Many researchers, including Facione, Simpson and Courtneay, Banning, Brookfield, Ornstein and Hunkins, Sternberg, Ennis, and Lipman, have defined critical thinking (CT).
Researchers debate whether critical thinking can be learned or if it's a developmental process regulated by motivations, dispositions, and personality traits.
At Two Rivers Public Charter School in Washington, D.
C., for instance, educators aim to empower students with improved critical thinking skills.
It tested 244 adults, ages 19 to 28, in three areas: IQ, critical thinking, and “an inventory of life events.” The critical thinking survey measured everything from hypothesis testing to problem-solving, and the inventory tallied “negative” events in every aspect of life including borrowing money to gamble, causing a car accident, and having unprotected sex.
This brings us back to schools because it is their responsibility to help prepare kids for the future, and one of the goals of our country’s education system should be to provide students the ability to reason through problems and situations in effective ways.
Simpson and Courtneay point out that critical thinking processes require active argumentation, initiative, reasoning, envisioning and analyzing complex alternatives, and making contingency-related value judgment.
Brookfield asserts that identifying and challenging assumptions and analyzing assumptions for validity are essential to critical thinking skills.
He also suggested that because critical thinkers possess curiosity and skepticism, they are more likely to be motivated to provide solutions that resolve contradictions.
For a number of years, dental educators thought teaching problem-solving skills was akin to teaching critical thinking skills.