Critical Thinking

What is Critical Thinking? One definition I like is this - "(It is) The art of thinking about your thinking while you are thinking in order to make your thinking better: more clear, more accurate, or more defensible." An Educator's Guide to Critical Thinking Terms and Concepts: Glossary Which would make it Meta-thinking. It is method of employing the logical, rational, left side of the brain, which when combined with the intuitive, creative, right side of the brain, enables one to empower their brains fully and behave "gifted".

Critical thinking skills training can be traced back to the times of Socrates. "Socrates established the fact that one cannot depend upon those in "authority" to have sound knowledge and insight. He demonstrated that persons may have power and high position and yet be deeply confused and irrational. He established the importance of asking deep questions that probe profoundly into thinking before we accept ideas as worthy of belief. He established the importance of seeking evidence, closely examining reasoning and assumptions, analyzing basic concepts, and tracing out implications not only of what is said but of what is done as well. His method of questioning is now known as Socratic questioning and is the best known critical thinking teaching strategy." from A Brief History of the Idea of Critical Thinking © Foundation for Critical Thinking

What is interesting about this is that in channelings of pre-incarnate Indigos, they express a desire for returning to this method of education. In defining the type of education they would like, they said, "We look at your history and are intrigued with the salons of Plato and Socrates. Many of us would like to try that way of learning." - In Channelings On Indigos Channeled by Carolyn Holtgrewe

This implies a major shift in the current paradign of education back to a model of ancient times. "The dominant didactic theory of knowledge, learning and literacy is to teach students what to think so that they learn what the teachers know. In contrast, the emerging critical theory is to teach students how to think so that they can find their own way through the problems and concerns they meet in life." - from "Coaching Winners: How to Teach Critical Thinking" by Bonnie Weaver Duldt

Bloom's Taxonomy

Benjamin Blooms Taxonomy of educational or cognitive objectives, in increasing level of skill, are as follows: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation.

Knowledge is observation and recall of subject matter which may be demonstrated by listing, defining, identifying, showing, labelling, or naming.

Comprehension means understanding the information or "getting it", and may be demonstrated by summarizing or interpreting the information.

Application is the ability to use the information, use methods, solve problems using required skills/knowledge, and use abstractions of the information.

Analysis is seeing patterns and organization and identifying components. This may be demonstrated by ordering, explaining, classifying, comparing, and contrasting.

Synthesis is the ability to put together parts to form a whole, to use old ideas to create new ones. This is demonstrated by generalizing, drawing conclusions, integrating, and inventing.

Evaluation is making judgment about value of something and making choices based on sound arguments. Typical actions associated with this are assessing, grading, judging, discerning, and discriminating.

Logical Arguments

Validity means IF all the premises are true, the conclusion must be true, also. This is also known as a deductive argument. Soundness, on the other hand, means it is a valid argument AND all the premises are true.

Informal Fallacies

A fallacy is an argument that persuades us to believe it even though it is a bad argument either because it is malformed or one or more of the fallacies are false. It is very important to understand these so we can determine when we are being mislead by others to believe something is true that is not. It is good to be able to tell when one is being lied to. It is easy to find these fallacies in commercials of any kind as well as political speeches (unfortunately). Often, however, the person who uses them won't even realize they have used poor reasoning. It is good for children to learn these so they can identify poor thinking from good thinking. This will help them evaluate things they hear as well as their own logic and persuasion. This is good information for parents, also, because they will be able when their children are being manipulative and if the arguments actually have validity or not.

The site Logical Arguments explains all of the different types of Informal Fallacies.


Criticial Thinking Org

Center for Critical Thinking Library for K-12 Educators

Tactical and Structural Recommendations for bringing critical thinking into the K-12 classroom - Excellent ideas for teachers!!!

Critical Thinking Across the Curriculum Project

Mission Critical page San Jose University's Critical Thinking Web Page

Logical Arguments

A Brief History in the Idea of Critical Thinking

Google.Com Search on "Bloom's Taxonomy"

Google.Com Search on "Critical Thinking"

Links to General info about Critical Thinking on