Guide To Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is that mode of thinking – about any subject, content, or problem — in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them. The Paul-Elder framework has three components: According to Paul and Elder (1997), there are two essential dimensions of thinking that students need to master in order to learn how to upgrade their thinking.

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Excellence in thought, however, must be systematically cultivated.

A Definition: Critical thinking is the art of analyzing and evaluating thinking with a view to ­improving it.

Rebecca Plante defines critical thinking and what it means to be a critical thinker.

She introduces tools to use to achieve a broader, sharper, more precise, and ultimately more beautiful way of understanding the world around us.

Yet the quality of our life and that of what we produce, make, or build depends precisely on the quality of our thought.

Shoddy thinking is costly, both in money and in quality of life.

It requires rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use.

It entails effective communication and problem solving abilities and a commitment to overcoming our native egocentrism and sociocentrism. Check periodically to be sure you are still on target. 2) All reasoning is an attempt to FIGURE something out, to settle some QUESTION, solve some PROBLEM.

© 2008 Foundation for Critical Thinking Press The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools The Elements of Thought Point of View frames of reference, perspectives, orientations Implications and Consequences Purpose goals, objectives Elements of Thought Assumptions presuppositions, axioms, taking for granted Concepts theories, definitions, laws, principles, models Question at issue problem, issue Information data, facts, observations, experiences Interpretation and Inference conclusions, solutions Used With Sensitivity to Universal Intellectual Standards Clarity  Accuracy  Depth  Breadth  Significance Precision Relevance © 2008 Foundation for Critical Thinking Press The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools A Checklist for Reasoning 1) All reasoning has a PURPOSE. • • • • State the question at issue clearly and precisely.

Express the question in several ways to clarify its meaning and scope. Distinguish questions that have definitive answers from those that are a matter of opinion and from those that require consideration of multiple viewpoints. • Clearly identify your assumptions and determine whether they are justifiable. • Seek other points of view and identify their strengths as well as weaknesses.

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