It can be frustrating to think what you can do to help your child succeed in school and later in life. Nowadays kids need to be more than just book smart. Employers are looking for people who are effective in decision-making, strategising and problem solving.

Higher order thinking skills (also known as HOTS) help children apply knowledge creatively in different situations and so developing these skills are essential.

HOTS consists of three vital skills: analysing, evaluating and creating. So what can you do to help develop your kids HOTS at home?

1) Try using online journals to explore a topic

The first HOT skill that children need to develop is analysis, which means identifying patterns and organizing ideas. Get them to choose a topic and search online journals to gather information about it. Seeing how ideas are compared will lead them to think about the difference between fact and opinion. This takes them away from the regular classroom handouts and their thinking skills get a nudge which gives the child a sense of achievement.

A good site you can use is:

2) Online lessons can get them thinking more in-depth

The second step requires children to understand a concept properly by evaluating it. Encourage your kids to talk about what they have learnt from a lesson. A lot of free online lessons are available on our website Use a simple story lesson from the website such as ‘The Little Red Riding Hood’, and ask them to predict the story before they watch the video. Also, get them to try to guess the hidden meaning of the story after they’ve finished watching. You could use a themed lesson such as ‘My favourite day - Chinese New Year’ and ask them simple questions like “Do you like Chinese New Year?” “What do you like about it?” “What other festivals do you like?” and so on. This kind of tasks help the children assess, compare and express their opinions.

3) Get them to make a video!

The final HOT skill is to create. So why not get them to create a video? It is fun and educational at the same time. Videos help students to comfortably express their ideas and opinions without being the center of attention. Young children who are still developing their skills, can create their videos with a family member, while older ones can do it by themselves. If used properly videos can improve speaking and listening skills as well as HOT Skills.

Nowadays, all you need is a smart phone or tablet to create a video. They could draw pictures to illustrate a short story and then record themselves reading this with the camera focused on the drawings. If they are more confident, they could pretend to be a reporter. They could research a topic then record themselves as they share what they have learnt and how they feel about that information.

Try out some of these ideas at home and just watch your kids get smarter!

At British Council our approach to learning allows children to gain fluency in English and develop HOT skills by tackling real-life projects and tasks, through specially formulated lessons.

For more information on our young learner courses please visit our website or call 03-2723 7900.