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This essay will argue why critical thinking is the most successful skill used for study in the university .In the university various skills are needed to be embraced by one to achieve utmost flourishing out of one's academic career, but one skill stands apart and poses distinguishable features that set the foundation for other skills to build positively in ones learning process. This skill is referred to as critical thinking and brings us to the question what is critical thinking?
Critical thinking has been defined by many scholars over recent times. According to Michael scriven (1997) states," critical thinking is skilled and active interpretation and evaluation of observations and communications, information and argumentations".
He observed that critical thinking involved thorough investigation of ideas and theories, engaging in arguments and forming adequate conclusions on each subject matter presented before him or her.
Another author John Dowey (1990) defined critical thinking as" an active, persistent, and careful consideration of a belief or supposed form of knowledge in the lights of the ground which support it and further conclusions to which its ends" (p.9) and also saw critical thinking as a process of reflective thinking.
He was of the opinion that critical thinking was an active process which implied you thinks things through yourself, raise questions and find out information yourself rather than learning in a largely passive way .
The process of critical thinking enables one not to take anything for face value but simply dig deeply into it understanding it and forming your own beliefs and theories.it is not just what the writer presents to you but how and why did he arrive to those theories.it also involves metacognition. During critical thinking one has to ascertain the criteria of credibility, access arguments and must be prone to logical fallacies. The activity of critical thinking in large part aims to expose this objectives and public aspect of the argument. Thus when Socrates responds to Protagoras he is implicitly subjecting his antagonist's claim to one litmus test of cogent argument: reasonableness. In fact, Protagoras claim fails this test. It's self-contradictory. Critical thinking involves logical reasoning and all other academic skills are also important for study in the university.
Academic skills such reading skills, writing skills, listening skills, lecture skills, being an independent learner, exam preparation skills are all sets of skills that if a student thoroughly abides by its principles is on his way to an un ending success throughout his staying at the university.
Reading skills at the university throws more emphasis on academic reading rather than leisure reading.it exposes one to various skills such as skimming, scanning, detailed reading skills so that when one is reading academically he should be able to pick out information quickly and be more efficient while reading.it also enlightens one to the gains of active and critical reading and the perils and storms of passive reading.it also educates one to reading critically and reflecting back to your reading .
Writing skills at the university also throws more prominence to academic writing.it exposes one various writing techniques such as punctuation, presentation of writings, standardization and arrangements of writings so that written work could meet up to standards and expectations and also expose students to essay writings, letter writings and journal writings so that upcoming graduates would be able to meet up to challenges in various organizations and every sector of the economy.
Lecture skills provides students at the university the various techniques used for getting the very best after lecture has been conducted.it makes emphasis on seminal before classes, reading before classes, taking notes in class all spur a student to attain and achieve as much as he can in each lecture.
Exam preparation skills, provides lecture on the various skills to be used by university students so that they can come out top of their game at any exam taken place not only I the university but also external examinations .
Independent learning skills provides students with the various abilities of managing the learning.it educates students on the management of time setting challenging but attainable goals, being motivated to learn and also constant reflection on your learning process.
Notwithstanding the various relevance of the various academic skills, experience as shown countless number of times that critical thinking forms the basis of procedure for other academic skills to operate. All other academic skills depend on critical thinking one way or another. As described earlier despite the various impact of reading skills to a university under graduate academic career which enables him to assimilate and pick out relevant information from a text, much emphasis is being made on critical reading which involves high application of the principles on critical thinking which enables the reader to understand the passage thoroughly without only attaining the passive meaning of the writer. Also in writing skills also relates to critical thinking. Many believe'' critical thinking is a precondition for writing a good essay ''this has further being analyzed and explained that during writing an essay , letter or a journal one need to read and think critically of the meaning of the essay question, understand what the examiner wants from the writer before writing the essay.
Critical thinking also relates to exam preparation skills and independent learning skills in the same manner as writing and reading skills. It helps a student to think apprehensively about the exam questions and provide suitable answers for each question. Independent learning skills also makes reference to critical thinking in the line of making decisions, setting attainable goals and reflective learning.
Other academic skill have relative importance to a student in the university as they have contributed effectively to him or hers academic career has explained above but critical thinking has proven to be the most successful skill for a student to excel at the university due to the following reasons
First and foremost the state of education in the university varies with the level of philosophy and assessment of the students. The current model suggests students who can rehearse a series of memorized facts will recall those facts once the test is complete and will have learned what is supposed to have learned. Critical thinking gives students the capability to understand, assimilate and digest knowledge of whatever is being taught during lecture and classes also while reading academically get the most out of every item assimilated.
Secondly, Critical thinking skills encourages students in the university to think for themselves, cultivate hypothesis, interrogate existing hypothesis and also put this hypothesis to test against already known facts facts.
Thirdly, critical thinking will aid university students differentiate arguments based on firmly grounded proof from those that float along on misconception or wishful dreams. Although other academic skills depend on mental maturity and education, even young children have the basic capacity to think critically, although they may not get much credit for it. We once know about a fourth grader who when told ancient Greece was the ''cradle of democracy'' replied, ''but what about women who were disenfranchised? Was Greece a democracy for them? That certainly critical thinking and one can begin to develop accurate points about Greek civilizations.
Many university students have been able to form get right answers but cannot form rational argument for it or see through ambiguous advertisements that play on their emotions. They may not know how to access a political proposals or candidate or come up with fruitful solutions to their problems but critical thinking enables one to make rational and adequate decisions at the right time.
Fourthly, critical thinking is not unessential in ordinary life, but also fundamental to all science and is particularly relevant in department of psychology in the university. For one thing, the field itself includes the study of reasoning, problem solving, creativity, and other aspects of critical thought. It also involves the study of impediments to clear thinking such as human propensity for justification, self-deception, and misperception. Many scientists need to generate many competing findings on hot topics of personal and social relevance, such as addiction, memory, sexual orientation and role of genetics in behavior; people need to critical thinking helps students to evaluate these findings and their possible implications.
In conclusion Critical thinking cannot provide answers to all questions in the university and other life quandaries. Moreover critical thinking is a process, not a once-and -for -all accomplishments. No one ever becomes a perfect critical thinker entirely not affected by some kinds of emotions. We are less open minded to think we can poke in another man's argument than to critically examine our own positions. According to philosopher Paul Richards (1984) points out, critical thinking is really ''fair-mindedness brought into the heart of everyday life''