Now class, just think!

Gee, would it not be great if all students at NWTC were required to take Thinking Critically and Creatively — when I was in my formative schooling years – the teacher would say–“Now class, just think!” OK – I would scrunch up my face, look upwards, and place my finger by my mouth – now I was thinking.

In my thinking critically and creatively classes, we focus on chapter 2 – what is critical thinking? along with discussing the meaning and implications of the following – well it is a start— in your classes do you implement critical thinking skills on a regular basis or spend more time lecturing — pouring information into their heads instead of lighting a fire inside? (Plutarch or Yeats?)  Lecturing can be deadly — it is like Narcissus who was s0 captivated by his reflection in the pool, that he turned into a flower.

Here are some exercises for your reflection and?

Exercise 2: review this critical thinking quotation – informative or not?

“Critical thinking is skeptical without being cynical. It is open-minded without being wishy-washy. It is analytical without being nitpicky. Critical thinking can be decisive without being stubborn, evaluative without being judgmental, and forceful without being opinionated.” Facione, Think Critically, 2013

Why Critical Thinking? Discuss the following—agree/disagree – explain. Aside from taking this course, have you ever given serious thought to your thinking processes, and what is critical thinking?

The Problem: Everyone thinks; it is our nature to do so. But much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed or down-right prejudiced. Yet, the quality of our life and that of what we produce, make, or build depends precisely on the quality of our thought. Shoddy thinking is costly, both in money and in quality of life. Excellence in thought, however, must be systematically cultivated.

A definition: critical thinking is the art of analyzing and evaluating thinking with the idea of improving it.

The Result: A well cultivated thinker:
1. Raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely
2. Gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively
3. Comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards
4. Thinks open -mindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as need be their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and
5. Communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems
Conclusion: critical thinking is, in short, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It requires rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem solving abilities, and a commitment to overcoming our native egocentrism and sociocentrism.

Exercise 3: Stages of Critical (moral) Thinking Development – what stage(s) best represent you at this point in your life? Explain.

  1. Unreflective Thinker – we are unaware of significant problems in our thinking.
    2. Challenged Thinker – we are faced with significant problems in our thinking.
    3. Beginning Thinker – we try to improve but without regular practice.
    4. Practicing Thinker – we recognize the need for regular practice.
    5. Advanced Thinker – we advance in keeping with our practice.
    6. Master Thinker – good habits of thought are becoming second nature.


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