June 1, 2015
What is critical thinking? My favorite definition of critical thinking is, “the active and reflective mental process of questioning and evaluating information to draw sound conclusions” (Critical Thinking: It's How - Not What You Think, 2013). There are three categories of critical thinking. There’s beginning, average, and advanced critical thinkers. Beginner critical thinkers tend be lazy thinkers, they are not interested in changing or challenging the way they currently think, and are comfortable with not challenging the sources of their information, of those being, the people closets to them. Average critical thinkers are aware that there are biases that affect information and they are open to challenging their beliefs and thoughts. Average critical thinkers are sometimes aware that their efforts at questioning and evaluating information, are what inhibits them from being advanced critical thinkers. It’s the average critical thinker’s inconsistent efforts that prevent them from consistently drawing sound conclusions. Advanced critical thinkers are constantly aware of the biases in information and use this information to draw more sound conclusions. Advanced critical thinkers question the source and validity of all information and attempt to purge their own biases to increase their ability to make better decisions.
I would say that based on the levels of critical thinking presented by Dr. Ridel in the book Critical Thinking in Everyday life, I’m a level 6 critical thinker. “I try to be careful before I formulate an opining making certain that I thoroughly consider all sides of an issue. I understand that personal biases distort my view of the world and I’m trying to eliminate them from my thinking. I feel good about my thinking process and I’m getting much better at understanding what stops me from thinking critically and working around my barriers” (Ridel, 2015, p. 14). I...