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Thinking is a term that we use its roughly describes good thinking clear thinking. Thinking. Its thinking.
Thats goal directed. Its the kind of thinking we use when were solving a problem making a decision deciding whom to trust. What to do those sorts of things when youre thinking critically.
Youre using the particular skills of critical thinking. And youre using them in a way thats going to make it more likely that youre going to get the good outcome that youre looking for critical thinking is essential. Its really making decisions based on the best ways.
We can think its avoiding some of our common biases and fallacies. If you look at virtually every school. They claim that in their mission statement they encourage critical thinking virtually every university.
I think just about every survey of employers says what they want most in the people theyre hiring and in their current employees is the ability to think well and to communicate clearly. But you really cant communicate clearly if your thinking is not clear muddy.
Thinking will never lead to good communication. So really good thinking is at the heart of everything. Were doing technology is changing vastly how would the kinds of tasks that were responsible for the world is changing.
Very very rapidly and the skills and habits that we have today are simply not going to work its in a quickly evolving workplace. Its important to teach critical thinking in schools. Because it really requires very deliberate kind of instruction critical thinking is not something that necessarily happens as a byproduct of our everyday education.
Students really need to be able to identify critical thinking skills to be able to define them. And then know how to use them and when to apply them across a whole variety of situations and domains so theres a number of skills students can learn them and when they can learn them and apply them appropriately theyll have better outcomes. Theres plenty of room for improvement in how our schools are teaching critical thinking certainly.
Everyone believes theyre doing it. But if you ask for good definitions of exactly what theyre doing youre going to get a wide range of answers. I think we need im going to be doing a much better job.
The research has shown that when you teach explicitly for thinking skills. And you teach them in a way that will generalize.
So that would let me give you an idea of what i mean by some of these skills. Some common ones. Would be for example not confusing correlation and cause now.
Almost everyones going to say that their students know that but in fact of the students then recognize it when theyre out of school. When theyre on the job when theyre reading. The newspaper and apply it appropriately so they need to be able to label it identify it recognize the conditions.
When its needed and then use it and use it away from school. So if theyre reading. The newspaper and it says kids who go to preschool are better readers than kids who didnt do they automatically start thinking well it doesnt mean that preschool paused.
It it could be a correlation because wealthier kids go to preschool those sorts of things so they actually apply it other examples might be avoiding hindsight bias. You know in retrospect things thought they must have been much more avoidable that in fact they were at the time. The decision was made it could be things like regression to the mean understanding.
How that operates across a whole variety of domains. Looking for reasons.
Looking for evidence that supports a conclusion looking for counter evidence being open you know looking at the credibility. Theres huge amounts of information available. I were drowning in it.
But we have to be able to know whats credible and whats not credible when were getting our information. So its a whole list. I have these lists of skills in several of my books you learn the skill learn how to generalize it and learn how to use it in a way that transfers across disciplines and over time.
Ive really specialized in the area of adult critical thinking teaching it really in the universities and colleges. But also a lot of workplace training as well theres no reason why it cant be learned we can always become for example better writers. So that skill would transfer to whatever were writing better at oral communication.
Better at math and similarly. We can always become better at critical thinking. I think that we can always keep improving and the evidence is that with appropriate instruction adults can become better critical thinkers.
I think its also important to remember that billions of dollars are spent on quackery medical claims on consumer items that are completely worthless incredible number of scams and certainly critical. Thinking skills should help us become much less susceptible to a lot of those lures similarly. We really need to have a critical thinking general public and to have a democracy irrational think thinkers irrational voters are a threat to all of us so supporting and citizenship and its important in the workplace.
And its important at home. .
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