How To Learn Critical Thinking Skills

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In this view critical thinking is specific to an area of expertise and can be developed and applied within a specific range of situations and scenarios. People can therefore be good at critical thinking in one domain, but bad in others.

I suspect that when most people refer to critical thinking, and the need to improve critical thinking within schools, they are referring to the former definition of critical thinking as a general ability.

Use a variety of thinking tools to improve critical thinking 4.

Identify types of argument, and bias within arguments, in order to better evaluate the strength of arguments 5.

People can therefore be good or bad critical thinkers.

Another way of defining critical thinking is as a domain specific skill.Critical thinkers start by asking questions about whatever is in front of them. You can learn almost anything on the Internet, but it's not the only place to do your research. Try to be as aware as possible of those filters and biases, and turn them off. Not everyone involved will have thought the situation through as critically as you have.No matter what walk of life you come from, what industry you’re interested in pursuing or how much experience you’ve already garnered, we’ve all seen firsthand the importance of critical thinking skills.In fact, lacking such skills can truly make or break a person’s career, as the consequences of one’s inability to process and analyze information effectively can be massive.Does this mean that we can’t teach critical thinking as a domain general skill? An excellent article by van Gelder (2005) summarizes some key lessons from cognitive psychology that can help guide instruction on critical thinking (2). For example, I’m a cognitive psychologist who happens to enjoy science fiction.I have many well formed opinions about the nature of memory and conscious experience and how they are represented in popular media like Westworld, The Matrix, and Ghost in the Shell. However, my ability to think critically about cognitive psychology in these movies/shows does not necessarily mean I can think critically about the cinematography or directing. Or that I can think critically about software or computer programs (outside of turning it off and on again, I’m pretty useless). Or that I can think critically about any number of things outside of my very specific areas of training and experiences. Arguably one of the most valued and sought after skills that students are expected to learn is critical thinking.The ability to think critically, and by extension solve problems and exercise effective decision making, is highly prized among employers and academics.


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