what is critical thinking?
Critical thinking is an on-going concern with the problems inherent in human thinking. It leads to the historical art of analyzing and evaluating thinking with a view to improving it. It includes, but is not exhausted by the mental process of analyzing or evaluating information, particularly statements or propositions that people have offered as true. It includes, but is not limited to, a process of reflecting upon the meaning of statements, examining the offered evidence and reasoning, and forming judgments about the facts.
Critical thinkers can gather such information from reflection, observation, experience, reasoning, and/or reading, writing, speaking and listening. Critical thinking has its basis in intellectual criteria that go beyond subject-matter divisions and which include: clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, logic, significance, fairness.
Within the framework of scientific skepticism, the process of critical thinking involves acquiring information and evaluating it to reach a well-justified conclusion or answer. Part of critical thinking comprises informal logic. However, a large part of critical thinking goes beyond informal logic and includes assessment of beliefs and identification of prejudice, bias, propaganda, self-deception, distortion, misinformation, etc. Given research in cognitive psychology, some educators believe that schools should focus more on teaching their students critical thinking skills, intellectual standards, and cultivating intellectual traits (such as intellectual humility, intellectual empathy, intellectual integrity, and fair-mindedness) than on memorizing facts by rote learning.
The key to seeing the significance of critical thinking in the classroom is in understanding the significance of critical thinking in learning. To learn is to think. To think poorly is to learn poorly. To think well is to learn well. All content, to be learned, must be intellectually...