Critical thinking is often a topic or word you hear thrown around when in schools, academia, or in institutions of higher levels of learning.
But the ideas behind critical thinking are not solely for academic work or those of us who do research. Most of us apply critical thinking every day and do not realize it.
In the simplest terms, the act of critical thinking is to engage your mind to process the information presented to you. This doesn’t mean you have to postulate over it or ponder the implication to the universe, it means simply you don’t blindly accept it and judge the information based on what you know about it and where it came from.
I recently was hosting a discussion group on critical thinking and there were some wonderful concepts passed around. Here are a few to mull over.
- Self-thought to Critically Think is difficult and often a Western or European construct, many countries don’t want to teach their population these skills.
- Critical thinking is used in everyday life for a multitude of decisions but is difficult to transfer to a classroom or job setting.
- Often we must be exposed to many environments and experience many viewpoints to understand and appreciate information for what it is.
- Critical thinking and Creative thinking are often linked in a synergistic cycle, and are not separate processes.
- People often avoid critical thinking and opt to use the simplest solution, this leads to memorization of steps rather than understanding the process and using critical thinking to solve the problem.
- Critical thinking may cause a person to be doubtful of unjustified claims, which can cause a re-evaluation of their assumptions and biases.
- The cornerstone of critical thinking is the ability to process complex problems, questions, and solutions by systematically breaking them down into easy to understand and analyze pieces.
- Critical thinking leads to “acceptance of personal responsibility for our own thinking”.
- You can’t teach people to be critical unless you are critical yourself” and that “As a teacher, you have to have a critical spirit”.
- Critical Thinking is a skill that takes time to develop and years to hone.
- Students need to develop skills to critically think and apply what they have learned in school to their job.
- Critical Thinking comes easy to no one, even the greatest thinkers struggle with Critical Thinking.