Students of today are the key to the nation’s future. It is not too farfetched to claim that technological innovations and works of great repute that experts expect to see tomorrow lie in their hands. They are the ones who will bring forth new paradigm shifts and manifest ideas into reality. The competition may be on a global scale but it’s ultimately up to the individual to ready themselves for the future.
Here at Mathlete Training Centre, we believe not just in the academic excellence of our students but also in their holistic development. According to various sources, some of the key skill sets that are required for future citizens to thrive, are complex problem solving, analytical thinking, systems thinking, critical thinking & reasoning, adaptability, resilience …etc. Most of which could be actively developed through mathematical thinking and training which we provide for our students.
In this article, we will be further dissecting the importance of developing some of these skill sets:
From a research article by Qolfathiriyus et al (2019), analytical thinking is a thinking ability that aids individuals to scrutinize and break down facts. It is critical in the field of mathematics as students are required to problem-solve, plan steps and verify their answers using this line of thinking. Findings have also shown that higher-performing students possess pre-analytical thinking characteristics when they are understanding the problem and planning the necessary steps to solve the mathematical problem. While implementing the formulas and equations, they are shown to exhibit a combination of semi-analytical and pre-analytical thinking as well. Such a skill set is especially important in just about every situation, such as developing or improving programs or products, relational issues, processes, identifying audience and client needs, and more. Analyzing a subject means that you’ve cultivated an in-depth understanding of it and are able to speak to it with some level of expertise. Most analytical thinking requires a hint of trial and error. Individuals with strong analytical thinking skills are often capable of quickly analyzing a situation, topic or problem, and often work well in a team setting to accomplish goals.
Systems Thinking & Complex Problem Solving
According to Ben Lutkevich (2020), systems thinking is a holistic approach to analysis that focuses on the way that a system’s constituent parts interrelate and how systems work over time and within the context of larger systems. Systems thinking can be used in any area of research and has been applied to the study of medical, environmental, political, economic, human resources, and educational systems, among many others.
Findings from a study suggest that once established as socio‐mathematical norms (Cobb, Wood, & Yackel, 1991), environmental influences from the mathematics classroom extend to problem-solving in other environments. The kind of problem-solving advocated in mathematics education (e.g., Carlson & Bloom, 2005) aligns with systems thinking by emphasizing the need to understand a problem in its totality before attempting to solve it through cycles of activity
Attention to feedback is an essential component of system thinking. For example, in project management, prevailing wisdom may prescribe the addition of workers to a project that is lagging. However, in practice, that tactic might have actually slowed development in the past. Attention to that relevant feedback can allow management to look for other solutions rather than wasting resources on an approach that has been demonstrated to be counterproductive.
Critical Thinking in Mathematics Education
Mainstream educational psychologists view critical thinking as the strategic use of a set of reasoning skills for developing a form of reflective thinking that ultimately optimizes itself, including a commitment to using its outcomes as a basis for decision-making and problem-solving. In such descriptions, critical thinking is established as a general methodological standard for making judgments and decisions. Mathematical argumentation features prominently as an example of disciplined reasoning based on clear and concise language, questioning of assumptions, and appreciation of logical inference for deriving conclusions. These features of mathematical reasoning have been contrasted with intuition, associative reasoning, justification by example, or induction from observation. While the latter are also important aspects of mathematical inquiry, a focus on logic is directed toward extinguishing subjective elements from judgments, and it is the essence of deductive reasoning. All students have the ability to enhance and expand their critical thinking when learning mathematics. Students can develop this ability when confronting mathematical problems, identifying possible solutions, and evaluating and justifying their reasons for the results, thereby allowing students to become confident critical thinkers. Critical thinking and reasoning allow students to think about how they utilize their discipline of mathematical skills (i.e., they think about their method of thinking).
Adaptability refers to the capacity to adjust one’s thoughts, behaviors, and emotions in order to manage change, new, or uncertain demands.
Based on a study by Collie et al (2017), students’ self-reports of adaptability and teachers’ reports of students’ adaptability, and the extent to which the two reports are significantly associated with students’ mathematics engagement and their achievement in mathematics and literacy.
Adaptability can’t afford to be missing if you want to do well as a leader. Adaptable leaders earn the respect of their colleagues and motivate those they lead to embracing change, making business operations as smooth as possible.
In an article titled; Why Flexible and Adaptive Leadership is important, Rubina Mahsud and Gary Yukl said; “Threats which are often unanticipated will always arise to sink an organization, damage properties, and lives. One way an organization can survive this threat is by responding quickly to these threats when they arise. Adaptive leadership is what every organization needs if they are to survive troubling times.” Most organizations are now emphasizing the importance of adaptability amongst the employees, and this trend will definitely continue into the future. 91% of HR experts believe that by 2018, the major criteria for recruitment will be the ability of a candidate to adapt.