Online model for learning the elements and standards of critical thinking

Is this a good argument?

The Elements of Reasoning

Is it biased? Is it verifiable? What are the alternative explanations? Critical thinking moves us beyond mere description and into the realms of scientific inference and reasoning. This is what enables discoveries to be made and innovations to be fostered. For many scientists, critical thinking becomes seemingly intuitive, but like any skill set, critical thinking needs to be taught and cultivated. While the theory of critical thinking can be taught, critical thinking itself needs to be experienced first-hand. So what does this mean for educators trying to incorporate critical thinking within their curricula?

We can teach students the theoretical elements of critical thinking.


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In a 1,person study, four people said their favourite series was Star Trek and said Days of Our Lives. Jeremy is a randomly chosen participant in this study, is 26, and is doing graduate studies in physics. He stays at home most of the time and likes to play videogames.


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  5. Critical Thinking Skills;

What is most likely? Some critical thought applied to this problem allows us to know that Jeremy is most likely to prefer Days of Our Lives. Thus, it is not surprising that student engagement with the critical thinking process itself is what pays the dividends for students. As such, educators try to connect students with the subject matter outside the lecture theatre or classroom. For example, problem based learning is now widely used in the health sciences, whereby students must figure out the key issues related to a case and direct their own learning to solve that problem.

Problem based learning has clear parallels with real life practice for health professionals. Critical thinking goes beyond what might be on the final exam and life-long learning becomes the key. This is a good thing, as practice helps to improve our ability to think critically over time.

Critical Thinking Learning Models

For those engaging with science, learning the skills needed to be a critical consumer of information is invaluable. But should these skills remain in the domain of scientists?

Clearly not: for those engaging with life, being a critical consumer of information is also invaluable, allowing informed judgement. Being able to actively consider and evaluate information, identify biases, examine the logic of arguments, and tolerate ambiguity until the evidence is in would allow many people from all backgrounds to make better decisions. While these decisions can be trivial does that miracle anti-wrinkle cream really do what it claims? Could you give me more details? Could you be more exact? Standard: Relevance relating to the matter at hand How does that relate to the problem?

How does that bear on the question? How does that help us with the issue? Standard: Depth containing complexities and multiple interrelationships What factors make this a difficult problem? What are some of the complexities of this question? What are some of the difficulties we need to deal with? Standard: Breadth encompassing multiple viewpoints Do we need to look at this from another perspective? Do we need to consider another point of view? Do we need to look at this in other ways? Standard: Logic the parts make sense together, no contradictions Does all this make sense together?

Does your first paragraph fit in with your last?

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Critical Thinking Learning Models

Does what you say follow from the evidence? Standard: Significance focusing on the important, not trivial Is this the most important problem to consider? Is this the central idea to focus on? Which of these facts are most important? Standard: Fairness Justifiable, not self-serving or one-sided Do I have any vested interest in this issue? Am I sympathetically representing the viewpoints of others? More Standards: There are numerous other standards that may be applied to elements on a contextual basis. Here are just a few: Completeness, Validity, Rationality, Sufficiency, Necessity, Feasabilty, Consistency, Authenticity, Effectiveness, Efficiency Can you identify others standards relevant to your situation?

Why the Analysis of Thinking is Important Everyone thinks; it is our nature to do so. Thinking, then: generates purposes raises questions uses information utilizes concepts makes inferences makes assumptions generates implications embodies a point of view Simply "Mouse Over" any object on the page to learn more about it. Think About Take time to state your purpose clearly.

Can you teach it?

Distinguish your purpose from related purposes. Check periodically to be sure you are still on target. Choose significant and realistic purposes. State the Question.

How to Apply Critical Thinking Using Paul-Elder Framework

State the question at issue clearly and precisely. Express the question in several ways to clarify its meaning. Break the question into sub-questions. Distinguish questions that have definitive answers from those that are a matter of opinion or that require multiple viewpoints. Restrict your claims to those supported by the data you have. Search for information that opposes your position as well as information that supports it.

CRITICAL THINKING - Fundamentals: Introduction to Critical Thinking [HD]

Make sure that all information used is clear, accurate and relevant.