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The term "critical thinking" began in the mid 20th century. It is an idea that has continuously developed for the past 2500 years. Critical thinking is a type of reflective thinking that helps someone in deciding what to do and how do it without any misconception. Developing the ability to read and understand critically is a very important aspect of education in university study.Critical thinking is a very important aspect in most professions. This essay is designed to help boost your knowledge on the ability to read, understand and evaluate texts critically. It will also help to develop and examine your thinking possibly to the fullest extent.
B.K Beyer has defined who a critical thinker is. His own definition of critical thinkers is that,
"critical thinkers are skeptical, open-minded, respect evidence and reasoning, respect clarity and precision, look at different points of view and will change positions when reason leads them to do so"(Beyer 12).
Researches conducted so far, one can define critical thinking as the process of gathering, interpreting, evaluating and analyzing gathered information, skillfully and actively . It can also be seen as an aspect of someone's life that helps him to go beyond just 'thinking' so as to improve and clarify and improve it.
Critical thinking helps someone to think clearly and rationally. It is also the ability of thinking clearly, independently and reflectively. It is lugubrious that most people misunderstand critical thinking and normal thinking. There is a great difference between critical and normal thinking. Below are some of the qualities of a good critical thinker.
People with good critical thinking skills should be able to:
Think actively and open mindedly
Explores situations with questions
Raise important questions and formulate them clearly
Views situations from different aspects of life
Identify the relevance and advantages of ideas
Supporting his views with evidence
Critical thinking is not all about accumulating ideas. Not all people with good memory, who also have lot of facts are very good in critical thinking. A critical thinker should be able to make good use of what he/she knows to solve various problems, and seek various sources of information in order to inform himself.
Critical thinking should not be compared or mistaken to being argumentative or being able to criticize other people. Though critical thinking skills can be used to expose false information and rumors, it can also play a very important role in cooperative and constructive tasks. Critical thinking helps people to acquire knowledge and strengthen one's arguments. Critical thinking skills can be used to improve social institutions and enhance work processes.
In academics, critical thinking allows people to understand and apply things instead of just remembering and maybe later forgetting them. Being a good student requires thinking critically about what is going on in your school and other institutions. It can be argued that being a good human requires you to learn actively and make choices rationally.
Critical thinking in education also helps people to analyze interpret, observe and explain concepts. Critical thinking also has deep effect to all the learning processes. In our lives, critical thinking is advantageous because it helps us to overcome any form of deception.
Every successful university student is expected to be a very good critical thinker. Critical thinker can be seen as someone who has the ability and capacity to think at a higher level. Students are expected to think critically in such a way that their ideas would provide better life for themselves and the people around them. Lots of people take thinking for granted but it is very important. However, people tend to develop their thinking when they find out their weakness and strengths.
When people think actively in schools, they are not just required to wait for something to happen. It can be said that people are engaging themselves in process of achieving your goal' making their decision wisely and solving or finding possible solutions to their problems.
Critical thinking also comes in when someone is talking about school environment. The school environment is different in terms of physical facilities, opportunities for pursuing academically enriched programs and classroom atmosphere. Students are required to know how to use their critical thinking skills to adapt to their environmental changes. Critical thinking also comes in because young people who really want to succeed are impeded not only by lack of talent or Clichés, but by an academic environment that makes academic success vitally impossible.
Students can also use their skills of critical thinking in examining their results. Examining one's result is a very important aspect in assessing student's plans or ideas. This helps to tell people how particular method of learning has been so far. It also helps to tell if there is need for improving one's learning method, or to introduce a new one.
Critical thinking also applies when someone is in search of competent school mate or class mate. People often find it difficult to search for a reasonable course mate while some others find it difficult in taking care of some academic challenges. This can be improved by attacking the complex course of studying and sharing of ideas between one another and charting each other understands to bring out best results.
When people read textbooks and some other vital materials like legal method, government, history and so on, they are expected to use their skill in critical thinking to consider some notable events and dates as some of these courses like history as mentioned above deals with date and making precise description of the events that is being taught.
In some academic writings specifically English, students are expected to get used to spellings correctly as English language is often seen as the universal language used nationwide for communicating and writings.
Students in the university also use critical thinking when writing of notes and learning actively. People who take and make good note for themselves often success in universities. Some strategies a good college student can use when writing is jotting down main points when a lecturer or a tutor is presenting lectures. These main points mainly serve as a support when someone is trying to read what he must have learnt during the lectures.
College students are also required to use their skills in critical thinking when writing assignments. Most students often plagiarise their assignments from friends, internet or sometimes books which is not advisable. Students often see plagiarism as a minor offence which is not true. Other people refer to plagiarism to as an academic fraud which am sure is true. Plagiarism is really not acceptable for someone to successfully pass and make good grades in the university.
In absence of critical thinking, most university students will not be able to do anything reasonable in their academic environment. Thinking is very crucial to learning. Thinking requires entire personality in people's learning process. As Kabilan rightly observes, "To become proficient in a language learners need to use creative and critical thinking through the target language." Teaching students "how to think" rather than "what to think" is a way of assessing their ways of thinking, researching and learning independently. Critical thinking can therefore help in motivating students to learn and application of their knowledge.
Most lecturers or tutors see students as "empty vessels that needs refilling." They mostly focus on drilling students to memorise notes and make answers readily available. At times, they tend to ignore student's personality. As a result of this, student's critical thinking skill is never fully developed. Most students come into class silent minded and do not participate in the interactive academic sections. This teaching approach is highly criticised by a writer named Paulo Friere who sees it as "the banking approach." Paulo rather suggested a "dialogical approach" method of teaching because he thinks that would be the best.
From the essay above, critical thinking can simply be described as a desirable skill in ALL aspects of university work because it is the only skill that will allow someone's knowledge and skill to develop and evolve. It's necessary for one's:
And lastly, for students whose studies involve a practical component.