They are open to changing their mind. Perhaps most of all, they actively enjoy learning, and seeking new knowledge is a lifelong pursuit. No matter where you are on the road to being a critical thinker, you can always more fully develop and finely tune your skills.
Doing so will help you develop more balanced arguments, express yourself clearly, read critically, and glean important information efficiently. Critical thinking skills will help you in any profession or any circumstance of life, from science to art to business to teaching. With critical thinking, you become a clearer thinker and problem solver. The following video, from Lawrence Bland, presents the major concepts and benefits of critical thinking.
Critical thinking is fundamentally a process of questioning information and data.
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You may question the information you read in a textbook, or you may question what a politician or a professor or a classmate says. You can also question a commonly-held belief or a new idea. With critical thinking, anything and everything is subject to question and examination for the purpose of logically constructing reasoned perspectives.
The word logic comes from the Ancient Greek logike , referring to the science or art of reasoning. In this hypothetical scenario, a man has a PhD in political science, and he works as a professor at a local college. His wife works at the college, too.
They have three young children in the local school system, and their family is well known in the community. The man is now running for political office. Are his credentials and experience sufficient for entering public office? Will he be effective in the political office? Some voters might believe that his personal life and current job, on the surface, suggest he will do well in the position, and they will vote for him. What else might you want to know? How about whether the man had already held a political office and done a good job?
For most people, a typical day is filled with critical thinking and problem-solving challenges. In fact, critical thinking and problem-solving go hand-in-hand. They both refer to using knowledge, facts, and data to solve problems effectively. But with problem-solving, you are specifically identifying, selecting, and defending your solution. Remember, too, to assume the attributes of a good critical thinker.
Evaluating information can be one of the most complex tasks you will be faced with in college. When you read and take notes, use the text coding strategy. It entails marking the text and recording what you are thinking either in the margins or perhaps on Post-it notes. With text coding, mark important arguments and key facts.
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Indicate where you agree and disagree or have further questions. Feel free to develop your own shorthand style when reading or taking notes. The following are a few options to consider using while coding text. When you examine arguments or claims that an author, speaker, or other source is making, your goal is to identify and examine the hard facts. You can use the spectrum of authority strategy for this purpose.
The following video explains this strategy. When you use critical thinking to evaluate information, you need to clarify your thinking to yourself and likely to others.
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What is the purpose? What question are we trying to answer? What point of view is being expressed? What assumptions are we or others making? What are the facts and data we know, and how do we know them? What are the conclusions, and do they make sense? What are the implications? Consider your intellectual commitments, values, and standards. Do you approach problems with an open mind, a respect for truth, and an inquiring attitude? Try to work these qualities into your daily life. Critical thinking is a desire to seek, patience to doubt, fondness to meditate, slowness to assert, readiness to consider, carefulness to dispose and set in order; and hatred for every kind of imposture.
Critical thinking is a fundamental skill for college students, but it should also be a lifelong pursuit. The following text is an excerpt from an essay by Dr. Critical thinking skills are perhaps the most fundamental skills involved in making judgments and solving problems. You use them every day, and you can continue improving them. The ability to think critically about a matter—to analyze a question, situation, or problem down to its most basic parts—is what helps us evaluate the accuracy and truthfulness of statements, claims, and information we read and hear.
It is the sharp knife that, when honed, separates fact from fiction, honesty from lies, and the accurate from the misleading.
We all use this skill to one degree or another almost every day. Paul: I don't think so. Let me suggest a way in which you could begin to test my contention. If you are familiar with any thinking skills programs, ask someone knowledgeable about it the "Where's the beef?
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Namely, "What intellectual standards does the program articulate and teach? And then when you explain what you mean, I think you will find that the person is not able to articulate any such standards. Thinking skills programs without intellectual standards are tailor-made for mis-instruction.
For example, one of the major programs asks teachers to encourage students to make inferences and use analogies, but is silent about how to teach students to assess the inferences they make and the strengths and weaknesses of the analogies they use. This misses the point. The idea is not to help students to make more inferences but to make sound ones, not to help students to come up with more analogies but with more useful and insightful ones.
Question: What is the solution to this problem? How, as a practical matter, can we solve it? Paul: Well, not with more gimmicks or quick fixes. Not with more fluff for teachers. Only with quality long-term staff development that helps the teachers, over an extended period of time, over years not months, to work on their own thinking and come to terms with what intellectual standards are, why they are essential, and how to teach for them. The State Department in Hawaii has just such a long-term, quality, critical thinking program see " mentor program ". So that's one model your readers might look at.
In addition, the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking Instruction is focused precisely on the articulation of standards for thinking. I am hopeful that eventually, through efforts such as these, we can move from the superficial to the substantial in fostering quality student thinking. The present level of instruction for thinking is very low indeed.
Question: But there are many areas of concern in instruction, not just one, not just critical thinking, but communication skills, problem solving, creative thinking, collaborative learning, self-esteem, and so forth. How are districts to deal with the full array of needs? How are they to do all of these rather than simply one, no matter how important that one may be?
Paul: This is the key.
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Everything essential to education supports everything else essential to education. It is only when good things in education are viewed superficially and wrongly that they seem disconnected, a bunch of separate goals, a conglomeration of separate problems, like so many bee-bees in a bag. In fact, any well-conceived program in critical thinking requires the integration of all of the skills and abilities you mentioned above.
Hence, critical thinking is not a set of skills separable from excellence in communication, problem solving, creative thinking, or collaborative learning, nor is it indifferent to one's sense of self-worth. Question: Could you explain briefly why this is so?
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