You are on page 1of 3

What is Critical Thinking?

Characteristics of Critical Thinking and Critical Thinkers

According to (Paul and Elder, 2013) People who possess critical thinking skills...

Raise important questions and problems, expressing
them with clarity and precision.
Collect and evaluate information that is relevant to the
Interpret information effectively.

Come to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions.

Contrast the solution against relevant criteria and
Think open-mindedly.

Recognize and assess their assumptions, implications
and practical consequences.
Communicate effectively with others in figuring out
solutions to complex problems.

In The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools, Richard Paul
and Linda Elder state, “Critical thinking is based on universal intellectual values
that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consisten-
cy, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness.”

These values are used in decision-making at all levels of life. From early on in
their education, students can practice these values and lay the groundwork for
using critical thinking in their day-to-day experiences.

Critical Thinking Toolkit | Unit I - What is Critical Thinking? Page 8

and frame of refer- ence” (The Critical Thinking Community. What is Critical Thinking? Consistency Relevance Clarity Accuracy Precision Sound Evidence Good Reasons Depth Breadth Fairness CRITICAL THINKING Image 1. as such thinking fails to examine many of the important elements of the decision. concepts. Critical Thinking Toolkit | Unit I . objections from alternative viewpoints. the social benefits of attending or not attending. assumptions. or question-at-issue. problem. the financial benefits (a higher salary in the long term) and drawbacks (costs of tuition and expens- es). They will even consider whether their own decision-making process is sound. empirical grounding. 2014). Critical Thinking Funnel Critical thinking “entails the examination of structures or elements of thought implicit in all reasoning: purpose. Thus.What is Critical Thinking? Page 9 . whether the arguments their friends and parents make have merit. implications and consequences. reasoning leading to conclusions. This process is much more likely to lead to the right decision for that individual. critical thinkers consider- ing whether to enter university will not simply do what their parents want them to do or what their friends are doing. and more. Critical thinkers will examine factors such as their own disposition toward and ability in school.

and self-cor- rective thinking. self-directed.What is Critical Thinking? Page 10 . Optimally. 2014). self-monitored. it be- comes a readily available tool for approaching information. Critical Thinking Toolkit | Unit I . it be- comes ingrained in students’ habits in and outside of school. in short.” (Paul and Elder. Critical thinking leads to conscious consideration of ideas and solid deci- sion-making that students need to make sense of their world and succeed in a rapidly evolving society. self-disciplined. “Critical thinking is. In this way. When teachers consciously reinforce critical thinking in the classroom. What is Critical Thinking? These structures and processes of reasoning can be taught in the classroom.