Critical thinking makes reference to the ability of an individual to make an analysis with the ultimate objective of developing a judgment. The subject of critical thinking has been widely subjective with many definitions being coined with notable references being made to the evaluation of factual evidence and rationality coupled with unbiased analysis (Mariano & Figliano, 2019). Critical thinking assumes that an individual possessing such skills have achieved rigorous excellence standards such that they can mindfully command the use of critical thinking. In the modern world, critical thinking is a vital topic necessitating an understanding of what critical thinking is as well as why it is important and how it can be used.
Numerous schools of thought have fronted differing definitions of critical thinking with many of them alluding to critical thinking as a way of thinking reflectively usually with a focus on decision making. Further studies have brought out critical thinking as an ability as well as the willingness of an individual to make an objective assessment of claims that are founded on sound reasoning (Siegel, 2017). As such, critical thinking has to have an element of finding defects in arguments coupled with a rejection of claims that are not accompanied by substantive supporting evidence.
Further studies point out that critical thinking works a long way to encourage a constructive and creative way of generating possible explanations for any findings while having in-depth thinking of the potential implications of such findings. Subsequently, critical thinking encompasses the application of a new body of knowledge to the numerous problems that plague society as well as individuals. Following such insightful descriptions, it would pose a challenge to dissociate critical thinking from creative thinking noting that questioning what is form the foundation for imagining what could.
Therefore, distinguishing between opinions and facts, making detailed observations, asking questions, and uncovering assumptions define critical thinking. Additionally, making statements based on solid evidence and logic would entail critical thinking. Furthermore, the idea of critical thinking invokes great curiosity, open-mindedness, flexibility, and honesty while facing personal prejudices. Usually, it would require a reasonable choice of criteria, persistence while seeking discovery, and focusing on inquiry while seeking relevant information. As such, in order to clearly define critical thinking, it can be concluded that critical thinking is founded on accuracy, relevance, and clarity coupled with precision as well as consistency.
Skills in critical thinking
As it has been explained earlier, critical thinking can be viewed as a process involving a methodical way of thinking about ideas usually from varying angles. Therefore, the process of critical thinking incorporates several skills most notably observation, evaluation, and application skills.
Importance of critical thinking
Critical thinking can be viewed as more than a concept but rather a model which can be used on a real-life basis to build efficiency and success. One pivotal importance of critical thinking is saving on time. Critical thinking helps individuals note that not every bit of information has relevance in making decisions. Therefore, critical thinkers save time given that they are able to extract relevant information from the irrelevant. Individuals are able to create priorities with regard to resources and time through analyzing as well as evaluating only what is important to the decision making process. Furthermore, critical thinking involves the creation of innovative ways to circumvent through problems thus consuming lesser time.
Diverse approaches to problem-solving
Another significant importance of critical thinking is the ability to use diverse approaches to finding solutions. Critical thinking according to Siegel (2017) makes it known to individuals that there is more than one way of arriving at a solution. Subsequently, individuals are able to critically evaluate the varying approaches to problem-solving. Therefore, it is not mandatory to rely on the universal or standard method of solving certain problems but rather critical thinkers can identify and employ valuable approaches to finding solutions which prove important in boosting success rates.
Seeing beyond worldviews
The importance of critical thinking in helping individuals to see beyond the worldviews cannot possibly be ignored. Arguably, critical thinkers develop a way of empathizing and appreciating other people’s opinions and points of view. Through such appreciating, critical thinking facilitates the viewpoint of beyond cultural norms, judging and prejudices since there exist an understanding of the numerous factors that are significant in influencing decision-making. Subsequently, formidable relationships are created that enhance leadership and team working.
Communications is one of the most crucial aspects of human life noting that many activities are dependent on the effectiveness or lack of it while passing information (Siegel, 2017). Critical thinking skills shape the analysis and evidence building skills making individuals who possess such skills become effective communicators who can make relevant and consistent points in support of their ideas. Clearly understanding the information that one is sending is a pivotal part in effective communication.
How is critical thinking used?
Studies show that critical thinking forms a paramount part of human life and may be one of the most sought after skills in different disciplines. In the workplace, critical thinking is a valued skill noting that employers want employees who can accurately and with clarity evaluate data and facts to make informed decisions as well as solve problems (Mariano & Figliano, 2019). Employees who are critical thinkers can be trusted by their bosses to make rational decisions and therefore do not need a lot of supervision. In busy healthcare facilities, for example, nurses with critical thinking skills are able to swiftly evaluate clients and make informed decisions on care plans consequently improving care quality. On another note, managers who are critical thinkers scan through customer feedback and organize training for employees on how to improve customer services to remain profitable and maintain as well as attract customers.
Learning processes extensively require the application of critical thinking. Educators are continuously encouraging their learners to develop critical thinking skills in their learning processes (Mariano & Figliano, 2019). Learners possessing critical thinking skills are able to preview texts enabling them to organize it prior to actual reading. Skimming through introductory material helps learners to understand the general idea of long materials which can yield nearly half-comprehension. Additionally, learners are able to contextualize readings, create questions, and make reflections through comparing as well as evaluating arguments.
Often, critical thinking is misjudged for criticism. However, closely looking at the dimensions of critical thinking, it can be argued that critical thinking applies logic to understand facts for subsequent decision making, unlike criticism that judges merits and shortfalls based on perceptions. Critical thinking has the ability to revolutionize everyday life creating need to understand it as well as its importance and how it can be used in daily encounters.
Mariano, G., & Figliano, F. (2019). Handbook of Research on Critical Thinking Strategies in Pre-Service Learning Environments. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
Siegel, H. (2017). Education’s Epistemology: Rationality, Diversity, and Critical Thinking. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.