Critical Thinking Skills

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Meaning

Critical thinking clarifies goals, examines assumptions, discerns hidden values, evaluates evidence, accomplishes actions, and assesses conclusions.

"Critical" as used in the expression "critical thinking" connotes the importance or centrality of the thinking to an issue, question or problem of concern. "Critical" in this context does not mean "disapproval" or "negative." There are many positive and useful uses of critical thinking, for example formulating a workable solution to a complex personal problem, deliberating as a group about what course of action to take, or analyzing the assumptions and the quality of the methods used in scientifically arriving at a reasonable level of confidence about a given hypothesis. Using strong critical thinking we might evaluate an argument, for example, as worthy of acceptance because it is valid and based on true premises. Upon reflection, a speaker may be evaluated as a credible source of knowledge on a given topic.

Critical thinking can occur whenever one judges, decides, or solves a problem; in general, whenever one must figure out what to believe or what to do, and do so in a reasonable and reflective way. Reading, writing, speaking, and listening can all be done critically or uncritically. Critical thinking is crucial to becoming a close reader and a substantive writer. Expressed most generally, critical thinking is "a way of taking up the problems of life."[2]

"Fluid Intelligence" directly correlates with critical thinking skills. You are able to determine patterns, make connections and solve new problems. When you improve your critical thinking skills you also improve your fluid intelligence which also helps increase your problem solving skills and deep thinking elements. All of these skills relate to one part of the brain, and the more you use them the easier it will be to put your skill to the test. [edit] Skills

The list of core critical thinking skills includes observation, interpretation, analysis, inference, evaluation, explanation and meta-cognition.

There is a reasonable level of consensus among experts that an individual or group engaged in strong critical thinking gives due consideration to:

* Evidence through observation
* Context of judgment
* Relevant criteria for making the judgment well
* Applicable methods or techniques for forming the judgment * Applicable theoretical constructs for understanding the problem and the question at hand

In addition to possessing strong critical thinking skills, one must be disposed to engage problems and decisions using those skills. Critical thinking employs not only logic but broad intellectual criteria such as clarity, credibility, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, significance and fairness.[3] [edit] Procedure

Critical thinking calls for the ability to:

* Recognize problems, to find workable means for meeting those problems * Understand the importance of prioritization and order of precedence in problem solving * Gather and marshal pertinent (relevant) information

* Recognize unstated assumptions and values
* Comprehend and use language with accuracy, clarity, and discernment * Interpret data, to appraise evidence and evaluate arguments * Recognize the existence (or non-existence) of logical relationships between propositions * Draw warranted conclusions and generalizations

* Put to test the conclusions and generalizations at which one arrives * Reconstruct one's patterns of beliefs on the basis of wider experience * Render accurate judgments about specific things and qualities in everyday life

In sum:

"A persistent effort to examine any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the evidence that supports it and the further conclusions to which it tends."[4] [edit] Example thinker

Irrespective of the sphere of thought, "a well cultivated critical thinker":

* raises important...
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