“The foundation for good critical thinking is knowledge and knowing.”
The ability to acquire and process knowledge, create meaning from and utilize that knowledge requires intelligence. Intelligence consists of three sets of abilities. 1. Problem solving & practical skills 2. Verbal ability 3. Social competence
Problem Solving & Practical Skills The ability to:
Identify connections among ideas
See all aspects of a problem
Take interest in the world
Keep an open mind
Being able to speak clearly
Conversing well, which includes good vocabulary.
Being knowledgeable about important subjects.
Social Competence Being able to:
Accept others for who they are.
Admit ones own mistakes.
Have a social conscience, which will help decide between wrong and right in society.
Be sensitive to peoples needs.
According to Jean Piaget, “Intelligence is adaption”. Adaption relates to the skills that allow you to adapt to different environments. It is both physical and symbolic. Physical adaption involves adaption to different kinds of environments. Symbolic adaption involves one’s ability to communicate your needs and desires with others.
Intelligence can be divided into three parts, known as the Triarchic Theory of Intelligence. 1. Analytical Intelligence- Learned knowledge which helps people think critically and problem solve. 2. Creative Intelligence- Involves insight and the ability to react to situations. Shows how an individual connects the internal world to the external reality. 3. Practical Intelligence- The ability to grasp, understand and solve life’s problems.
Literacy used to be known as one’s ability to read and write. We can no longer label someone literate or illiterate based on if they know how to read and write. With all the technological advances these days a person must be literal in the following areas: Functional Literacy-Includes everyday tasks such as filing out an application, figure a home budget, balance a checkbook and relate to others. Media Literacy- Is the ability to be in control of what we watch, read and listen to and make sure we don’t believe everything we see and hear. Information/ Reference Literacy- The ability to understand data from textbooks to spreadsheets to information from the internet. Cultural Literacy- Being able to understand history, philosophy, and art.
Studies have proven that half of the U.S is lacking in English literacy skills! …This involves basic, everyday matters…
How humans process information: Psychologist Joy Paul Guilford describes the five operations our brain goes through when processing information. They are cognition, memory, divergent and convergent production and judgment.
Cognition is recognizing and understanding information and data in all forms. Memory is the process of associating what you already know with new information. Memory is a big part of intelligence because without it the, the new information you learn will be useless. Divergent Production is coming up with different options based on the cognitions you already have. It includes abilities such as creativity and flexibility. Convergent Production is the decision making stage. It involves taking the cognitions and alternatives produced and forming the best possible conclusion. Judgment is making an evaluation of the final outcome.
These five operations help us realize that thinking is not something that happens randomly. Rather it is an organized way of processing information so that action could be taken and can help us make informed decisions.
The way we make decisions is also complex and broken down into five patters of thinking. These patterns include Emotional thinking process, logical thinking process, vertical thinking process, horizontal thinking process and of course, the critical thinking process.
The Emotional thinking process involves more of our emotions and less of our mind. These are decisions we make because they feel good.
The Logical thinking process involves fact based decisions. These are decisions we make because the facts justify the decision.
The Vertical thinking process is a step by step procedure that depends on organized written instructions.
The Horizontal thinking process involves a creative, unconventional way of making decisions. This is the ability to chose from a variety of choices.
The Critical thinking process involves analyzing the given information and taking many factors into consideration before making a decision.
Which age group do you fall into?
Different age groups have different ways of thinking and making decisions (which sure does explain a lot!) People who age from between 12-17 tend to accept conclusions from authority figures such as parents and teachers. There is hardly any independent thinking involved. People who age between 18-21 make decisions based on what feels good. They disregard logic and listen to their emotions. 22-25 year olds start maturing and think that nothing is certain, everything is just based on interpretation. (Being 22 I feel this is very true!) From the age of 25 and over thinking is done by using logic, reason and emotions.
By following these few stepswe can become Intelligent Critical Thinkers at almost any age…
Act intellectually curious
Know how to use stories effectively
Lean how to handle confusion
Be able to control emotions
Be sensitive to others needs
Learn to distinguish between what is true and what one would like to be true
Seek point of views (other than your own) when arguing.
And most importantly….
Lean to admit when you are wrong!
What Have We Learned?
That critical thinking requires one to be intelligent.
One to adapt to different environments.
One to be able to process information thoroughly and effectively.