Critical thinking is a valuable and greatly encouraged skill. In the article “Becoming a Critic of your Thinking” (2004) Elder and Paul discuss four key factors important for critical thinking. Clarifying thought, sticking to the point, questioning questions and being reasonable are constructive methods of implementing critical thinking. Personally, these methods worked well for me when faced with a challenge on the college front.
According to Elder and Paul, the first crucial step in critical thinking involves the process of interpretation of thoughts. Looking at the more profound aspect is important. When reading information or talking to another, it is important to ensure that a complete understanding of the idea is grasped. This tends to be more challenging than expected; often, it is difficult to expand and create associations associate to various topics. This past summer, I encountered a situation where these for crucial steps to critical thinking were utilized. I had a tough course to complete in a short amount of time. My first step was clarifying my thoughts and come to terms with the fact that though the course was undeniably challenging, it had to be completed in a timely fashion.
Next, sticking to the point is another important process for better human cognition. For instance, thoughts are habitually disjointed with no strong connection between ideas. When one’s mind floats from one dissimilar matter to the next, the foremost undertaking on hand is forlorn. Therefore, it is essential to ascertain that attention is being focused on properly and only all applicable perspectives are being deliberated.
As such, I did not allow my mind race to the many apprehensions and concerns related to the workload. Rather, I focused on the undertaking and concentrated on the matters related to the topic of my course. A third idea mentioned is questioning questions. Questions are important. There is a tremendous skill in being a thought-out, alert questioner. Good questions may or may not bring about good answers. However, good questions will always convey good thinking. I remember compelling myself to ask important questions regarding arranging, planning, and scheduling. For example, after reviewing the syllabus, I determined how long I should spend on learning each chapter, completing assignments and how much time should be allotting for reviewing the material and taking the exams and quizzes.
Finally, being reasonable is an additional step which supports critical thinking. Acute and serious thinking is practical and rational. It is important to realize that another person’s position may be the correct one. Taking someone’s view into account necessitates a modest brilliance. Being reasonable may be taxing at first; yet, once mastered it has great effects on overall thinking. When I looked at the course as a whole, there was a spot-on need to be reasonable. At times, I had to come to terms with the fact that more time than intended had to be spent on researching and writing an essay. On many occasions throughout the course, I was forced to think levelheadedly and reasonably.
Overall, clarifying thoughts, sticking to the point, questioning questions and being reasonable, are hands-on, everyday ideas that are beneficial for implementing critical thinking. Using these steps, I was given the capacity to think analytically despite the situation I encountered. Ultimately, I gained a tremendous amount stretching myself and implementing methodical, systematic thinking.
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