Introduction to Critical ThinkingGXEX1406 Thinking and Communication Skills
What is critical thinking?Cognitive skills and intellectual dispositions needed to effectively:Identify, analyze and evaluate arguments and truth claimsDiscover and overcome personal prejudices and biasesFormulate and present convincing reasons in support of conclusionsTo make reasonable, intelligent decisions about what to believe and what is true
What does not thinking critically look like?Blindly reproducing old learned reactions Blindly accepting face value all justifications of organizations & political leaders Blindly believe TV commercials Blindly trust political commercials Blindly accept and say that if the textbook says it, it must be so Blindly accept and say that if the organization does it, it must be right
What does Critical Thinking Look Like?Contextual sensitivity - being sensitive to stereotypes about people of particular group & accept others at face value unconditionally Perspective thinking - trying to get into other person's head, or walk in others shoes to see the world way that person sees it Tolerance for ambiguity - ability to accept multiple interpretations of same situation
What are the Major Concepts in Critical Thinking?PerceptionAssumptionsEmotionLanguageArgumentFallacyLogicProblem SolvingYou will learn all these major concepts throughout the course
Something else is neededMore to Critical Thinking than just cognitive skillsHuman beings are more than just thinking machines
Need the Critical Spirit(affective dispositions)A probing inquisitivenessA keenness of mindA zealous dedication to reasonA hunger or eagerness for reliable information
Critical thinkers strive for these intellectual standardsClarity PrecisionAccuracyRelevanceConsistencyLogical correctnessCompletenessFairness
Why is Critical Thinking of Value?You can answerwhy of value to you?Whats value of cognitive skills?Whats value of the critical spirit?Would these mean more success at what you do?Would it mean better grades for students?
Grades Yes!1,100 college studentsSignificant correlation between CT scores & college GPACritical Thinking skills can be learnedSignificant correlation between Critical Thinking and Reading Comprehension
Main Purpose of College ExperienceAchievement of liberal (liberated) education. Its aboutLearning to learnLearning to think for ones selfLeads away from nave acceptance of authorityLeads above self-defeating relativismBeyond ambiguous contextualismCulminates in principled, reflective judgment
So..the benefits of critical thinkingIn the classroom.Understand materials you are studyingCritically evaluate what you are learningDevelop your own arguments on particular issuesIn the workplace.Problem-solvingAnalyze information, draw appropriate conclusionsIn LifeAvoid making foolish decisionsHelp to free us from unexamined assumptions, dogmas & prejudices
If critical thinking is so important, why is that uncritical thinking is so common?
Barriers to critical thinkingLack of relevant background informationPoor reading skillsBias PrejudiceSuperstitionPeer pressureFace-savingResistance to changeSelective perceptionRationalizationScapegoating
Cont. (barriers to critical thinking) THE MAJOR HINRANCESEgocentrism (self-centred thinking) Sociocentrism (group-centred thinking) Stereotyping Unwarranted assumptions Wishful thinking
All these play a powerful role in hindering critical thinking
EGOCENTRISM the tendency to view ones own interests, ideas and values as superior to everyones elseSELF-INTERESTED THINKING tendency to accept and defend beliefs that harmonize ones own self-interestSELF-SERVING BIAS tendency to overrate oneself
Are you overconfident in your belief?Activity 1: Make a low and high guess such that you are 90 percent sure the correct answer falls between the two. Your challenge is to be neither too narrow (I.e overconfident) nor too wide (underconfident)The number of Malaysias Internet users(90% confidence range)LOW - ?HIGH - ?
Sociocentrism: group-centred thinkingGroup bias the tendency to see ones own group as being inherently better than othersHerd instinct (conformism) the tendency to follow the crowd
Unwarranted Assumptions & StereotypingAssumption something taken for granted, something we believe to be true without any proof or conclusive evidenceUnwarranted assumption something taken for granted without good reasonStereotyping making a hasty generalization
Wishful thinkingBelieving something not because you had good evidence for it but simply because you wished it were true.Believing something because it makes one feel good, not because there is good rational grounds for thinking it is true.
Activity 2 -Refer to the handout. Read the story and answer the questions that follow:
Answer the following Which one did you choose? Why?As you read, you probably imagined what the characters looked like. From the image you had of them, describe the following characters in a few sentences:The CaptainDr BrownMarie BrownLieutenant Ashley MorgansternLettyEagle-Eye SamWhat is the relationship between Dr Brown and Marie Brown?
Get into your group. Discuss the followingsCompare your responses to Questions 1 & 3? Is there any consensus in the group? Look at your portrait of Dr Brown. How many assumptions did you make about the doctors gender, age, appearance, and profession? What evidence in the story supports your image of the doctor?Look at your portraits of the other characters. What similarities do you find among your group members?
Critical thinkers exhibit a number of traits that distinguish them from uncritical thinkersRead Basshams Critical thinking Chapter 1
In addition to the six cognitive skills, the experts say that something Almost sounds like Sherlock Holmes. The kind of person described here always wants to ask why or how? or what happens if . . .?Difference is Holmes always solved the mystery. No guarantees in real world.So we are certain that good critical thinking skills mean better grades, but . . .Good grades transitory . . . Half-life of technical and professional programs at college level is about 4 years. Limited time value.Not liberal in the sense of a smattering of this and that but . . .
Obviously more to liberal education than CTunderstanding of methods, principles, theories, and ways of achieving knowledgeencounter with cultural, artistic, spiritual dimensions of lifeevolution of decision making to level of principled integrityrealization of ways lives are shaped by global as well as local social, political, psychological, economic, environmental forcesRefinement of human sensibilities through reflection on recurring questions of human existence: love, death, meaning, lifeSensitivity, appreciation, critical appraisal of all that is good and bad in human conditionCT plays a role in achieving all these things.