Initiative
    • Optimism
  • Empathy
    • Understanding others
    • Developing others
    • Service orientation
    • Leveraging diversity
    • Political awareness
  • Social Skills
    • Influence
    • Communication
    • Conflict management
    • Leadership
    • Change catalyst
    • Building bonds
    • Collaboration and cooperation
    • Team capabilities

Based on ‘Working with Emotional Intelligence’ Daniel Goleman.

Personal Skills or Competences

There are three areas of personal skills or competences in emotional intelligence.

1. Self-awareness
  • Emotional awareness
  • Accurate self-assessment
  • Self-confidence

Self-awareness is the skill of being aware of and understanding your emotions as they occur and as they evolve. It is wrong to think of emotions as either positive or negative. Instead, you should think of them as appropriate or inappropriate.

For example, anger is usually associated with being a negative emotion. However, it can be a completely reasonable and appropriate emotion in certain circumstances – emotional intelligence allows us to recognise our anger and understand why this emotion has occurred.

Effective self-assessment of feelings and emotions will help to improve your confidence and self-esteem.

2. Self-regulation or Self-management
  • Self-control
  • Trustworthiness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Adaptability
  • Innovation

Having learned to be aware of your emotions, the skill of self-regulation relates to managing them appropriately and proportionately.

Self-management skills relate to the emotions you are feeling at any given time or in any given circumstance and how well you manage them. Self-control is a fundamental part of this, but other aspects relate to what you then do: whether you behave in a way which is recognised as ‘good’ or ‘virtuous’ or not.

See our page on Self-Regulation for more.

Motivation

The final personal skills aspect of emotional intelligence is Motivation.

Self-motivation includes our personal drive to improve and achieve, commitment to our goals, initiative, or readiness to act on opportunities, and optimism and resilience.

Self-motivation and personal time management are key skills in this area. Do not make unreasonable demands on yourself, learn to be assertive rather than just saying, ‘Yes’ to the demands of others.

See our pages on Self-Motivation and Time Management for guidance and best practice.

Social or Interpersonal Skills or Competences

Interpersonal skills are the skills we use to interact with other people. They enable us to communicate appropriately and build stronger, more meaningful relationships. Emotional intelligence includes how we understand others and their emotions, and our actions and behaviours towards them.

There are two key aspects.

1. Empathy

Empathy is an awareness of the needs and feelings of others both individually and in groups, and being able to see things from the point of view of others.

Empathy helps us to develop a stronger understanding of other people’s situations.

It includes understanding others, developing others, having a service orientation, leveraging diversity, and political awareness.

Empathy can often be difficult to achieve. Learn to listen effectively to both the verbal and non-verbal messages of others, including body movements, gestures and physical signs of emotion. Use questions to find out more about other people and what they are feeling, and feedback to clarify that you have correctly understood their feelings. Acknowledge and respect the feelings of others even if you disagree, and avoid making comments or statements that are judgemental, belittling, rejecting or undermining.

2. Social Skills

Social skills encompasses a wide range of relationship and interpersonal skills. These range from leadership through to influencing and persuading, and managing conflict, as well as working in a team.

The term ‘social skills ’ covers a wide variety of skills and competencies, many of which are rooted in self-esteem and personal confidence. By developing your social skills, being easy to talk to, being a good listener, being sharing and trustworthy, you also become more charismatic and attractive to others.

This in turn improves self-esteem and confidence which makes it easier for positive personal dialogue and a greater understanding and acceptance of your own emotions.

Further Reading from Skills You Need

Learn more about emotional intelligence and how to effectively manage personal relationships at home, at work and socially.

Our eBooks are ideal for anyone who wants to learn about or develop their interpersonal skills and are full of easy-to-follow, practical information.

In Summary

Working on your emotional intelligence could well be the most important aspect of your personal development.

Research has shown that people with higher levels of emotional intelligence enjoy more satisfying and successful careers and relationships. If you think about ways to enhance your EI, you are likely to become more interesting and attractive to others, and you will also give your self-esteem a boost.

SkillsYouNeed has many pages about the ‘soft skills ’ that are often overlooked or taken for granted – explore our site to learn more about the skills you need to unlock your hidden potential.

Other articles

What Is Critical Thinking?

Introduction to Critical Thinking

By Grace Fleming. Homework & Study Tips Expert

Grace has worked with students for many years as an academic advisor and college enrollment counselor. She currently works as a Senior Advisor at a university in Georgia, where she teaches courses to help students improve academic performance, enhance research skills, and expand information literacy.

Children’s fables often contain a moral or theme that teaches us something about life. From reading The Three Little Pigs. for example, we take away a lesson about building upon a strong foundation.

The old tale about a hysterical hen that believes the sky is falling can be used to teach us a little about critical thinking. In The Story of Chicken Little we learn a few things about jumping to conclusions and accepting ideas that are not worthy of belief.

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The concept of critical thinking has been defined in many complex ways, but for young students new to the concept, it can best be summed up as thinking and judging for yourself .

When you develop critical thinking skills, you will learn to evaluate information that you hear and process information that you collect honestly and without baggage (baggage such as the assumptions that we carry around). You will analyze the evidence that is presented to you in order to make sure it is sound.

Just to recap the saga of Chicken Little, the tale begins with a hen who, while wandering through a yard, is hit on the head by a falling acorn.

The hen jumps to the conclusion that the sky is falling, and is convinced that disaster is pending. On her way to tell the king, she runs through the farmyard warning friends like Goosey Loosey, Turkey Lurkey, and Ducky Lucky. One by one, the other farm animals follow along behind Chicken Little. Each animal believes Chicken: some believe the story because the frantic fowl makes such a great emotional appeal, and some believe simply because so many others do—in other words, they just join the bandwagon.

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In the end, the animals meet their doom because the sly fox sees the folly and lures them into his den.

Recognize Common Fallacies

Gullible people - or those who don't think through situations very deliberately - can be misled by common fallacies (or tricks of logic). Once you really think about this, you will realize that fallacies are all around us! A critical thinker is not easily convinced; instead, a critical thinker sees right through "false logic."

There are many types of fallacies. and the more you think about them, the more readily you will recognize them all around you - especially in advertisements, arguments, and political discussions.

  • Bandwagon appeals: the argument that you should follow along with something because everyone else believes it.
  • Scare tactics: using scary stories to make someone believe what you believe.
  • Appeal to emotion: using a fiery speech or a tragic story to convince someone to side with you.
  • False dichotomy: claiming that there are only two possibilities in an argument. In Chicken Little, a false dichotomy would be that the barnyard animals must either believe that the sky is falling or believe that Chicken Little is lying. The smart fox knew that there were other possibilities!
Characteristics of Critical Thinking To become a critical thinker, you must develop a few skills.
  • Recognize assumptions you carry with you. Have you ever wondered why you believe the things that you believe? Do you believe things because you’ve been told to believe them? Step outside your own beliefs to observe from a neutral viewpoint. Be aware of assumptions and learn to self-reflect.
  • Process information honestly. People sometimes pass along information that is not really true. For an example of this, all you have to do is take a look at Facebook! We’re all guilty of reading posts that make funny or outrageous claims and passing them along without checking for accuracy.
  • Recognize a generalization. Girls don’t like bugs. Old people are wise. Cats make better pets. These are generalizations. They’re not always true, are they?
  • Evaluate old information and new ideas. There was a time when doctors thought leeches could cure us. Thank goodness, some doctor somewhere decided to challenge this belief!
  • Produce new ideas based on sound evidence. Detectives solve crimes by collecting bits of truths and putting them all together like a puzzle. One small deceit can jeopardize an investigation. The entire truth-seeking process is destabilized by one piece of bad evidence, and this leads to a wrong conclusion.
  • Analyze a problem and recognize the complex parts. A mechanic must understand how an entire engine works before s/he can diagnose a problem. Sometimes it is necessary to deconstruct an engine to figure out which part isn’t working. You should approach big problems like this: break them down into smaller parts and observe carefully and deliberately.
  • Use precise vocabulary and communicate with clarity. The truth can be blurred by fuzzy language. It is important to develop your vocabulary so you can communicate truths accurately.
  • Manage emotions in response to a situation or problem. Don’t be fooled by stirred up, emotional speech like a Loosey Goosey. Stay rational and keep your emotions in check as you encounter new information.
  • Judge your sources. Learn to recognize hidden agendas and bias when you collect information.

As students progress from high school into college and graduate school they must develop critical thinking skills in order to carry out research. Students will learn to identify good sources and bad sources. and make logical conclusions and develop new theories.

Do Emotions Affect Critical Thinking?

Do Emotions Affect Critical Thinking?

By Guest Blogger Sayaka Matsumoto

*Sayaka is a regular contributor to David Matsumoto’s blog. A 2008 Olympian in the sport of judo, Sayaka shares her thoughts regarding emotion regulation in sports.

Emotions are a part of everyday life; it doesn’t matter who you are or your profession. It’s how you control and regulate these emotions that determine your success in any given situation.

I know first-hand that being an Olympic Athlete is an extremely emotional experience. I’ve faced a lot of ups and downs during my competitive career and truly understand “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”.

Some emotions and feelings are impossible to describe in words: how can you explain to someone the feeling of losing a crucial match in the last 10 seconds or walking into the Bird’s Nest for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics in front of 90,000 people all cheering for you ?

As a result of my experiences, I have come to a profound conclusion: the most striking characteristic of being an elite athlete for me is that it is as much an emotional experience as it is a physical one. It is by controlling their emotions that athletes are capable of maintaining high levels of critical thinking and focus, regardless of what sport they are in.

Research has suggested that when we are very emotional, our critical thinking abilities decrease dramatically. The ability to think critically is crucial to athletes in particular, who must stay incredibly focused during competition.

If athletes do not control their emotions, there are serious consequences. The more emotional they get, their ability to think critically decreases and they lose focus.

An example of this loss of focus and control occurred at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy when snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis made the crucial mistake of celebrating her win before the race was over. Jacobellis held a significant lead over Tanja Frieden of Switzerland for the whole run, until she performed a celebratory trick on the second to the last jump and fell. While Jacobellis struggled to get up, Frieden passed her, winning the gold medal, becoming Olympic Champion.

In a press conference after the event, Jacobellis admits she lost focus. She has been quoted in the Washington Post saying “I was having fun. Snowboarding is fun. I was ahead. I wanted to share my enthusiasm with the crowd. I messed up. Oh well, it happens.”

Although being a silver medalist at the Olympics is an incredible feat, her momentary lapse of emotional control will surely haunt her forever.

Jacobellis’s experience illustrates the fundamental necessity for athletes to control and regulate their emotions during competition.

How you control those emotions on the playing field is crucial to staying focused and to achieve the desired outcome of competitive success.

4 responses to “Do Emotions Affect Critical Thinking?”

[…] This post was Twitted by davidmatsumoto […]

Russ Conte says:

Thanks for a very interesting blog post. I’m a snowboarder by hobby. I’d do it for a living if I could, it’s incredibly fun. However, Lindsey’s fall may not totally represent the whole point of keeping emotions in check. There are an enormous number of times when athletes celebrate before crossing the finish line – including snowboarding – and win. Every so often that move fails, as it did for Lindsey in that video (which I can’t see in the United States, but I know the situation very well). In my view, that does not fail in the vast majority of times I’ve seen it. It’s very noticeable when it fails, but usually forgotten when it does not fail. One example us Usain Bolt’s run in the 100 meter olympics, where he celebrates 15 meters before the finish line slowing down and raising his arms and pounding his chest – all BEFORE he crosses the finish line. Hopefully you can see this (they show it in slow motion starting around 4:00 into the video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qslbf8L9nl0

So my reading of the evidence seems to show that some times athletes celebrate before the finish line and win gold medals as Usain Bolt did, and sometimes they fall, like Lindsey did.

I’m very interested in learning more about this comment: “It is by controlling their emotions that athletes are capable of maintaining high levels of critical thinking and focus, regardless of what sport they are in.” I’m thrilled that Sayaka shared her thoughts here, and I hope she does again. How did you learn to control your emotions? Can you describe what that is like in more detail, and more importantly to me – how can the rest of us start to practice this discipline? How do you know when you’re doing this well, versus not well? I could ask a ton more questions 🙂 I hope there are more blog posts from her to describe her knowledge of emotions from her perspective – very well done! 🙂

Thanks for your comments Russ, I really appreciate them.

I agree with you in that I have seen people celebrate a win before the match or race is over, and they still won. I did witness Usain Bolt’s celebration in Beijing and think that he just knew he was so far in front of everyone that he celebrated before the finish line.

However, I still believe that it is necessary to stay focused up until the very last second of the match or race. Especially in a sport like judo, where you can lose up until the very last second, you hardly ever see athletes celebrating a win with 20 or 30 seconds to go. Its often difficult to stay focused when you know your goal is so close, but I do think its critical.

Thank you for your additional comments. I hope to answer some of your questions in an upcoming blog post.

I’m glad to read your post as well Sayaka, thank you for sharing from your experience! Russ asked some great questions and I look forward to reading more from your perspective in the future. 🙂

Critical Thinking versus Emotional Intelligence: Which Wins? Quality Transitions

Transition Times Critical Thinking versus Emotional Intelligence: Which Wins?

by Diane C. Decker

In this corner of the ring stands critical thinking (CT), with its worthy opponent emotional intelligence (EI) in the opposite corner. Must we choose between these two important approaches as we work with others to make decisions and solve problems? Some say we need to put critical thinking on the back burner and focus on using emotional intelligence. I say, why not use both? These skills are not exclusive of each other. In fact, when using both skills we can be more impactful.

A problem with the phrase critical thinking is the first word. We tend to think of being critical as judging someone or something harshly. Rather than to judge others, the intent of CT is to help us arrive at better decisions as we examine information from multiple perspectives. One aspect of CT is to recognize assumptions and biases by distinguishing facts from opinions and seeking alternative viewpoints. Another component of CT is to check strong emotions and weight data carefully.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, reason with, understand, and manage emotions. Doing so enables us to develop and maintain productive relationships with others. Understanding emotions is a facet of EI, and involves getting a better understanding of the source of our own and others’ reactions to situations, such as anger or frustration. Another component of EI is managing emotions, which includes regulating emotions and responding appropriately to others.

Let’s marry the two and see how they work together. When we recognize biases (CT) and understand emotions (EI) we are better able to constructively explore differences of opinions with others to come up with lasting solutions to work problems. When we regulate our emotions (EI) and weigh data carefully (CT) we are equipped to productively resolve conflicts.
As you consider skills to develop in yourself or others, stand in the middle of the ring and use the winning combination of critical thinking and emotional intelligence.

When have you used these skills together successfully?

Diane, Principal with Quality Transitions, has been facilitating groups for more than 20 years. She earned an MBA from Xavier University and a BS in Industrial Management from Purdue University.
You can find her on LinkedIn

Critical Thinking, Assumption - Emotions

Critical Thinking, Assumption & Emotions

Please summarize the following:

Assumptions: Critical Thinking and the Unknown
0 Recognize assumptions in various situations.
0 Compare and contrast necessary and unwarranted assumptions.
0 Develop methods of checking assumptions and creating alternatives.

Logic versus Emotion
0 Explain the impact of feelings on the critical thinking process.

Solution Preview

a. Recognize assumptions in various situations.

Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally (http://philosophy.hku.hk/think/critical/). Critical thinking is "the disciplined mental activity of evaluating arguments or propositions and making judgments that can guide the development of beliefs and taking action?(http://chiron.valdosta.edu/whuitt/col/cogsys/critthnk.html).

Critical thinking may seem at odds with assumptions, but people draw conclusions based on assumptions (consciously or unconsciously), WHICH NEED TO BE CRITICALLY EVALUATED, An inference is a conclusion you come to in your mind based on something else that is true or you believe to be true. Assumptions are part of your belief system, and often, something that you do not challenge or question. Your mind takes for granted that your assumption is true (http://www.achieving-life-abundance.com/assumptions-and-critical-thinking.html).

Let's look at some general inferences and assumptions, where a conclusion or inference is made, based on a belief and assumption about what is believed to be true based on prior experiences. It is important to consider these assumptions behind the inference or statement to accurately interpret the meaning of the conclusion (inference) statement. The critical thinking process helps to identify these assumptions, which can bias decision making when left unchallenged. For example:

1. Inference: We should reduce the penalty for drunken driving, as a milder penalty would mean more convictions.
Assumption: We should increase the number of convictions for drunken driving.

2. Inference: Moby Dick is a whale. So Moby Dick is a mammal.
Assumption: "Anything that is a whale is a mammal? or "If Moby Dick is a whale it is a mammal.?

3. Inference: Giving students a fail grade will damage their self-confidence. Therefore, we should not fail students.
Assumption: We should not damage students' self-confidence.

4. Inference: It should not be illegal for adults to smoke pot. After all, it does not harm anyone.
Assumption: Anything that does not cause harm should not be made illegal.

5. Inference: There is nothing wrong talking on a mobile phone during lectures. Other students do it all the time.
Assumption: If an action is done by other students (or people) all the time, then there is nothing wrong with it.

6. Inference: Killing an innocent person is wrong. Therefore, abortion is wrong.

Solution Summary

This solution summarizes the assumptions involved in critical thinking, including: recognizing assumptions in various situations, comparing and contrasting necessary and unwarranted assumptions, and; developing methods of checking assumptions and creating alternatives. Referring to logic and emotion, it also explains the impact of feelings on the critical thinking process. Supplemented with an article on critical thinking and why is it important.

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. decision making model using other critical thinking tools, such as checking assumptions
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. What are the Major Components in Critical Thinking. Perception • Assumptions • Emotion •
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critical thinking is employed . Now, emotions are instinctive, we feel before we .

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. For example, the major components in critical thinking are: · Perception · Assumptions ·
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. willing to examine beliefs, assumptions. and opinions . for evidence to support assumption
and beliefs . Ethics combined with critical thinking. I believe assures .

. Lastly, I am making my own assumption that you made the following assumptions. 1.
You assumed . Example of a GEN 480 Critical Thinking memo including analysis .

Developing Emotional Regulation Skills Through Yoga

Beyond BookSmart Blog: Executive Functioning Strategies

Dec 12, 2014 10:25:21 AM

Editor's note: This week our guest blogger is Hannah Gould M.Ed, RYT. who coordinates the therapeutic yoga program at NESCA . (Please read her full bio below.)

Mind-body practices like yoga are ideal for developing emotional regulation skills because to make sense of emotions, both the mind and the body must be involved. Emotions are interpreted and labeled by the mind, but they are experienced through the body. A racing heart, butterflies in the stomach, a tightly clenched jaw and even an attack of the giggles are all physical phenomena that we learn to associate with various emotional states.

Developing emotional regulation skills is a primary goal for most of my young yoga students. Regulating emotions is a critical component of executive functioning. Executive functioning covers the full range of skills required for efficient completion of tasks, including both self-regulation skills (managing attention, emotion and arousal) and meta-cognitive skills (planning, organizing, sequencing and flexibility of thinking). Emotional regulation refers to the ability to understand and respond appropriately to one’s own emotional experience. Along with the other self-regulation skills, emotional regulation provides the foundation on which the meta-cognitive skills can be built.

Weathering the Emotional Storm

I think of emotions as being like the weather. They shift and change constantly and sometimes unpredictably. Our emotional state creates a backdrop for all of our experiences and activities, powerfully affecting how we perceive situations and how skillfully we are able to respond to demands. We each have our own emotional climate. Personally mine feels a lot like Southern California; generally pleasant and mild with occasional floods or periods of drought. Many of my students, however, seem to have an emotional climate more like my home state of Massachusetts where it might be warm and sunny one day and freezing with snow flurries the next.

Classroom teachers have expressed to me that they are perplexed and sometimes frustrated by the variability of some students’ academic performance and behavior from one day or moment to the next. I imagine this kind of variability must be frustrating for the student as well! But from the perspective of a yoga teacher, I do not find this perplexing at all. It may simply indicate a shift in the student’s “emotional weather.”

Within our personal emotional climate, the weather can be affected by many external and internal factors. Sensory experiences, hunger, fatigue, excitement and anxiety are just a few of the elements at play. In order to do the important business of learning and socializing, children are constantly asked to draw their attention away from their inner experience. When teachers and parents say “pay attention”, they are asking children to focus on listening to directions, complete an assigned task, or “read the room” for social cues. For many students their internal state is ignored and their “emotional weather” can quietly build in the background until it is unleashed with the force of a hurricane.

Becoming mindful of the variability of our own emotional patterns is an essential part of the practice of yoga. I know that my downward dog or warrior pose is different from one day to the next because I am different. My mood, my energy level, competing demands for my attention and the degree to which I am holding tension in my body are constantly fluctuating.

Beginning yoga students tend to meet these natural fluctuations with mental resistance or physical force. Over time and with practice, the assumptions and judgments that tend to arise quiet down and more mental space is made available for present moment awareness. The body and mind establish an open line of communication and are able to support each other, along with the breath, as an optimally functioning team.

A New Way to Pay Attention

Through yoga and other mindfulness practices, children can learn to “pay attention” in a very different way. Yoga offers tools for building self-regulation skills (such as awareness and control) that are fun, healthy and compelling for children. The balance pose called tree pose is one of my favorite of these tools to work with. To do tree pose, one foot is planted firmly on the ground like a tree trunk. The other foot is lifted off the floor, knee turned out, foot resting on the calf or thigh of the standing leg. The arms may be in a variety of positions that can make the balance easier or more challenging.

Balance poses are captivating for children and adults alike in part because they are so dynamic. When we hold tree pose, we can rarely achieve stillness for more than a brief moment before we begin to sway and need to correct our balance. When new yoga students attempt tree pose, they wobble back and forth like a sapling in a windstorm. As they become more practiced at the pose (and the underlying process of self-monitoring), the wobble subsides and they begin to resemble a deeply rooted tree in a gentle breeze.

The skills practiced in tree pose directly apply to regulating emotions. To hold tree pose, students need to filter out external distractions, tune in to internal sensations, and continually adjust their muscle actions. In any situation children can learn to engage in a similar process; noticing sensations in their bodies, recognizing the physical cues that may signal frustration, overwhelm or exhaustion, and applying appropriate techniques to maintain emotional balance.

Maintaining balance, whether physical or emotional, is both challenging and deeply satisfying. Nothing makes a child feel prouder than getting through a difficult task without the familiar emotional upheavals he may have experienced in the past. At first, this may be a wobbly process indeed. When a child melts down, lashes out or withdraws she is desperately seeking balance like the sapling in the windstorm.

Just like teaching tree pose, supporting children who are learning to regulate their emotions requires patience, encouragement, and sometimes a little hands-on assistance. It is always okay to fall down. Simply get up, take a deep breath and begin again.

For more tips to help students develop emotional regulation skills, click below.

Hannah Gould, M.Ed, RYT is an experienced classroom special educator and yoga teacher. Hannah coordinates the therapeutic yoga program at NESCA . a private pediatric neuropsychology group practice in Newton MA. Hannah has developed a unique visual yoga curriculum and teaching methodology called Yoga Connects based on her years of experience bringing yoga to people with special needs in a variety of settings. Yoga Connects parent-child sessions are offered at NESCA, and professional trainings are available for schools and other organizations. Hannah believes yoga is a natural fit for people with autism and other special needs, and has affirmed this belief by witnessing the incredible focus, boundless joy and inspiring growth of her students.

Posted by Hannah Gould on 10:25 AM

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IMPROVEMENT OF CRITICAL THINKING

IMPROVEMENT OF CRITICAL THINKING

Critical thinking is a form of judgment, specifically purposeful and reflective judgment. Using critical thinking one makes a decision or solves the problem of judging what to believe or what to do, but does so in a reflective way. That is by giving due consideration to the evidence, the context of judgment, the relevant criteria for making that judgment well, the applicable methods or techniques for forming that judgment, and the applicable theoretical and constructs for understanding the nature of the problem and the question at hand. These elements also happen to be the key defining characteristics of professional fields and academic disciplines. This is why critical thinking can occur within a given subject field and across subject fields in all those spaces where human beings need to interact and make decisions, solve problems, and figure out what to believe and what to do. A useful, brief, and highly readable explanation of the concept of critical thinking, its skills and dispositional dimensions, its relationship to cognitive science, and its practical value in life and learning can be found in the free on-line resource: “Critical Thinking: What It is and Why It Counts”. Critical thinking consists of mental processes of discernment, analysis and evaluation. It includes all possible processes of reflecting upon a tangible or intangible item in order to form a solid judgment that reconciles scientific evidence with common sense. Critical thinking is useful only in those situations where human beings need to solve problems, make decisions, or decide in a reasonable and reflective way what to believe or what to do. That is, just about everywhere and all the time. Critical thinking is important wherever the quality of human thinking significantly impacts the quality of life. For example, success in human life is tied to success in learning. At the same time, every phase in the learning process is tied to critical thinking.

Thus, reading, writing, speaking, and listening can all be done critically or uncritically. Critical thinking is crucial to becoming a close reader and a substantive writer. Expressed most generally, critical thinking is “a way of taking up the problems of life.”

Irrespective of the sphere of thought, “a well cultivated critical thinker”:

· raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely;

· gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively

· comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;

· thinks open-mindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences;

· communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems.

Critical thinkers may have both necessary affective dispositions, such as honesty, open-mindedness, and flexibility, and a set of cognitive skills, comprised of “interpretation, analysis, evaluation, inference, explanation, and self-regulation”. While a questionnaire project has the potential in increase all of these cognitive strength, in our case interpretation and self- regulation were the skills most utilized by the students, and so they are discussed in more detail below.

Interpretation skills defines interpretation as comprehending and expressing the meaning the meaning of a variety of input, such as experience, data, beliefs, and rules. Two sub-skills he proposes for successful interpretation are categorizing information, which is especially relevant in the context of survey interpretation, since grouping similar ideas together is essential for formatting a questionnaire that will generate useful data, and clarifying meaning, which also has a role to play in that it is vital for researchers to be able to analyze their questions for biased or leading language.

Self-regulation skill. Self-regulation takes on a more global significance in the critical thinking process. In our context, it is also an indispensable part of the learning process for students as they review and revise their questionnaires and results. Students need to be able to use critical thinking to solve problems. Managing projects based on real-world experience also requires teachers to guide students and act as recourse to help them consider innovative ways of thinking about problems and attempting to solve them. The aim is to first come up with many ideas about limitations, and then to look at the feasibility of the ideas. Encouragement and feedback from the teacher sends a positive message about freely contributing ideas during brainstorming, as initially there are no “correct” ideas. Especially in learning environments where Critical Learning Thinking is not the norm, this might require active facilitation by the teacher to get the process started. Another way the teacher can facilitate brainstorming is by collaborating with students as they decide the composition of their groups. Students who demonstrate as a “critical spirit” are likely to connect well with brainstorming; they are the ones who ask questions such as “Why?” and “How?” and “What happens if?” These types of natural critical thinkers should be distributed among the groups because they have the potential to promote creative thinking among their classmates in a way that the teachers cannot. Critical thinking is useful only in those situations where human beings need to solve problems, make decisions, or decide in a reasonable and reflective way what to believe or what to do. That is, just about everywhere and all the time. Critical thinking is important wherever the quality of human thinking significantly impacts the quality of life. Thus, reading, writing, speaking, and listening can all be done critically or uncritically. Critical thinking is crucial to becoming a close reader and a substantive writer. Expressed most generally, critical thinking is about being both willing and able to think. Ideally one develops critical thinking skills and at the time the disposition to use those skills to solve problems and form good judgments. Critical thinking may be distinguished, but not separated, from emotions, desires, and traits of mind. Failure to recognize the relationship between thinking, feeling, wanting, and traits of mind can easily lead to various forms of self-deception, both individually and collectively. When persons possess intellectual skills alone, without the intellectual traits of mind, weak sense critical thinking results. Fair-minded or strong sense critical thinking requires intellectual humility, empathy, integrity, perseverance, courage, autonomy, confidence in reason, and other intellectual traits.

The following are some attempts to define critical thinking:

· The ability to analyze facts, generate and organize ideas, defend opinions, make comparisons, draw inferences, evaluate arguments and solve problems

· a way of reasoning t

· hat demands adequate support for one’s beliefs and an unwillingness to be persuaded unless support is forthcoming

· involving analytical thinking for the purpose of evaluating what is read

· a conscious and deliberate process which is used to interpret or evaluate information and experiences with a set of reflective attitudes and abilities that guide thoughtful beliefs and actions.

· Active, systemic process of understanding and evaluating arguments. An argument provides an assertion about the properties of some object or the relationship between two or more objects and evidence to support or refute the assertion.

1. Kittle, Ray. CLEAR THINKING FOR COMPOSITION. 5th ed. New York: Random House, l986.

2.Laser, Donald. COMPOSITION FOR CRITICAL THINKING: A COURSE DESCRIPTION. Rohnert Park, CA: Center for Critical Thinking and Moral Critique, Sonoma State University, l986.

3. Lunsford, Andrea. " The Content of Basic Writers' Essays." COLLEGE COMPOSITION AND COMMUNICATION 3l l980.