How To Lessen Learning Loss During COVID: Deductive Thinking

| by Thuy Truong, M.A. Ed., TPT Teaching and Coaching, 2/16/2021|

I was helping a student with chronic writer's block for a few months, and he overcame that rough patch with the strategies I had created for him in just a few weeks. However, when I gave him a writing prompt, he still stumbled a bit as if he had forgotten despite he already had the skills to get the job done. In other words, a student needs to be taught the skills needed to complete the assignment but also the skills on how to approach the assignment. This situation has not been unique to this specific student alone as I had observed this recurring phenomenon in my 15 years of teaching high school and college. The conclusion that I had come to is that students need to be taught life skills in conjunction with academic skills to avoid learning loss. Life skills help learners deepen what they have learned and transfer those skills beyond the classroom walls. As a professional educator, I believe the following life skills should supplement a student's education in order to accelerate career and life success.

Deductive Thinking

Based on the traditional dictionary definition, the word deduction means "inference of particular instances" based on the given facts. In simpler terms, this means an individual has the ability to figure out the unknown using what is known. Without deductive thinking, when a student learns how to write an essay, they just know how to write an essay, they cannot transfer this knowledge to writing a friendly letter, a cover letter or other types of writing. You may ask: Why is that? In order for deductive thinking to flourish, the student must be a fully committed detective in the learning process. The student must know both the what and the how. The student has to hunt for both facts and conclusions in the learning process. Also, the learner has to use one's imagination to arrive at the conclusion (despite not told) instead of viewing clear cut examples or simplified versions of the expected assignment. The student will be comfortable with thinking in gray instead of just black and white. Deductive reasoning is a muscle. Like any muscle in our body, one must use it extensively for it to become an intellectual powerhouse.

Ways Students Can Practice Deductive Reasoning:

-Problem solve daily challenges independently

In order to solve our own problems, a student must be able to think flexibly from every angle and review every consequence of every possible scenario that may play out. What this teaches students is that they need to observe the facts before they side with a decision. This builds maturity and deep critical thinking. This also teaches students independence. Most of all, this will allow students to gain incredible problem solving skills because in order to make the right decision you have think deductively by observing the facts presented in front of you and use those to arrive at the logical conclusion, which points you to the direction of the most sensible decision.

How would this help students in academics? Deductive thinkers are independent learners who use their past observations to come up with new ways to ace the test but not only the test, but everything else they have to juggle. They also know how to manage themselves from time management all the way to saying no to distractions with firm intentions.

-Predict what happens next in a book or tv show

Perhaps, the most powerful skills deductive thinking can give a student for life is the ability to make predictions on outcomes using past observations and facts. This teaches students to become responsible thinkers who can think in long-term not just short-term benefits when a decision has to be made. Once a student gets into the domaine of the deductive adventure, this, no doubt, will increase the student's appetite for learning as one begins to see the world of thinking with colors and deeper dimensions than ever before. School is no longer just school, but school is a mental exploration filled with cerebral experiments of the best minds on earth.

How would this help students in academics? When a student has a deductive thinking bug, one cannot help it but love school. One will do homework with a sense of adventure and exploration as opposed to just another academic chore that must be completed. Students who know how to do deductive thinking is often full of life because their minds are run by extreme curiosity about the world, life, and the people in it. This in return will fuel students' sense of resilience. Because students are so used to problem solving and carry the ability to see the future with active responsibility, they have a deep sense of hope and grit in them because they have been putting themselves to the test every day in holding themselves as independent, resilient problem solvers. The past success one has reaped often gives one a sense of confidence to face the future fearlessly no matter what may come.

-Write a letter in the perspective of the receiver

The miracle of deductive thinking carries a deep benefit for students in terms of social skills and development. Arriving at logical conclusions using facts do not just apply to events and phenomena, this principle also applies to people. When students can step outside of their own mind and think in the perspective of another person, students are not only gaining knowledge but also wisdom. They have the ability to develop higher-order social skills such as perspective taking which is required in all facets of adult life from career success to meaningful relationships. This also promotes empathy, love, and compassion for others. In short, it will enrich the students' minds and hearts.

How would this help students in academics?

Students will establish and maintain meaningful relationships with teachers and professors. Consequently, students have a strong network of professionals who can come to their aid when needed because they know how to create genuine relationships with people beyond their own age groups. Students will also perform better in internships and job interviews because they can think like their employers and are equipped to anticipate the other person's needs in a proactive and intelligent manner. Perhaps the most potent skill that will help students in school and life is, the ability to listen deeply. If one listens deeply to one's teachers, one shall find the key to unlock all facets of life. Listen deeply with all your might!

-Read and follow a manual to assemble or activate something

The hallmark of a deep and scientific thinker is patience with self. The act of following directions to make something work or to uncover the truth about something is the epitome of deductive thinking. The art of deduction is not about the speed of the answer but the quality and the creative journey to the answer. Too often, students are more concerned about speed than quality. Also, at the height of deduction, it is not about having the answer at all, it is rather about does one know how to find the answer using the facts at hand, that is really the heart of deduction.

How would this help students in academics?

The clear benefit is students who are equipped with deductive thinking can patiently and thoroughly follow directions in class with a sense of discovery and satisfaction. Consequently, their diligence will reflect in their high academic performance. Deductive thinking will train students to become intellectual explorers not only because of their logical thinking but also their ability to follow directions, read diligently, put information together with confidence, and of course, follow through with thoroughness and clarity.

In order to prepare our students for the 21st century and beyond, we need to teach and allow students to practice more deductive thinking. This is higher-order operations of thinking, and it does take time and practice to deepen this skill for students. The truth is students need complex thinking skills to thrive in a highly complex and interconnected society. Deductive thinking is the glue that ties and retains past, present, and future learning for all students.

About The Author:

Thuy Truong

I am a student success designer. I am able to recognize the missing puzzle in the student's learning and personalize that solution in a language that is unique to that student. I invent a new language for every child.

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