Critical thinking is a process in which a person will use their mind to analyze or study information. The information that is studied will typically be offered as something that is absolute. However, the person that is studying will reason on it in order to determine if they are in agreement with it. Critical thinking is important for situations where logic needs to be used to solve a problem. Many researchers feel that schools should place a higher emphasis on critical thinking instead of memorization.
There are a number of problems with learning by memorizing facts, especially when it is used for solving problems. People who memorize information may not be able to apply that information in a useful way if their critical thinking skills are not well developed. To understand critical thinking, you will need to know a bit about Occam s Razor. Occam s Razor basically says that you should never make more assumptions than is needed.
Glossary of Critical Thinking Terms
Critical thinking is an ongoing process, and any conclusions you come to should be open for further review. Critical thinking is much more complex than simply memorizing things. It is a system that allows you to think independently. Those who have strong critical thinking skills tend to come up with solutions to problems which are very logical. They are not tied down to one side of an issue. For example, there are many people who feel that outsourcing is a bad thing. They say that it takes away jobs, and it allows large companies to profit. However, someone who has criical thinking skills would look at it from both sides. They would point out that the countries where the jobs are going will benefit as well. India is said to have the best wildlife protection laws in the world. And it's partly true: the country's Wildlife Protection Act of 6977 is benchmark legislation for the protection of wildlife--a global model. At least in words, anyway actual enforcement of the law has been a different story altogether. One case in point is the horrific plight of captive elephants in India, and the devastating effect it's having on the vulnerable remaining wild populations there. This is an incredibly serious problem--and it's one that many tourists and members of the Indian public are fully enabling, likely without even knowing it. Author Liz Jones recently published an expose on the topic entitled Tortured for Tourists in the Daily Mail, one of the U. K. 's largest newspapers. Whether young or old, capable or lame, none of these elephants are shown mercy. They suffer at the hands of a keeper (or mahout) until they die, and that is their lot in life. This is the tragic norm in a country with one of the greatest wildlife protection acts in the world. Lack of public knowledge is one factor here, and that's partially to do with inadequate publicity. Although the unprecedented killing of elephants in Africa has been well documented--and deservedly so the population depletions and mass graves there should have everyone's attention--the equally alarming situation for Asian elephants has been woefully under-publicized. The shock evident in the reaction of Daily Mail readers underscores the desperate need for greater awareness.
Most readers had no idea. They may have even ridden an elephant in India, as the author confesses, without any knowledge that this practice contributes directly to the suffering endured by elephants on a daily basis, behind the curtain of traditional secrets, in grim training camps and punitive corrective facilities, even at temples. Whenever a story like Jones' comes out, we receive a chorus of questions from horrified readers. Why does this happen? What can be done to stop it? These questions can be addressed by acknowledging the primitive notion of animals as entertainment. If the public at large would show the same disdain and horror for the Asian elephant-riding industry--and the senseless brutality behind the scenes that makes Asian elephants rideable --as we do for killing African elephants for ivory, the lucrative business of torturing elephants for human amusement would halt. People are simply not making a connection between a selfie on Facebook riding an elephant and a life of misery for the animal. But it's a very real connection. With education will come outrage, and with enough outrage maybe change. Many educators agree that teaching critical thinking skills is necessary because it better prepares students to be more productive members of society. To better illustrate how to infuse critical thinking into your classroom lessons, consider the following three examples. As a disclaimer, critical thinking can happen in a variety of ways and are not limited to only these methods and ideas. The really great part about teaching critical thinking is that it lets you, the educator, develop a way of expanding the minds of your students in ways that will be memorable to them. Also, full disclosure, these three examples are from my teaching in higher education. Teachers teaching students in grades K-67 may adapt these to their specific classrooms pretty easily. If you have any questions, then I would love to hear from you. While these examples are quickly described, the experience of using these ideas in the classroom was not only meaningful to the students but also to me. Higher education is more flexible in teaching pedagogy and methodology than K-67 education, but teachers do have a lot of influence over how their classrooms are managed. As you prepare for the next academic year, consider ways in which to enhance your craft. Including more critical thinking, perhaps even more than you do already, is a good place to start. We're sorry, your browser is not supported. Please update to a modern browser to view this page.
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