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When it comes to critical thinking, we often have a hard time defining exactly what it is. There are scholarly answers; for example, critical thinking means making reasoned judgments that are logical and well-thought out. It is a way of thinking in which you do not simply accept all arguments and conclusions you are exposed to but rather have an attitude involving questioning such arguments and conclusions. It requires wanting to see what evidence is involved to support an argument or conclusion (Tatsimi, 2018, p.5) Then there are more simplified definitions like, Critical thinking is thinking openly and reasonably about what to do or what you feel. Despite its many definitions critical thinking is just our ability to analyze and evaluate an issue to form a better judgement that may sometimes require making reasoned decisions that are logical and well-thought out. It can require different skill sets and abilities depending on the situation. When done effectively critical thinking can be the best and most efficient way to solve any problem that we are faced with in life.
Critical thinking is applicable whenever need arises to resolve a challenge. This happens regularly in all workplaces at all levels of leadership. Without the ability to think critically, leaders are susceptible to poor decision making which negatively impacts, sometimes seriously so, business performance. To mitigate the risk of poor decision making, high-performing organizations rely heavily on their leaders to be critical thinkers. When a leader encounters a problem that is a new one, they may be able to use critical thinking to solve those problems. Therefore, employers often require new hires to be able to think critically. Although it is a skill that can be taught it serves the company/organization better when a potential employee already knows how to accesses this skill and use it effectively.
Critical thinkers often possess many skills, but the most prominent ones that applies to me and my workplace is the ability to analyze a situation, and effectively communicate with my students, parents, and fellow faculty members. As a Middle School Interventionist who teaches grade level six through eight, I must diffuse and address issues before they escalate. I interact with all kinds of attitudes and issues, most of which stem from misunderstandings; thus showing that communication is key. Communication to me is the second most effective skill to obtain in my field of work. Although I may know how to properly analyze a situation if I can’t thoroughly communicate the situation to other employees there can easily become a misunderstanding. Critical thinking in combination with good communication gives me the ability to sit down at meetings with parents and students and effectively analyze the problem, explain the problem, and come up with ways to solve the problem. It also ensures that I have good relations with other faculty members so that we become better leaders and role models for our students.
I require my students to be critical thinkers, which will help foster the skill set to apply reading and writing strategies to all their area subjects. Having these qualities, will help build their knowledge and develop the essential literacy skills needed for their college and career readiness. “5 Ways to Develop Critical Thinking Skills” by Mackenzie Masten (2017) highlights the need for teaching critical thinking in the classroom and examines the roadblocks created that stifle our ability to do so. When attempting to teach critical thinking in classrooms school standardization often poses a threat to the very idea. There is a temptation to teach rote memorization and treat learning like a box the students need to check off; thus, creating students who can’t think beyond the answers directly given to them. Learning was never designed to be a checklist and students should be taught critical thinking as a standard skill for life. Students develop deeper understanding when they have time to struggle (Masten, 2017, p.3). That time to struggle is what gives the students the opportunity to think critically about the problems they often need to solve. The same level of critical thinking, I require from my students, knowing how to think strategically also applies outside of school and the workplace.
Tradition of research into critical thinking reflects the common perception that human thinking left to itself often gravitates toward prejudice, over-generalization, common fallacies, self-deception, rigidity, and narrowness (“Our Concept and Definition of Critical Thinking”, 2019, p.8).” When applying critical thinking in the real world, you must keep an open mind to all the views of life. Rather it is race, religion, politics, sex, and gender orientation. Having self-confidence to be able to view other people’s thoughts, opinions and beliefs with no bias, will allow you to have the ability to reason with clarity and not be judgmental. This is an essential skill to have when you work with people from all over the world. Without this it would be difficult for anyone to break down racial, physical, mental, or even language barriers. The reason we are all able to communicate with one another via the internet and even though the cellphone is because someone used their critical thinking skills to assess a problem and came up with a solution. A solution that now allows us to break down the previously mention barriers, with more ease than before.
Not all people who critically think possesses the same qualities and skills. The skills that I find most efficient in my workplace may not apply to anyone else. Since I have the potential to critically think with the above skills, I can become more useful for my team members and the students. I can analyze both sides of a situation and even the data generated by my students. I have the potential of communicating what I expect from my students and how I think my team members can get better for our students. I have the expertness of being able to identify any issue, big or small, and implementing a well put together plan to resolve the issue. I feel that having the ability to properly analyze, communicate, and problem solve have and will continue to make me a more effective leader in my workplace, as well as in my life.
- Matsen, M. (2017). 5 Ways To Develop Critical Thinking Skills. Retrieved from http://inservice.ascd.org/5-ways-to-develop-critical-thinking-skills/
- Our Concept and Definition of Critical Thinking (2019). Retrieved from https://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/our-conception-of-critical-thinking/411
- Tatsumi, A. (2018). Teaching critical thinking in the language room. Retrieved from https://www.cambridge.org/elt/blog/2018/04/04/teaching-critical-thinking/
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