Use Critical Thinking

Use Critical Thinking

Some people use the term, “Critical Thinking”, to mean good thinking. The more specific meaning of the word is  Thinking About Thinking.

If you read a book or article critically (this does NOT mean criticising it), you evaluate the thinking of the author. The author’s thinking might be excellent, poor, or somewhere in between.

If you are asked to write a critical essay, you should be evaluating the thinking of the various authors you read on the topic.

Critical Thinking in High School

If you attend an excellent high school, teachers are likely to mention critical reading, writing or thinking. In most high schools, they will not. They often tell students to think carefully but aren’t very clear about how to think.When you need to think about something, you should rely on Critical Thinking.

What is Critical Thinking?

To many students, critical thinking sounds difficult. It isn’t hard. We just need to know what it means.

A food critic eats meals at different restaurants and evaluates them in various ways, speed and friendliness of service, appearance and taste of food, and the atmosphere and cleanliness of the restaurant.

When you evaluate thinking, you should look at four main categories.  Is the thinking  Clear, Reliable, Logical and Fair.?

Federico, the man in the picture, read an article on the future of computers and mobile devices. He Young man in white shirt is thinkingmust write a critical evaluation of the article. He does not need to agree or disagree with the author.

His task is to examine and critique the author’s thinking.

1. He will decide if the purpose of the article was Clear and the conclusion is clearly stated. The language should not be ambiguous or exaggerated.

2. He needs to decide if the sources were Reliable and if there were other sources the author should have consulted. Ae his statistics believable or does he say that everyone who reads this book knows that… You know that everyone will not know this.

3. He will analyze the author’s reasoning to see if it is Logical. Does he use real evidence or rely on a few examples and opinions? If he does use serious research, ask yourself if the research is relevant and really leads to these conclusions.

4. He will ask himself if the author was Fair. He will look for examples of bias, over-generalizations, and assumptions. He will decide if the author considered all points of view. .

Critical Thinking will be helpful for the rest of your life.

You can use it now. You will certainly need to use it in college. It will improve your reading, writing and research skills and help you make better grades on tests.  And, in many different kinds of work, critical thinking is extremely important. The more you use critical thinking, the easier it will be for you. It’s like reading between the lines.

This article says that “four out of five doctors said that —-”   and you should wonder how many doctors he talked to.  If he says that “Research shows —-”  you should wonder what research. If there is research that proves something, you would expect the author to give details.

You, as the reader should be able to separate the facts from opinions, wishful thinking, and total fantasy. Practice critical thinking now and, when you ge to college, you’ll be one of very few students who knows what it means and how to use it.


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