Steps For Critical Thinking

Steps For Critical Thinking-86
Unreflective thinkers are largely unaware of the appropriate standards for the assessment of thinking: clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, logicalness, etc.Skill in Thinking: Unreflective thinkers may have developed a variety of skills in thinking without being aware of them.

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We exclude from our concept of the critical thinker those who think critically in only one dimension of their lives.

We do so because the quality of one’s life is dependent upon high quality reasoning in all domains of one’s life, not simply in one dimension.

Knowledge of Thinking: Unreflective thinkers lack the knowledge that high quality thinking requires regular practice in taking thinking apart, accurately assessing it, and actively improving it.

In fact, unreflective thinkers are largely unaware of thinking as such, hence fail to recognize thinking as involving concepts, assumptions, inferences, implications, points of view, etc.

Once the stages are explained, and stage-specific recommendations are given, we close with some global implications for instruction.

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We make the following assumptions: (1) that there are predictable stages through which every person who develops as a critical thinker passes, (2) that passage from one stage to the next is dependent upon a necessary level of commitment on the part of an individual to develop as a critical thinker, is not automatic, and is unlikely to take place “subconsciously,” (3) that success in instruction is deeply connected to the intellectual quality of student learning, and (4) that regression is possible in development.Defining Feature: Unreflective thinkers are largely unaware of the determining role that thinking is playing in their lives and of the many ways that problems in thinking are causing problems in their lives.Unreflective thinkers lack the ability to explicitly assess their thinking and improve it thereby.Each stage of intellectual development will be explained in terms of the following variables: Due to space limitations, we have made no attempt to be exhaustive with respect to any stage, nor to answer the many questions that might be raised concerning the development, reliability or validity of the stages.The basic intention is to provide a practical organizer for teachers interested in using a conceptual map to guide student thinking through developmental stages in the process of becoming critical thinkers.Here are some ways to sharpen your critical thinking skills. Know what is happening as well as what is not happening is essential. So often successful projects are the result of genuine collaboration where people build on each others’ ideas and contribution so that the net result is a synthesis, not the product of a single mind.Senior managers who are good at their jobs do this intuitively. Debating alternatives takes time but it is so necessary. If there is one area of critical thinking that is overlooked, it is reflection. I remember interviewing the late Skip Le Fauvre, the former president of Saturn Corporation, about finding time for reflection. Reflection need not be saved for outcomes; it is often wise to evaluate the process as it applies to progress.However, these skills are inconsistently applied because of the lack of self-monitoring of thought.Prejudices and misconceptions often undermine the quality of thought of the unreflective thinker.We simply need to manage our virtual time more wisely so we can invest time on thinking how to do our jobs with more forethought as well as attention.John Baldoni is an internationally recognized leadership development consultant, executive coach, author, and speaker.


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