How Critical Thinking Promotes Excellence in ECE: Director’s Corner

Promoting Critical Thinking Skills with Your Employees

First and foremost, if you want your employees to be critical thinkers, you have to model critical thinking yourself. When faced with decisions or problems to solve, ask for opinions and perspectives. Talk through your thought process and consider the pros and cons with your employees.

Instill the value of lifelong learning. Promote the idea that there is always something new to learn. Remind teachers that they can learn from formal classes and through experiences with children, families, and each other.

Create on-boarding and performance evaluation processes that include employee reflection, goal setting, and action planning. Encourage employees to complete self-assessments throughout the year to establish intentional professional development plans. Require staff to complete action plans after each training they complete and work with them to implement the plans they make.

Engage in periodic discussions about topics related to the field. Share an article with all employees a week before a staff meeting. During the staff meeting, facilitate a discussion about how the topic relates to the program. Work as a group to evaluate the new information, identify relevant strategies, and create a plan for implementation. This process can also be done with teaching teams, or the content can be based on an online training.

When employees come to you with problems of concerns, make them an active part of the solution. It can be tempting to fix the problem for the employee, but resist that temptation. Lay the concern on the table with all involved parties, identify alternative actions, and collaborate on possible solutions. This empowers your employees to solve problems in a similar manner independently in the future.

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