The Thinking Ladder

The Thinking Ladder

In the Bloom’s Taxonomy, Knowledge, Comprehension and Application can be considered as Basic Thinking skills and Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation can be considered as higher order thinking skills.

Here is how I think the thinking skills ladder looks like:

Steps in the Thinking Ladder

1. Basic Information Processing: Observing, Classifying, Sequencing, Comparing, Contrasting

2. Complex Information Processing: Interpretation, Extrapolation, Evaluation

3. Logical Reasoning and Deriving Inference

4. Argument Analysis
a. Arguments you make (or power of Influence)
b. Arguments made to you (that you need to analyze)
Argument Analysis includes analyzing claims, assumptions, evidence, fact, belief, emotion, fallacies, credibility of the source, bias, counter-argument

5. Problem Solving
a. Recognising a problem, being able to represent a problem, thinking of alternatives, choosing optimal alternative, executing a solution, evaluating the solution

6. Synthesis (Interesting description of synthesizing skills – Howard Gardner, ‘The Synthesizing Mind’ from his book, ‘Five Minds for the Future’)

7. Decision Making
Reflection: making up your mind not on an impulse but after considering – perceptions, assumptions, alternatives and consequences

8. Self-introspection
a. How to think independently
b. Thinking for self-awareness

9. Creative Thinking

a. In-depth knowledge of a domain (Howard Gardner’s thoughts on ‘Creative Mind’ in his book ‘Five Minds for the Future’); 10,000 hours of deliberate practice leads to expertise

b. Focusing on areas where you have High Skill and High Challenge leads to a mental state of ‘Flow’ and also to happiness (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book, ‘Flow’)

c. Traits of a creative person (Guy Claxton’s work)

d. Individual Creativity and Creativity in Teams (Malcolm Galdwell’s lecture on ‘Genius’ at New Yorker Conference)

e. Lateral Thinking (Edward de Bono)

10. Thinking about your thinking
a. Strength and Weakness analysis
b. How to improve your thinking

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