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The Creative Mind


Running head: Critical Thinking, Active Reading, and Effective Writing

Critical Thinking, Active Reading, and Effective Writing: The Creative Mind at Work Terry Miller Kathy Cole WRT 312 May 12, 2009

Critical Thinking, Active Reading, and Effective Writing: The Creative Mind at Work

The Creative Mind The unexamined life is not worth living. (Socrates) This concept is now known as the Socratic principle, although the initiative of critical thinking is older than this principle. Presently, it seems as if everything is about Critical thinkers and how they shape and convince others. No religious, social, cultural, or educational system has ever survived without being


questioned, especially the educational system. Bernard Shaw said, Education can and should do much to influence social, moral, and intellectual discovery by stimulating critical attitudes of thought in the young. (Cited in Critical thinking needs to be developed, taught and assessed and this has become the essence of our modern education. These skills include the ability to gain knowledge through critical thinking, and then applying that skill and knowledge to the processes of active reading and effective writing. Critical thinking is not possible without giving the brain food for thought. The only way for this mode of thinking to grow is through thinking material, which makes the students raise questions, congregate information and then come to logical conclusions. College teaches us the connection between critical thinking, active reading, and effective writing and the power it gives to creative thought. The influence of critical thinking, active reading, and effective writing makes learning a much more enjoyable experience. Once mastered these skills are valuable in our personal and professional lives. The association between critical thinking, active reading, and effective writing has proven to be an effective tool in stimulating creative thought because it forms a strong base for the coordinated works of the process of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Critical thinking Definitions of Critical Thinking... The term critical thinking along with its definition, keeps maturing. Critical thinking is also known as analytical, creative, and high-order thinking. The definition is also expanding, covering more and more aspects of human nature and its

The Creative Mind improvement. Creativity is the ability to see things in a new and unusual way and to find unique solutions for different problems. College teaches us, critical thinking, active reading, and


effective writing. The connection between these skills facilitates high-order thinking process and life-long learning. There are uncountable definitions of critical thinking, but this definition by Paul, R., and Elder, L (2008 2) stated: Critical thinking is, in short, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and selfcorrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and the mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem solving abilities and a commitment to overcome our native ego-centrism and socio-centrism. Another statement on critical thinking by Seriven, M and Paul, R (1987 2), as defined by the National Council of excellence in Critical Thinking, which is devoted to the subject, gives a much wider definition, which covers the crucial components. This definition still holds true today. Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief or action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness The benefit of critical thinking. As all the definitions of critical thinking focus on preparing the students for their real life problems and making them life-long learners rather than just training them to cope with the college issues. The skills of critical thinking, active reading, and effective writing are valuable, for every person, and predominantly for students.

The Creative Mind Interpersonal skills, critical thinking, problem solving skills, writing skills, and cultural awareness are just a few of the skills and abilities that college graduates in one study rated as essential in their professional lives (Tsui, 2003, p. 321). We all must agree that education should make us good citizens and no doubt, it seems impossible without having the skills of critical thinking. Critical thinking helps a person to consider and develop their arguments more efficiently. Within a degree completion program like Spring Arbor Universitys BSN program it is obvious why critical thinking skills are especially important. The commitment needed to become a good critical thinker is the same commitment required to do well in an educational


program that requires such skills. The variety of classes required, including religion, philosophy, government, political science, and biology, all contribute to making students well-rounded individuals. This wide range of classes helps to improve critical thinking skills, as students are required to consider several different perspectives in many subjects. As students learn and experience these different subject matters, their ability to intellectually evaluate and process information grows. In addition, as critical thinking becomes a daily focus in class, it becomes habit for students to use it in all areas of their lives. In a degree completion program it is assumed that students have already taken most, if not all, of the required liberal arts courses and are now ready to focus on courses directly related to their chosen career path. Therefore, it is important to a students success for critical thinking to be a habit in ones daily life. Being involved in class discussions, evaluating course materials, writing required papers, and in general getting the most out of class times requires the use of critical thinking. Without critical thinking skills honed in college, it would be difficult for many individuals to do well in their careers, including nursing. The foundation for Critical thinking (2009 10) suggests that critical thinkers behave in four distinct ways I have listed two that I believe are the most crucial. They raise vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly

The Creative Mind and precisely; gather and assess relevant information ; and they come to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards. These qualities can be associated with the problem solving and intervention utilized by nurses. As nurses are continually working with communities, organizations, groups, families, or individuals, critical thinking is the most effective method possible in this chosen career field. These skills for the most part guarantee a bright future in any field one desires to join, including nursing. The challenges of critical thinking: There are many challenges associated with critical


thinking for the student and the educational community. Brahler, Quitadamo and Johnson (2002, pp 210) jotted down all the points, which influence the critical thinking skills development. partially owing to large class sizes, limited budgets, time constraints that are perceived not to allow for activities that promote critical thinking, such as in-depth inquiry and small group problem solving, external pressure to prepare students to pass standardized college exams that do not require critical thought. In my situation, the constraint is of time. The quality of our thought gives our life standard. We all indulge ourselves in thinking, but much of it is vague, and bias because we are not born with the ability to think critically, rather this skill needs to be polished and nourished. The critical thinking community, 2009 wrote that, Excellence in thought, however, must be systematically cultivated. Looking at things, open-mindedly and with a different perspective, is very time and energy consuming. I believe this to be my greatest challenge. Since, nurses are often faced with emergencies they have to use the skill of critical thinking at their best because it could mean the difference between life and death. With the Myers-Briggs MBTI Personality Type that we used in Module 1of PSY 310, I learned that as an ENFP I need to stay focused in order to enhance my critical thinking skills. A nurse cannot ignore the fact where he/she went wrong in handling the crisis, for his/her conscience and professional satisfaction a nurse must

The Creative Mind remain focused to be able to make critical decisions effectively. The process of critical thinking


is utilized because it is very easy for a caring person to hear about a situation that needs change and immediately jump in and try to do something, (Suppes, 2003, p.59). Every day is a new experience for me that ends up shaping my critical thinking skills and offers new thoughts and ideas. At this point in my life, I feel that there is a long way to go and the room for growth and improvement is great. I am always in search of new ways to expand my horizons to become a better critical thinker. The application of critical thinking. The curriculum and hard work of teachers might make us critical thinkers but the most crucial need is to master the skill of applying all the critical thinking to a situation. The site critical, recorded that, Critical thinking calls for a persistent effort to examine any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the


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