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Methods For Critical Thinking Essay

2164 words - 9 pages

Critical thinking is not a new concept just emerging from the think-tanks and universities that bring us innovative educational concepts. Critical thinking has existed since the days of Plato, Socrates, and other great ancient philosophers. Ancient Greeks believed that critical thinking “not only involved an examination of eloquent words and actions of other people,” as Plato had believed, “but also an examination of one’s own thoughts and actions” (Sriraman & Adrian, 2004, p. 97). Another outspoken advocate of critical thinking was Francis Bacon, a controversial scientist from the early seventeenth century. A non-conformist, Bacon proffered that critical thinking was the “desire to seek, patience to doubt, fondness to meditate, slowness to assert, readiness to consider, carefulness to dispose and set in order; and hatred for every kind of imposture” (Lloyd & Bahr, 2010, p. 1). The concept of critical thinking has played a prominent role in intellectual circles throughout history. An exact definition to be agreed upon by educators and intellectuals alike, has eluded these great thinkers since historical records revealed the idea of critical thinking.
The literature doesn’t seem to offer one consistent definition for critical thinking. Plato, the ancient Greeks, Francis Bacon, and countless other great “thinkers” have contributed their own definition. The various interpretations of critical thinking can help teachers create lesson plans and select the necessary materials for those lessons (Maiorana, 1992, p. 14). Some of those interpretations include: “questioning the assumptions that underlie our habitual ways of thinking”, “reflective digestion”, “reflective inquiry” and “the ability to produce generalizations, see new possibilities, and defer judgment” (Maiorana, 1992, p. 14). The aforementioned definitions all share the commonality of recognizing critical thinking as thinking on a deeper or higher level. Critical thinking requires students to go beyond rote memorization, requires teachers to step outside the lecturer’s box, and requires schools to help teachers implement critical thinking across the curriculum.
The importance of critical thinking has not been dismissed, actually it is one of the few things that educators can agree upon when it comes to critical thinking. Suzanne Mabrouk writes, “If we do not teach and use critical thinking skills regularly with our students, then they will not develop the ability to make informed and responsible decisions in their everyday life” (n.d., p. 3). Envision a high school English class with 25 students…half may go to college, a quarter might not even graduate, and the other quarter might seek employment immediately after high school. One thing each of these students will certainly need after high school is critical thinking skills. Critical thinking prepares students for life in a “democracy” where as workers they will need to implement critical thinking...

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