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Chapter 5
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Chapter 5

Critical Thinking

 

Far too often, people don’t think critically but let their emotions govern their actions.  As a college student, that can lead to trouble!

 

 

CAN ANYONE DEFINE CRITICAL THINKING?

 

One of the main ingredients in a college education is learning how to think critically.  And if you believe that college is a path to a higher paying job, remember that a good critical thinker is a good job candidate.

 

Theodora Kalikow, president of the University of Main lists several key characteristics students should have in order to receive a good college education   -   which demands above all else critical thinking. 

 

Here are some of the characteristics:

 

        A lithe mind, able to move rapidly in new directions

        The ability to analyze a problem

        The ability to imagine solutions, weigh them by rational criteria and commit to one of them

        A tolerance for ambiguity and complexity

        An ability to imagine and share the perception of different individuals, cultures, and times

 

 

GOING FROM CERTAINTY TO HEALTHY UNCERTAINTY

 

Some instructor feel they have all the answers and want to fill your mind with dates, times and facts then expect you to recite these facts back to them when you take a test.  On the first day the instructor might say, the only important thing in my class is how well you learn the material and how frequently you choose the right answers.  This type of instructor might say to youRemember, while there are lots of wrong answers, there is only one answer that is always correct.

 

WHAT IS YOUR OPINION OF THIS TYPE OF INSTRUCTOR?

Others instructors fill the most important aspect of education is for an individual to know how to use what he or she has learned to solve problem they face.  Adult Students bring their own values, ideas, and past knowledge to course material.  What most important is that you learn to analyze facts, decide which facts are supportable by evidence, and know how to convince others of your belief.  And remember, while there are lots of wrong conclusions, there also may be more than one right conclusion.  

 

 It might be surprising to discover that some of your instructors trust you to find valid answers too many of your own questions.

 

Obviously the two prior instructors have different views as to what it means to be educated.  How would you define an educated person?  Knowing where to go to get information and how to use it when you need it to solve a problem

 

A HIGHER-ORDER THINKING PROCESS

(Defining critical thinking)

 

Critical thinking is a process of choosing alternatives, weighing them, and considering what they suggest.  It involves understanding why some people believe one thing rather than another – whether you agree with their reason or not.

 

Critical thinking is learning to ask pertinent questions and testing your assumptions against hard evidence.

 

WHAT ARE SOSME OF THE WAYS THE TEXT LIST THAT CAN ASSIST CRITICAL THINKING?

 

Being involved in the following can help foster Critical:

 

  • Collaborative learning (learning whereby more than one student is involved in the learning process which generates a number of thoughts instead of just one.   In a group, you learn to agree on the most reliable thoughts, which move you closer to a surer solution.

 

  • Walking through the process of several choices (good critical thinkers consider questions such as: 

 

 (A) Is the information given in support of the argument true?

 (B) Does the information really support the conclusion?

 (C) Do you need to withhold judgment until better evidence is available?

 (D) Is argument based on good reasoning, or does it appeal mainly to emotions?

Critical thinking is at the core of liberal education.  In Liberal education, students are taught to investigate all sides of a question and all possible solutions to a problem before reaching a conclusion or planning a course of action. 

 

ACCORDING TO YOUR TEXT WHAT ARE THE FOUR ASPECTS OF CRITICAL THINKING?

 

FOUR AS PECTS OF CRITICAL THINKING

 

Critical thinking cannot be learned overnight.  However, critical thinking processes can be divided into four basic steps.  Practicing these basics ideas can help you become a more effective thinker.

 

        Abstract Thinking:  Using Details to discover some bigger idea

        Creative Thinking:  Seeking connections, finding new possibilities, rejecting nothing

        Systematic Thinking: Organizing the Possibilities, tossing out the rubbish

        Precise Communication:  Being prepared to present your ideas convincingly to others

 

(In implement the concept of Critical thinking care should be taken to)

 

AVOIDING LOGICAL FALLACIES

 

You may believe you’ve solved a problem logically, but later find you are a victim of faulty reasoning.

 

The following suggestions should help you avoid logical fallacies:

 

        Attack the Argument, not the Person Abortion:: character/reputation rather than issue

        Don’t Threaten in Order to Win an Argument If you don’t , I’ll do this

        Don’t Beg Please Officer, don’t give me a ticket, I don’t deserve to lose my license, I have five children

        Avoid Appealing to Authority Appealing to those who may or may not be an authority

        It’s Not a Popularity Contest listen to those who are more popular than those who are not

        It Isn’t True Simply Because It Hasn’t Been Proven False

        Don’t Fall Victim to False Cause blaming  your course failure on the teacher

        Avoid Hasty Generalization one green marble from a barrel of 100 does not mean all are green

HOW COLLEGE ENCOURAGES CRITICAL THINKING

 

Many college students believe that their teachers will have all the answers.  You must be willing to challenge assumptions and conclusion, even those presented by experts. 

 

To challenge how you think, a good college teacher may insist that how you solve a problem is as important as the solution and even may ask you to describe the problem-solving process. (This is not picking on you, and it does not suggest that the solution you have arrived at is wrong: he/she just simply may want you to be able to support your findings, solution or the conclusion you have arrived at)

 

To promote critical thinking, your instructor may ask open-ended questions that have no clear-cut answers, questions of “Why” or “How” or “What if”?  

 

The best way to learn and develop critical thinking skills is to take demanding college courses that provide lots of opportunity to think out loud, discuss and interact in class.

 

Take courses that use essay examination as opposed to multiple choices, true/false, short answer: the latter three are much less likely to develop your critical thinking skills.

 

 

We live in an age where Students rely heavily on the Internet

 

 

CRITICALLY EVALUATING INFORMATION ON THE INTERNET

 

Anyone can put anything on the Internet.  It’s often difficult to tell where something on the internet came from, how it got there or who wrote it.  In other words, the lack of a proper citation makes it difficult to judge the credibility of the information.

 

First thing to do is to look for a citation.  Then, using the citation, do a search for the original source and evaluate its authenticity.  I there is no citation, chances are you should avoid the site.

 

OTHER QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT INTERNET SITES:

 

        Is It Credible?

        Who Is the Author?

        Does It Reflect Mainstream Opinions?

 

The University of Wisconsin offers these Nine C’s for evaluating Internet Source:

 

Content, Credibility, Critical Thinking, Copyright, Citation, Continuity,

Censorship, Comparability and Context.