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Critical thinking

Miguel Ángel Pérez Ordóñez Upayador Critical thinking, in its broadest sense has been described as "purposeful reflective judgment concerning what to believe or what to do." The list of core critical thinking skills includes interpretation, analysis, inference, evaluation, explanation and meta-cognition. There is a reasonable level of consensus among experts that an individual or group engaged in strong critical thinking gives due consideration to the evidence, the context of judgment, the relevant criteria for making the judgment well, the applicable methods or techniques for forming the judgment, and the applicable theoretical constructs for understanding the problem and the question at hand. In addition to possessing strong critical thinking skills, one must be disposed to engage problems and decisions using those skills. Critical thinking employs not only logic but broad intellectual criteria such as clarity, credibility, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, significance and fairness. The positive habits of mind which characterize a person strongly disposed toward critical thinking include a courageous desire to follow reason and evidence wherever they may lead, open-mindedness, foresight attention to the possible consequences of choices, a systematic approach to problem solving, inquisitiveness, fair-mindedness and maturity of judgment, and confidence in reasoning. In reflective problem solving and thoughtful decision making using critical thinking one considers evidence,(like investigating evidence) the context of judgment, the relevant criteria for making the judgment well, the applicable methods or techniques for forming the judgment, and the applicable theoretical constructs for understanding the problem and the question at hand. "Critical" as used in the expression "critical thinking" connotes the importance or centrality of the thinking to an issue, question or problem of concern. “Critical” in this context does not mean “disapproved” or “negative.” There are many positive and useful uses of critical thinking, for example formulating a workable solution to a complex personal problem, deliberating as a group about what course of action to take, or analyzing the assumptions and the quality of the methods used in scientifically arriving at a reasonable level of confidence about a given hypothesis. Using strong critical thinking we might evaluate an argument, for example, as worthy of acceptance because it is valid and based on

as need be. gathers and assesses relevant information. Upon reflection. Knowledge of the methods of logical inquiry and reasoning. 2."Irrespective of the sphere of thought. The deliberation characteristic of strong critical thinking associates critical thinking with the reflective aspect of human reasoning. Reading. and listening can all be done critically or uncritically. John Dewey is just one of many educational leaders who recognized that a curriculum aimed at building thinking skills would be a benefit not only to the individual learner. continue to address these same three central elements. formulating them clearly and precisely. and practical consequences. and . recommending that we bring greater reflection and deliberation to decision making. speaking. therefore. writing. individually or in group problem solving and decision making contexts. but to the community and to the entire democracy. Expressed most generally. decides. "a well cultivated critical thinker":     raises important questions and problems. Those who would seek to improve our individual and collective capacity to engage problems using strong critical thinking skills are. Edward Glaser writes that the ability to think critically involves three things: 1. or solves a problem. and 3. thinks open-mindfully within alternative systems of thought. and do so in a reasonable and reflective way. Some skill in applying those methods. critical thinking is "a way of taking up the problems of life.true premises. a speaker may be evaluated as a credible source of knowledge on a given topic. Educational programs aimed at developing critical thinking in children and adult learners. In a seminal study on critical thinking and education in 1941. using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions. Critical thinking can occur whenever one judges. in general. An attitude of being disposed (state of mind regarding something) to consider in a thoughtful way the problems and subjects that come within the range of one's experiences. recognizing and assessing. their assumptions. whenever one must figure out what to believe or what to do. Contemporary cognitive psychology regards human reasoning as a complex process which is both reactive and reflective. testing them against relevant criteria and standards. Critical thinking is crucial to becoming a close reader and a substantive writer. implications.

Applications Critical thinking is about being both willing and able to evaluate one's thinking. analytical. inaccurate. perseverance. Thus. Those who are ambivalenton one or more of these aspects of the disposition toward critical thinking. lazy. due to ignorance or misapplication of the appropriate skills of thinking. bias. or the information may not even be knowable—or because one makes unjustified inferences. inquisitive. without being unduly influenced by others' thinking on the topic. one's thinking might be criticized as being the result of a sub-optimal disposition. or fails to notice important implications. Some people have both in abundance. weak sense critical thinking results. The key to seeing the significance of critical thinking in academics is in . or trivial. disorganized. heedless of consequences. The relationship between critical thinking skills and critical thinking dispositions is an empirical question. but manipulativeand often unethical or subjective thought. shallow. Two measures of critical thinking dispositions are the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory and the California Measure of Mental Motivation. and prudentin making judgments. communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems. narrow. autonomy. confident in reasoning. some are disposed but lack strong skills. Fair-minded or strong sense critical thinking requires intellectual humility. integrity. systematic. without the intellectual traits of mind. empathy. irrelevant. Failure to recognize the importance of correct dispositions can lead to various forms of self-deception and closed-mindedness. or who have an opposite disposition (intellectually arrogant. On the other hand. Thinking might be criticized because one does not have all the relevant information—indeed. illogical. open-minded. and other intellectual traits. and some have neither. confidence in reason. The dispositional dimension of critical thinking is characterological. both individually and collectively. imprecise. important information may remain undiscovered. courage. intolerant. mistrustful of reasoning. or imprudent) are more likely to encounter problems in using their critical thinking skills. Its focus is in developing the habitual intention to be truth-seeking. When individuals possess intellectual skills alone. One's thinking may be unclear. critical thinking without essential intellectual traits often results in clever. indifferent toward new information. some have skills but not the disposition to use them. uses inappropriate concepts.

The first occurs when learners (for the first time) construct in their minds the basic ideas. This is a process of application. This process of intellectual engagement is at the heart of the Oxford. and theories as they become relevant in learners' lives. . principles. There are two meanings to the learning of this content. This is a process of internalization. The second occurs when learners effectively use those ideas. Cambridgeand London School of Economicstutorials. Good teachers cultivate critical thinking (intellectually engaged thinking) at every stage of learning. principles.understanding the significance of critical thinking in learning. including initial learning. often in a Socratic manner (see Socratic questioning). The key is that the teacher who fosters critical thinking fosters reflectiveness in students by asking questions that stimulate thinking essential to the construction of knowledge. Durham. The tutor questions the students. and theories that are inherent in content.