Critical Thinking

Critical thinking means thinking independently. When an activity is based on the principles of critical thinking, each formulates his own ideas, assessment, and beliefs, regardless of the rest. No one can think critically for us. We are doing this solely for ourselves. Consequently, thinking can be critical only if it is individual. Critical thinking is not necessary to be completely original: we can accept the idea or conviction of another person as our own. Information is the starting but not the ending point of critical thinking. Knowledge creates motivation, without which man cannot think critically. To create a complex idea you have to revise a lot of material facts, ideas, texts, theories, data, and concepts. Critical thinking begins with asking questions and understanding the problems that need to be solved. We notice something new and we want to know what it is. We see some attraction and we already want to get inside. Critical thinking tends to give argument. Critical thinking man finds his own solution and reinforces this decision with reasonable, justifiable arguments. He is also aware that there may be other solutions for the same problem, and tries to prove that the chosen solution is more logically and rationally than others. Every argumentation contains three main elements. The center of argument, its main content is the assertion (also called the thesis, the main idea or situation). The adoption is supported by several arguments. Each of the arguments, in turn, is supported by evidence. As evidence can be used statistics data, excerpts from texts, personal experience and everything that speaks in favor of this argument and can be recognized by other participants in the discussion. Under all of these elements of the argumentation and evidence is located the fourth element: the foundation. The reason - it is a kind of premise, the starting point, which is common for the speaker or writer and his audience, which suggests the whole argument. The argumentation wins, given the existence of possible counter-arguments, which are either disputed or considered permissible. Recognition of other points of view only strengthens the argument. Critical thinking is also social thinking. Every thought is verified and perfected, when it is shared with others. When we argue, we read, discuss, disagree and deepen our own position. The ideal critical thinking is usually associated with human curiosity, well informed, the reason for trust, open-mindedness, flexibility, fairness in evaluation, honest in facing personal biases, prudent in judgments, the desire to revise, clarify issues and complex questions carefully to find the necessary information reasonably in the selection criteria, uniformity in the search results that are as accurate as the primary sources used.

Good students, good readers monitor their understanding, meeting with new information. Good readers reread a piece of text in if they fail to understand it. Good students, perceiving the message, usually ask questions or write that they did not understand in order to clarify in the future. Passive students usually ignore these problems in understanding. They are not aware of the confusion, in misunderstandings or even pass the information.

References: Critical Thinking, David Klooster, 2005; Ruminski and Hanks, 1997; Charles Temple, Jeannie Steele, Kurt Meredith, and Scott Walter, The Reading & Writing for Critical Thinking Project (RWCT), 1997;