Learning Critical Thinking Skills

Students must be inclined to pursue “truth” over their own biases, persist through challenges, assess their own thinking fairly, and abandon mistaken reasoning for new and more valid ways of thinking.These intellectual “virtues” don’t come easily or naturally.Students need to see us showing the courage to question our own opinions and values, the fair-mindedness to represent multiple perspectives accurately, and the open-mindedness to entertain viewpoints opposed to our own. Study of 38 public universities and 28 private universities to determine faculty emphasis on critical thinking in instruction. When we do this, we should let students know that we are practicing critical thinking. Another aspect of becoming a self-critic is acknowledging your strengths, weaknesses, personal preferences and biases.

The latter is a noted critic of dogma-based organized religion and the former, a college chaplain. The literature around it is abstract and fragmented among several different scholars or scholarly teams who work in their own silos and don’t build on or even cite each other. While each has a different definition of critical thinking, they all agree that it involves the cognitive operations of interpretation and/or analysis, often followed by evaluation.They also concur that students have to critically think about , which means students have to learn how to do it in a discipline-based course.We all endorse it and we all want our students to do it. “It” is critical thinking, and very few of us actually teach it or even understand what it is (Paul & Elder, 2013).Research tells us that our students learn critical thinking only after we receive training in how to teach it and design our courses explicitly and intentionally to foster critical thinking skills (Abrami, Bernard, Borokhovski, Wade, Surkes, Tamim, & Zhang, 2008).When you do this, you need to clarify your thoughts by assessing this information objectively and finding a solid logic to what you believe, rather than just a muddled idea.When we self-reflect, we are able to observe how we respond to a situation, in our minds and out loud.If students don’t see the thoughtful, respectful alternative, how will they be able to peacefully co-exist with one another in this diverse world? Do you react to situations based on your emotions or personal biases?While sincerely trying to forward their viewpoint, they consciously model critical thinking, civil discourse, and the complementary dispositions for their class (Seesholtz & Polk, 2009). They demonstrate that the stormy wars of words so common in today’s political mass media do not represent the only way to disagree.

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