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We often refer to critical thinking as someone who can think very clearly, with reason and complex ideas. This is somewhat true. Yes that does help to begin and mend a critical thinker but critical thinking also includes a combination of skills. Those main characteristics are self awareness, honesty, open-mindedness discipline, and judgment. Using these characteristics daily and with practice develops an amazing critical thinker. That person can live life solving hard problems, creating new ways of solving them, and using new ideas and techniques when needed.
Over time I realize that language and conversation is what shapes us and keeps society together. Without it we would not be stable enough to continue to survive and we would get no where. Using language and conversation is one way to develop our critical thinking. One example would be in class; Mr. Slakey gave us a list of words we had to associate to whether it was negative or positive. Everyone had a different answer, not everyone agreed at first. But through conversation we found a common ground. Using these lists of words allowed us to evaluate with our own perspective on the subject, all while using critical thinking and reasoning to make our own decision. In this process we were honest with our selves, and using judgment from our past experiences while reflecting on them in order to decide and make up our minds.
It is in our nature to be a critical thinker. Everyone can achieve it, but some overlook this next way. By using all our senses to evaluate the world around us is our natural way by using our eyes to see, our nose to smell the different variety of smells, our hands to feel, our tongue to taste, and our ears to hear. The reason why our senses are a big part of developing critical thinking is because our senses help us navigate around the world. Through our sense we are able to understand why things are the way they are, and it something does not seem right the first thing we use is our senses to understand a problem. A critical thinker would notice whether there was a problem or issue by using their senses and through those exact senses would fix it. Whether it is fixing a flat on a bike, realizing you hurt someone’s feelings or even writing an essay, all these tasks are done with the senses.
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Rationality is the state of having or exercising reason, and sound judgment (Discipline). We think critically when we rely on reason rather than our emotion, and personal issues. It requires evidence and any evidence that is found is taken into account and used-- not to be avoided. Follow the evidence where it leads, and be concerned with finding the best explanation to the problem rather than just thinking your right. I developed rationality by analyzing and asking questions about possible problems and issues that arises in my everyday life (Kurkland). Another is self-awareness, the state of having knowledge about ones self and intentions (Discipline). We are conscious and informed of what we can do, what we are doing, and what is going on around us. We are thinking critically when we weigh the influences of our true motives by recognizing our own assumptions, prejudices, biases, or point of view and fixing them in order to be a well rounded person (Kurkland) .
Honesty is the state of being upright and fair. In order to get a true sense of thinking we need to be honorable in our principles, our intentions, and our actions (Discipline). So when we are honest we are thinking critically when we recognize emotional impulses, selfish motives, wicked purposes, or any other modes of self-deception (Kurkland). In order to have honesty there is open-mindedness which is the state of having or showing a mind receptive to new ideas or arguments (Discipline). We are thinking critically when we are being unprejudiced towards others views, and evaluating all reasonable conclusions by considering a variety of possible viewpoints and perspectives. Remain open to alternative interpretations by evaluating new explanations or models, because they may explain the evidence better, simpler, have fewer inconsistencies or covers more data. Open-mindedness is to accept new priorities in response to a reevaluation of the evidence or reassessment of our interests, and do not reject other possible answers and explanations along the way (Kurkland).
Discipline is the state in which training to act in accordance with rules. Exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training the mind (Discipline). We are thinking critically when we are precise, comprehensive, resist manipulation irrational appeals, and avoid snap judgments. In saying that in order to fully think critically we need judgment (Kurkland). Judgment is very important, it is the state in which the ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in matters affecting action; good sense; and discretion (Discipline) .We are thinking critically when we recognize the relevance and merit of alternative assumptions and perspectives. Recognizing the extent of each and weight of the evidence allows us to mend our judgments fully and correctly (Kurkland).
By following these steps will allow anyone to become a critical thinker. To critically think is to put yourself outside your own consciousness and look at situations from other perspectives and other point of views. This will enable anyone to find new ways of achieving anything or doing anything. We all have some form of critical thinking but we must work at it for it to be better, and not malnourished, because our thinking is what makes us who we are and keeps us sane!
"Discipline." “Open-mindedness.” “Self-awareness.” “Honesty.” “Rationality.”
Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, LLC. 2011.Web. 23 May 2011.
Kurkland, Daniel J. How the Language Really Works: The Fundamentals of Critical
Reading and Effective Writing. Ed. Daniel Kurkland. N.p., 2000. Web. 23 May 2011.