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What is critical thinking?

___You know that critical thinking is the process of examining, analyzing, questioning, and challenging situations, issues and information of all kinds.

___You know the elements of critical thinking:

  • Problem/goal identification
  • Diagnosis
  • Exploration
  • Action
  • Reflection
  • Repeat the process

___You know the goals of critical thinking:

  • Finding the truth
  • Considering the context
  • Understanding assumptions
  • Creating alternative approaches

Why is critical thinking important?

You understand that:

___It identifies bias

___It's oriented toward the problem, issue, or situation that you're addressing

___It brings in other necessary factors

___It considers both the simplicity and the complexity of its object

___It gives you the most nearly accurate view of reality

___It is most likely to get you the results you want

Who can (and should) learn to think critically?

___You know that most people can and should learn to think critically

___You know that the many adults who have the capacity for critical thinking, but who haven't been taught and lack the experiences to learn on their own are both most in need of, and most receptive to, learning critical thinking.

How to help others learn to think critically

___You know that learning critical thinking is an irreversible, often frightening process that requires support.

___You understand how to be a facilitator of critical thinking:

  • Affirm learners' self-worth
  • Listen attentively to learners
  • Show your support for critical thinking efforts
  • Reflect and mirror learners' ideas and actions
  • Motivate people to think critically, but help them to understand when it's appropriate to voice critical ideas and when it's not.
  • Regularly evaluate progress with learners
  • Be a critical teacher
  • Make people aware of how they learn critical thinking
  • Model critical thinking

___You know how to encourage the critical stance (i.e. applying critical thinking to whatever you encounter):

  • Help learners recognize and examine their own assumptions
  • Examine information for accuracy, assumptions, biases, or specific interests
  • Consider the context of what you're looking at

___You know how to facilitate problem solving using critical thinking

  • Identify the assumptions behind the problem
  • Challenge those assumptions
  • Imagine alternatives to what you started with
  • Critique those alternatives
  • Reframe the problem and solution