It seemed like something that my teachers just expected us to pick up in the course of our studies.
While I venture that a lot of us did learn it, I prefer to approach learning deliberately, and so I decided to investigate critical thinking for myself.
Our brains naturally use heuristics (mental shortcuts) to explain what’s happening around us.
This was beneficial to humans when we were hunting large game and fighting off wild animals, but it can be disastrous when we’re trying to decide who to vote for.
The value of critical thinking doesn’t stop with college, however.
Once you get out into the real world, critical thinking matters even more.
A critical thinker is aware of their cognitive biases and personal prejudices and how they influence seemingly “objective” decisions and solutions. Becoming aware of them is what makes critical thinking possible.
A great way to get “unstuck” on a hard problem is to try reversing things.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but my teacher was giving a concise summary of critical thinking.
What they will expect, though, is for you to be able to think; to know how to make connections between ideas and evaluate information critically.