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Discuss the Attributes (skills and Attitudes) of a Critical Thinker and Their Application in Successful University Learning

Autor:   •  June 21, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,021 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,636 Views

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In this essay I will discuss the attributes, skills and attitudes of a critical thinker and how the application of these attributes can help with successful university learning. I will consider work by Karen Warren, Stephen Brookfield and my own experiences. This examination leads me to the thesis that when applying the attributes of a critical thinker in the day to day of university learning, university learning is successful.

Critical thinking is the recognition and assessment of facts to guide decision making. A critical thinker uses comprehensive in-depth examination of evidence to make conclusions and convey their beliefs clearly and accurately. The main points of a critical thinker are; open-minded and mindful of another possibility, tries to be knowledgeable and up-to-date, evaluates the integrity of sources, identifies conclusions, explanations, and suppositions, judges well the value of a case, including the suitability of its reasons, assumptions, and evidence, asks suitable explicatory questions, articulates reasonable theories; describes terms in a way suitable for the situation and draws conclusions when necessary. When Critical thinking, Creative thinking and Content knowledge, are in place, they assist with reflective thinking. Reflective thinking can be described as the method of refining professional skills by observing our own actions while they are being carried out, then assessing them by talking or writing about them. As Warren states “Critical thinking involves skills and dispositions aimed at deciding what to do or believe.” ¹ My own experiences as a correctional officer, a mother and a student allow me to be open-minded and to make sure that any information I may pass onto a second party is accurate and up to date. I need to be up to date with changes in legislation, policies and procedures when it comes to my professional life. Also in my professional life being a critical thinker is a necessity. I deal with situations where people get hurt and I need to determine, who, what, where, when and how. According to Brookfield “Critical thinkers are sometimes portrayed as cynical people who often condemn the efforts of others without contributing anything themselves.” ² I could see how this could be perceived, being strong willed and seeing the world as open and impressionable, can give non critical thinkers the view that the critical thinkers are anti-social, instead of understanding that they just see the world differently. With all the above mentioned qualities of a critical thinker, there also come’s limitations. The first would be as Warren states “The critical thinking self is a socially constructed, historically situated and socioeconomically fashioned self.” ¹ With this my understanding is that to be a critical thinker we need to draw on our gender, race, ethnicity, social class and geographical location. Everybody is different, so the way they are brought up into thinking about situations


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