You have four blocks in front of you, a black one, a red one, a white one and a green one. You must remove two of them. You may not take away the red, the black and the white blocks simultaneously. You may not take away the white, the green and the red ones simultaneously. Which two blocks may be removed? To answer this puzzle you will need to think logically.
Logical thinking is the process in which one uses reasoning consistently to come to a conclusion. Problems or situations that involve logical thinking call for structure, for relationships between facts, and for chains of reasoning that “make sense.”
In his book Brain Building, Dr. Karl Albrecht says that the basis of all logical thinking is sequential thought. This process involves taking the important ideas, facts, and conclusions involved in a problem and arranging them in a chain-like progression that takes on a meaning in and of itself. To think logically is to think in steps.
Logical thinking skills give learners the ability to understand what they have read or been shown, and also to build upon that knowledge without incremental guidance. Logical thinking teaches students that knowledge is fluid and builds upon itself.
Logical thinking is also an important foundational skill of math. “Learning mathematics is a highly sequential process,” says Dr. Albrecht. “If you don’t grasp a certain concept, fact, or procedure, you can never hope to grasp others that come later, which depend upon it. For example, to understand fractions you must first understand division. To understand simple algebra equations requires that you understand fractions. Solving word problems depends on knowing how to set up and manipulate equations, and so on.”
Logical thinking is not a magical process or a matter of genetic endowment, but a learned mental process. Training in logical thinking encourages learners to think for themselves, question hypotheses, develop alternative hypotheses, and test those hypotheses against known facts.
It has been proven that specific training in logical thinking processes can make people “smarter.” Logical thinking allows a child to reject quick answers, such as “I don’t know,” or “this is too difficult,” by empowering them to delve deeper into their thinking processes and understand better the methods used to arrive at a solution and even the solution itself.
Aside from food, water, and shelter, the one thing that a person will most need in life is an education. Of those four necessities, education is the only one that can help ensure a person’s consistent ability to provide himself or herself with the other three. Unfortunately, the importance of logical thinking skills is underestimated in education, and training in logical thinking skills is therefore grossly neglected.