CRITICAL THINKING STAGES
To develop as thinkers, one must pass through stages of development in critical thinking. Significant gains in the intellectual quality of a person's work will be achieved when critical thinking is properly cultivated and only through predictable stages. If one is to progress through these stages, critical thinking must be learned. The following assumptions should be made:
(a) that there are predictable stages through which every person who develops as a critical thinker passes; (b) that passage from one stage to the next is dependent upon a necessary level of commitment on the part of an individual to develop as a critical thinker, is not automatic, and is unlikely to take place "subconsciously"; (c) that success in instruction is deeply connected to the intellectual quality of student learning; and (d) that we can not expect students to develop as critical thinkers unless we bring critical thinking into instruction at the foundation level. Before moving to the implication for each of these stages, a definition of critical thinking is in order. A working definition of critical thinking is "the ability and disposition to improve one's thinking by systematically subjecting it to intellectual self-assessment." ________________________________________
Stage One: The Unreflective Thinker
It is perfectly possible for an individual to graduate from high school, or even college, and still be largely an unreflective thinker. Though all people think, most people are largely unaware of how their thinking is structured or how to assess or improve it. Thus, when they experience problems in thinking, they lack the skills to identify and "fix" these problems. Stage Two: The Challenged Thinker
It is important that individuals recognize both that they are thinkers and that their thinking often goes awry. People must learn the parts of thinking and the intellectual standards necessary to assess...
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