Critical thinking is a way of thinking in which the critical thinkers arrive at conclusion through logical means. It can be viewed as a logical way of arriving at a conclusion. A critical thinker uses reasoning and logic in order to understand the truth as opposed to mere opinions. Skills of critical thinking call for an individual to view issues from a broader perspective and be ready to accept the truth even if it does not conform to one’s belief. With broad opinions and multiplicity of truth expressed in the modern world, critical thinking is essential in order to arrive at logically supported conclusions. Critical thinking requires an individual to be open- minded and to be ready to consider the perspective of others with regard to viewing of issues. Thanks to globalization and the advent of information technology, the world has become increasingly more open. As a result, people have access to unlimited information. In order to unravel the truth and make logical decisions, one requires skills of critical thinking.
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Critical thinking can be understood as a form of rational thinking. Rationality in critical thinking means the ability to examine all known evidence before arriving at a conclusion. A critical thinker is expected to be at ease while considering all evidences even if they do not conform to his or her accepted view. It calls for separation of the truth from emotions and instead relies on concrete facts in order to arrive at a conclusion. As a critical thinker, one is supposed to be non-judgmental and honest in reason.
Paul-Elder Critical Thinking Framework
Critical thinking is essential in an authentic understanding of the world. In making decisions, it is important to have clear understanding of the issues involved. Paul- Elder critical thinking framework is essential in ensuring one arrives at a conclusion in a purely rational manner, free from individual bias. In essence, critical thinking is a mode of thinking that can be used to address any problem or issue. Paul -Elder critical thinking framework can be used to ensure quality of the process. The framework asserts that the first step in ensuring quality of thinking is to identify parts of thinking. An understanding of the Elements of Thinking or Reasoning is essential in becoming a good and critical thinker. Elder identifies eight elements of thought. The first among these is that reasoning has purpose. Apart from having an objective, reasoning is always an effort to solving a problem. In addition, reasoning results from some assumptions with diverse perspectives and relies on evidence. In addition, reasoning is guided by ideas, leads to conclusions and eventually, has consequences.
Soundness of reasoning cannot be based on itself but must be tagged to universal standards. Paul and Elder argue that the quality of critical thinking is determined by an individual’s command of the universal standards. They argue that the standards are essential since they also act as a guide to better reasoning. These standards include significance, clarity, precision, fairness, accuracy. Logic, fairness, and depth breath.
Becoming a good critical thinker is a process. Paul and Elder claim that a consistent application of the universal standards to the elements of reasoning would lead to intellectual trait. Having the traits implies that one is a mature critical thinker and can use logical thinking to arrive and sound understanding of situations. The elders have identified a number of intellectual traits and they include integrity, intellectual empathy and perseverance, courage in reason, autonomy, intellectual courage, and autonomy.
Questions to ask as a critical thinker
Questioning is the foundation of critical thinking. A critical thinker must be able to challenge the conventional understanding of the world in order to arrive at sound conclusion over issues. Questions enables an individual to analyze all the issues surround an issue to make a sound conclusion. The basic questions to ask as a critical thinker are what, who, where, why and when. The questions enable a critical thinker to dig dip into an issue and enable the truth to be exposed. The questions are vital for critical thinker to be able to approach an issue from various perspectives. What tries to clarify the issue being explored. Who tries to provide answers to the people involved in an issue; where seek answer to venue; when explores time factor while why addresses the motives behind an action. Critical thinking calls for viewing an issue from different perspectives and be able arrive at and accept a logical conclusion. This is not possible by accepting opinions at face value, therefore requiring courage to question.