Critical thinking essentials

Dr. Rick Rudd Associate Professor Department of Agricultural Education and Communication University of Florida

Why Critical Thinking
³It is human irrationality, not a lack of knowledge that threatens human potential´ (Nickerson cited in Kurfiss, 1986).

as well as formulate and present them clearly  Students can gather and assess information and interpret it effectively  Students can reach well-reasoned conclusions and solutions to problems while testing them against relevant criteria and standards  Students can be open-minded  Students can clearly communicate ideas. positions. and solutions to others .Benefits of thinking critically  Students are able to raise vital questions and problems.

test hypothesis ± Cannot focus on central issues .Novice Vs. Expert Thinker  Expert thinkers ± Quickly identify relevant information ± Can formulate a solution with ³sketchy´ information  Novice thinkers ± Consider all information equally important ± Develop hypothesis.

purposive. Rudd & Baker. and introspective approach to solving problems or addressing questions with incomplete evidence and information and for which an incontrovertible solution is unlikely.What is Critical Thinking? A reasoned. 1999 .

The Critical / Creative Thinking Bridge Application Comprehension Knowledge Evaluation Synthesis Analysis Decision Making Problem Solving Concept attainment .

Critical thinking dispositions  Engagement ± Looking for opportunities to use reasoning ± Anticipating situations that require reasoning ± Confident in reasoning ability  Innovativeness ± Intellectually curious ± Wants to know the truth  Cognitive maturity ± Aware that real problems are complex ± Open to other points of view ± Aware of biases and predispositions .

identifying arguments. analyzing arguments ± Elements of reasoning. decoding. listening.Critical Thinking skills and sub-skills  Interpretation ± categorization. charts. reasonableness. trust . matrices. patient history  Analysis ± examining ideas. credibility. data  Evaluation ± assessing claims. clarifying meaning ± Notes. assessing arguments ± Questioning.

changing. decision making. justifying procedures. clarity  Self-regulation ± self examination. questioning. self correction ± Self critique. recognizing personal errors in thinking . differential. drawing conclusions ± Problem solving. conjecturing alternatives. presenting arguments ± Elements of reasoning.Critical thinking skills and sub-skills  Inference ± querying claims. stating the case. diagnosis  Explanation ± stating results.

Conclusion / Implications / Consequences Points of View Concepts / Theories Information / Facts / Data Assumptions Data Interpretation .

Purpose / objective  We should reason to address an end. achieve an objective. not trivial  The purpose should be achievable . or meet a need  The purpose must be clear for good reasoning to occur  The purpose should be meaningful.

Information / facts / data  Relevant evidence should be provided  Evidence should be reliable and true  Evidence should be reported clearly  All data should be considered  Adequate data to address the purpose .

Assumptions  The starting point for reasoning  All reasoning takes some things for granted ± the purpose is good ± the problem is solvable ± the resources are available  Assumptions should be clearly stated and be justifiable .

deep. and clear .Data interpretation  Because we know ³X´ we can infer ³Y´  Putting together data points to clarify your proposed answer or justify your position  Need to be consistent.

Concepts and theories  Using concepts and theories in the discipline to solve disciplinary problems  Requires a deep understanding of concepts. theories. rules. and axioms  Must use relevant concepts and theories .

Points of view  Understanding and articulating your point of view ± how was it developed ± does it make sense  Acknowledging that similar and opposing points of view exist  Understanding and discussing opposing points of view .

Conclusions / implications / consequences  Reasoning should lead somewhere!  What are the consequences or implications of our reasoning?  What will happen if we take the course of action suggested?  Are the implications. conclusions. and consequences realistic / valid? .

 Relevant: Is the information connected to the question at hand? .  Accurate: Accuracy = TRUTH.Universal Intellectual Standards  Clear: If a statement is unclear we cannot evaluate its fit with the other standards. Is it true?  Precise: Is there enough detail to completely understand the statement.

fact.Universal Intellectual Standards  Depth: Does the statement. address the complexity of the issue?  Breadth: Are there other points of view or other ways to consider this question? Are you considering the key factors?  Logic: Does it make sense? Can you make that conclusion based on the information and evidence? . etc.

Course Design  What are the fundamental and powerful concepts in your course?  Is your instructional time used to teach these concepts?  Why do we tend to get away from the fundamental concepts and teach more ³stuff?´ .

± Which questions are realistic to answer? ± Develop and implement a plan to answer the vital questions .Assumption into question  ASSUMPTION: Agriculture teachers make low salaries.three questions that you can generate from this assumption. ± ± ± ± Do you think this is true / false / other ? How important is this assumption to YOU (1-5) Why is it important to you? Write two .

and Assumptions ± Can the student support the point of view with Reasons and / or evidence? . Reasons. Evidence.Socratic Discussion Conflicting views ± How does the student¶s thinking conflict with other points of view? Origin or Source ± How did the student Arrive at this point Of view? Student¶s Point of view Implications and Consequences ± What follows from This point of View? Support.

Pitfalls«  Teaching for critical thinking takes more time to prepare  Teaching for critical thinking will reduce the amount of ³material´ covered  Teaching for critical thinking is not popular with students in the beginning  BUT« .

ifas.edu  Biotechcriticalthinking.ufl.ifas.ifl.Resources  Criticalthinking.edu .