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So, here’s the thing that I’ve tried out often and I recommend to others, you say something, and somebody you know disagrees angrily or gets angry at you.
So if I’m going to think about something, then I want to think in a way that’s as accurate as possible, and I want to consider factors that are relevant to the issue at hand, and I want to think about it as clearly as I can.
So clear, accurate, and relevant, those are three of the standards of critical thinking, and when you engage in critical thinking, what you do is you consciously, reflectively, pay attention to those standards.
So virtually everything we do involves multiple points of view, and typically we don’t consult them, we don’t look for the other points of view explicitly.
Sometimes we do this naturally, but it’s also good to do it when it doesn’t come naturally, to ask myself: I’m not saying I’ve got to heed, or just go blindly along with how the child is thinking about it, but I do want to be familiar, to understand, how the child might be looking at it, or how the child’s peers might be looking at it. Well, because peers have a great deal of influence on how my child acts, and by understanding that, I have a better insight into what’s going on, and that gives me better ways of addressing questions and issues that might come up with respect to my child.
Other questions I might ask: And my students dislike the question.
They want all the information to be equally important so that they can just study it all for the exam they think they’re going to have.And so there’s a question of whether the thinking that we engage in is critical thinking, or uncritical thinking, and we’re better off if we think things through. Nosich: Well, it’s a big time question, but I can give you a fairly straightforward answer.Thinking things through by the way, seems to me to be a pretty good synonym for critical thinking. So at the foundation for Critical Thinking for instance, we work on what we call the elements of reasoning and these are just eight categories. They’re categories such as assumptions or questions at issue, or concepts or implications and consequences or information, eight of them. And so one way I can get to be a better critical thinker is when I’m thinking through something important, something that matters to me, what I can do is I can go around that circle of elements and ask myself: And I can tell you that when I myself fail to think critically, this is one of the ways in which I most often fail.I think it’s very clear that there aren’t, but if I’m really going to be thinking about that issue, and I may or may not be writing about it, my writing would be much clearer and much more to the point, if I thought hard about: “Well why is it that seemingly reasonable people, many of them, come to the conclusion that they have been abducted by space aliens? So you’ve seen these movies, usually there a crime movie about the police, or it’s a military movie where the captain is addressing a group of 30 people, and he says: “Okay, we’re going to go into this operation and your group are going to go into this from the left, and you’re going to go in from the right, and the others are going to parachute in, and then we’re going to do X, and then you’re going to do Y. ” I have a whole host of questions that come up to the forefront of my mind automatically, but they didn’t always come to the forefront in my mind.What’s going on in their experience or in their lives or in how they’re thinking about it, that’s led them to that belief? I have to practice getting familiar with the kinds of questions.Or if I’m using a particular concept like is this fair?I can ask myself, what do I mean by ‘fair’ in this particular circumstance?Let’s state the obvious: Why is critical thinking important? Nosich: It’s important because it’s essential for just about everything we do. You can be a parent on autopilot, but by and large you’re going to be better off if you’re asking yourself: It would be good for me to check out what are the questions I should ask him or her when my child comes home or when they’re engaged in something that I consider risky.So I’m going to be asking those questions and it will tend to, I’d say strongly, to make me a better parent or a better nurse or a better doctor or a better teacher or a better student. Thinking, just thinking, underlies virtually everything we do.And the third one, which is related to the other two, is that critical thinking by and large needs to be explicit.By that I mean, it’s not just making assumptions, because we’re always making assumptions, accurate or inaccurate, it’s that I need to explicitly focus on what assumptions am I making and what questions should I be asking?