Changing How Children Think – Cognitive Techniques

If you think you can or can’t, you’re always right. Henry Ford I.

Phillip jumps off the high diving board without even thinking twice; he doesn’t know how to swim and could drown. Cathy gets five A’s on her report card, but still doesn’t think her marks are good enough. Robert has to repeat a grade in school; now he thinks he’ll never make it to university. And then there’s Brant, an average student, who wants to become a doctor. And Nicky repeating to herself, “I know I can do it,” before playing in her piano recital. All these children are in some way influenced by what they think (or don’t think, in Phillip’s case). What children think determines what they do. Cognitive techniques aim at changing how or what children think as a first step in changing what they do.

A number of techniques are termed cognitive. Each one zeroes in on a particular aspect of children’s faulty thinking styles and offers specific steps for remediation. I have included five which I think have potential for the classroom.