Sherlock Holmes: The Skill That Made Him Famous!
Deductive Reasoning Skills
October, 2005, by The Critical Thinking Co.™ Staff
Deductive reasoning is one of the most valuable skills a student can have when working to prove a mathematical theorem, analyzing literature, or taking a standardized test. Deductive reasoning is what allows a student to discover the correct answer to a question he or she may not have been anticipating. At its most basic level, it is simply applying larger truths and over-arching facts to smaller questions to arrive at the logical answers.
Deductive reasoning is how theorems are proven in mathematics and how Sherlock Holmes was able to see through the shroud of mystery that always surrounded his cases. Deductive reasoning can be taught, but it is its regular practice that yields the benefits to students. The brain acts like a muscle and exercising it through logic, analysis, and critical thinking is what gives it the strength to question, to learn, and to discover.
When learning becomes a simple, repetitive pattern of memorization and multiple-choice test-taking, students' brains do not get many chances to grow and evolve. Students become like filing cabinets for facts and figures, rather than engaged participants in their own educations. Teaching deductive reasoning and exercising it regularly helps students see the patterns and underlying assumptions that govern all human knowledge.
The Critical Thinking Co. provides Mind Benders logic puzzles and riddles to educators and parents around the world. Available in books and on software, these products provide an entertaining and challenging way for students to exercise the fundamentals of reasoning and critical thinking. The Mind Benders programs are only a small part of the world of tools The Critical Thinking Co. has developed to capture students' imaginations and get them excited about learning.