Critical Thinking/Reflection

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Assessing both critical thinking and the reflection process in learning, these aspects are both intertwined. Without one, you cannot have the other. With the use of critical thinking and reflection this thought process allows us to analyse, assess, evaluate, learn and develop arguments. However this can have a twofold affect in the learning process. The learning process means taking many aspects and perspectives into account to establish an argument. Critical thinking draws on questions such as: how, what, when, why and who to determine the quality of an argument and also the credibility. Although without critical thinking a conclusion cannot be drawn. Barriers to critical thinking must also be questioned, whether these are: doubt, criticism, lack of methods, critiquing, assumptions or the conclusion. When evolving in the learning processes one must be careful not to be biased and link own experiences. Although this can sometimes be accepted as the thought process involved with critical thinking, evaluating arguments and learning.

When critically thinking about an argument are we restricted to our own experiences? Our own experiences can help us to develop a better understanding of an argument. This thought process can also help us to find a meaning to our own experiences and draw on a range of different feeling and beliefs. With the link between our own experiences and the critical thinking process, it can also let us determine the difference between what is right and wrong. When evaluating an argument, our experiences have such an affect that we must learn from these and make changes to better our critical thinking, learning process and argument. This has been described through (Dewey, 1993, as cited by Pavlovich 2007, pg 282) “active, persistent and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it and the further conclusions to which it tends.” Due to our own restrictions on both experiences and the learning process we can only portray what is already learnt, experienced or believed. This can impact on learning process and arguments as these aspects are usually hard to change. When we are learning we need to use the critical thinking process to evaluate our level of understanding and strategies when developing an argument. By doing this it allows one to revise, assess and determine a better understanding. The critical thinking process enables the learning process through “free expression and creativity, supporting strategic approaches to learning.” (Moon, 1999, as cited by Pavlovich 2007, pg 286). Mental processes in learning development such as attention, judgment, selection and motivation are all part of the reflection and critical thinking process that make the learning process more fulfilling and challenging when developing an argument. Through this we can see the importance of reflection within critical thinking and also on development of an argument. Cottrell, Stella (2005) states “People who are outstanding at critical thinking tend to be particularly self-aware. They reflect upon and evaluate their personal motivations, interests, prejudices, expertise and gaps in their knowledge.”

Critical thinking barriers that may prevent us are also prevalent.

Barriers that affect critical thinking help us to evaluate, asses and more accurately depict and argument. These do not always have a negative effect on the learning process but are in place to enable a deeper level of understanding. This is described by (Cottrell, Stella, 2005) as “helps you to make better and more informed decisions about whether something is likely to be true, effective or productive.” Good critical thinking skills in the learning process bring numerous benefits such as: improved attention, ability to identify key points in an argument, improved responses and skills to analyse an argument more effectively. Criticism is one barrier that may be viewed in a negative light; however...
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