What Is Critical Thinking and How Can It Help You

Critical thinking is described by The Critical Thinking Company as the identification and evaluation of evidence to guide decision making and that a critical thinker, according to Daniel Kurland, is a person who uses broad in-depth analysis of evidence to make decisions and communicate his/her beliefs clearly and accurately.

There are many skills associated with critical thinking including:

  • the ability to think rationally rather than emotionally,
  • the ability to be self aware so that we are able to determine the impact of another person's motives and biases as well as recognizing these traits in ourselves; and
  • the ability to have an open and honest mind that can identify emotions, deceptions and inferences suggested in a communicated message.

Dan Kurland describes critical thinkers as being by nature, skeptical and people who tend to react to information by asking questions and thinking about what is being presented to them, as opposed to a person who passively accepts information he/she is given. One way this can help you as a student is for you to imagine yourself in the role of a professor who has the skills to question all forms of information that is presented to you within a critical and analytical framework. By imagining yourself as a tutor as opposed to a student, you are allowing yourself to consider the implications of a communication as well as the content from a superficial viewpoint. This type of role playing can be quite empowering especially when you note how much more excited you might be about learning simply by giving yourself permission to question what is put in front of you.

To become a critical thinker you need the following skills:

  1. You must be rational rather than emotional
  2. You must expect information to be substantiated with logical evidence
  3. You must be self-aware so that you can assess the impact of motives and bias
  4. You must be able to think honestly so that you can recognize deception in both self and others
  5. You must be open-minded so that you can consider all possibilities in a situation and be able to consider all alternative interpretations of any information you are asked to accept as valid
  6. You must be disciplined so that you can ignore emotive and persuasive language
  7. And finally you must have sound judgment and be able to recognize the validity of evidence when it is presented to support any information you are required to accept, even if this information goes against your traditional viewpoint.

Learning to become a critical thinker can help you explore new topics and areas of information to the point where you will become a student of life, for life, rather than simply a university student trying to get a passing grade. In either way, critical thinking is your help with essay writing

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