Critical Thinking

The forum on Critical Thinking just started yesterday, so I just have a few things to post so far. It began with the definition of what Critical thinking was. In these PIDP courses, we do a lot of critical thinking. It’s something that I have never done before taking this program and would have a difficult time describing it. This definition really helps.

Critical thinking is defined as the ability to think clearly and rationally about what to do or what to believe. It includes the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking. Critical thinking skills would be to:

  • understand the logical connections between ideas
  • identify, construct and evaluate arguments
  • detect inconsistencies and common mistakes in reasoning
  • solve problems systematically
  • identify the relevance and importance of ideas
  • reflect on the justification of one’s own beliefs and values

Critical skills include observation, analysis, interpretation, reflection, evaluation, inference, explanation, problem solving, and decision making.

  • Think about a topic or issue in an objective and critical way.
  • Identify the different arguments there are in relation to a particular issue.
  • Evaluate a point of view to determine how strong or valid it is.
  • Recognise any weaknesses or negative points that there are in the evidence or argument.
  • Notice what implications there might be behind a statement or argument.
  • Provide structured reasoning and support for an argument that we wish to make.

This image was also placed on the forum to help with the definition of Critical Thinking. It’s a quick and easy reference as to how the Critical Thinking cycle works.

Critical thinking

This video provides another definition as to What is Critical Thinking? It gives information on how often we think about what we think. Critical thinking is the art of analyzing and evaluating thinking with a view to improving it. It takes time, practice and our imagination.

Critical thinking is becoming more common in education. The use of reflective writing to promote critical thinking in every PIDP course so far is a great example. I have students use a journal to keep track of their learning and their thoughts. Critical thinking is a higher level of thinking that could be shared with other students. Using a flipped classroom approach promotes critical thinking, time for reflection and class discussion.

Critical thinking is applied in many different forms in the classroom and in the workforce and it’s very important that we understand them. As instructors, we want to ensure that our students have transferable skills to the work place not just the content of our course material. Here’s another image showing the Critical Thinking Cycle.

Critical thinking 2

I’m looking forward to the next few weeks as this forum on Critical Thinking unfolds.

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