Dr. Shadia Yousef Banjar http://wwwdrshadiabanjar.blogspot.com
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Everyone thinks …..
Everyone thinks; it is our nature to do so. But
much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased,
unclear, partial, uninformed or down-right
prejudiced. Yet the quality of our life and that
of what we produce, make, or build depends
precisely on the quality of our thought. Poor
thinking is costly, both in money and in
quality of life. Excellence in thought,
however, must be systematically cultivated.
- Richard Paul
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Critical Thinking History
•Socrates – 400 BC
2,500 years ago Socrates established the
importance of asking deep questions,
seeking evidence, analyzing basic concepts
before we accept ideas as worthy of
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• Search for meaning
• Search for truth
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•Plato, Aristotle, Greek skeptics
Plato, Aristotle, and Greek skeptics
emphasized that things are often very
different from what they appear to be and
that only the trained mind is prepared to see
though the way thing look to us on the
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In the middle ages
•Thomas Aquinas (Sumna Theologica)
Thomas Aquinas (Sumna Theologica)
ensures that his thinking met the tests of
critical thinkers by answering criticisms of his
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15th & 16th C.
(Colet, Erasmus, More in England)
started thinking critically about religion, art,
society, human, law, and freedom.
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Francis Bacon in England
• wrote The Advancement of Learning,
the 1st book in critical thinking.
•argued for the importance of studying
the world empirically.
•laid the foundation for modern science
with his emphasis on the information-
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• Father of the Scientific Method
• “We must become as little children in order to
enter the kingdom of science”
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•Descartes in France
50 years later •Sir Thomas More in England
Descartes in France
• wrote the 2nd book Rules for the Direction of the Mind
- developed a method of critical thought based on the
principle of systematic doubt.
•In the same period, Sir Thomas More:
- developed a model for a new social order Utopia in
which every domain the present world was subject to
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16th &17th C. Hobbes & Locke
- not to accept the traditional cultural beliefs
dominant in the thinking of their day as being
rational and normal.
- everything in the world should be explained
by evidence and reasoning.
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17th & 18th C.
• Robert Boyle & Isaac Newton in Chemistry &
• other French thinkers in sociology & politics
Adam Smith produces Wealth of Nations in
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• Darwin's Descent of Man in the biological
domain focused on the history of human
culture and the basis of biological life
• Sigmund Freud study in the unconscious
•Plus other studies in the Anthropological &
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•Number of thinkers have increased in every
domain of human thought and within which
reasoning takes place.
•Dewey – 1930’s
•Ennis – 1980’s
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• Critical thinking is “reasonable, reflective
thinking focused on deciding what to believe or
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Ennis - Actions a learner usually
must take in order to think critically
• Judge the credibility of sources
• Identify conclusions, reasons and assumptions
• Judge the quality of an argument including the
acceptability of its reasons, assumptions, and evidence
• Develop and defend a position on an issue
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Ennis - Actions a learner usually must take in
order to think critically
• Ask appropriate clarifying questions
• Plan experiments and judge experimental designs
• Define terms in a way appropriate for the context
• Be open-minded
• Try to be well-informed
• Draw conclusions when warranted, but with caution
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Students in school should be taught
how to think critically. Classes should
be designed based on reasoning and
rational grounds and not as series of
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What Is Critical Thinking?
“Critical thinking is the ability to apply reasoning and
logic to unfamiliar ideas, opinions, and situations.
Thinking critically involves seeing things in an open-
minded way. This important skill allows people to look
past their own views of the world and to adopt a more
aware way of viewing the world.”
What is Critical Thinking?
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HOW DO YOU DEFINE CRITICAL
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Definition of Critical Thinking
•Critical thinking means correct thinking in the
pursuit of relevant and reliable knowledge
about the world.
•Another way to describe it is reasonable,
reflective, responsible, and skillful thinking
that is focused on deciding what to believe or
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•Critical thinking is to know to stop for red lights or
information well enough
not being able to process
whether you received the correct change at the
• Such low-order thinking, critical and useful though it
may be, is sufficient only for personal survival; most
individuals master this.
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•True critical thinking for higher-order thinking,
enabling a person to,
judge between political candidates, serve on a
murder trial jury, evaluate society's need for
nuclear power plants, and assess the
consequences of global warming.
• Critical thinking enables an individual to be a
responsible citizen who contributes to society, and
not be merely a consumer of society's
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•questions, who thinks critically can ask appropriate
gather relevant information, efficiently
and creatively sort through this information, reason
logically from this information, and come to reliable
and trustworthy conclusions about the world that
enable one to live and act successfully in it.
• Children are not born with the power to think
critically, nor do they develop this ability naturally
beyond survival-level thinking. Critical thinking is a
learned ability that must be taught. Most individuals
never learn it.
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•students by peers or by most parents. reliably to
Critical thinking cannot be taught
•necessary andimpart the proper information and
knowledgeable instructors are
•scientificthinking canapplied by ordinary
be described as the
people to the ordinary world.
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• This is true because critical thinking mimics the well-known
method of scientific investigation: a question is identified, an
hypothesis formulated, relevant data sought and gathered,
the hypothesis is logically tested and evaluated, and reliable
conclusions are drawn from the result.
• All of the skills of scientific investigation are matched by
critical thinking, which is therefore nothing more than
scientific method used in everyday life rather than in
specifically scientific disciplines or endeavors.
• Critical thinking is scientific thinking.
A scientifically-literate person, such as a math or science
instructor, has learned to think critically to achieve that level
of scientific awareness. But any individual with an advanced
degree in any university discipline has almost certainly learned
the techniques of critical thinking.
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• Critical thinking is the ability to think for one's self and
reliably and responsibly make those decisions that affect
• Critical thinking is also critical inquiry, so such critical
thinkers investigate problems, ask questions, pose new
answers that challenge the status quo, discover new
information that can be used for good or ill, question
authorities and traditional beliefs, challenge received
dogmas and doctrines, and often end up possessing power
in society greater than their numbers.
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• It may be that a workable society or culture can tolerate only a
small number of critical thinkers, that learning, internalizing, and
practicing scientific and critical thinking is discouraged. Most
people are followers of authority: most do not question, are not
curious, and do not challenge authority figures who claim
special knowledge or insight. Most people, therefore, do not
think for themselves, but rely on others to think for them. Most
people indulge in wishful, hopeful, and emotional thinking,
believing that what they believe is true because they wish it,
hope it, or feel it to be true. Most people, therefore, do not think
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• Critical thinking has many components. Life can be
described as a sequence of problems that each
individual must solve for one's self. Critical thinking skills
are nothing more than problem solving skills that result
in reliable knowledge. Humans constantly process
information. Critical thinking is the practice of processing
this information in the most skillful, accurate, and
rigorous manner possible, in such a way that it leads to
the most reliable, logical, and trustworthy conclusions,
upon which one can make responsible decisions about
one's life, behavior, and actions with full knowledge of
assumptions and consequences of those decisions.
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A GOOD CRITICAL THINKER
Raymond S. Nickerson (1987) characterizes a good critical thinker in
terms of knowledge, abilities, attitudes, and habitual ways of
Here are some of the CHARACTERISTICS of such a thinker:
uses evidence skillfully and impartially
organizes thoughts and articulates them concisely and coherently
distinguishers between logically valid and invalid inferences
suspends judgment in the absence of sufficient evidence to support a
understands the difference between reasoning and rationalizing
attempts to anticipate the probable consequences of alternative actions
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understands the idea of degrees of belief
sees similarities and analogies that are not superficially apparent
can learn independently and has a long-lasting interest in doing
applies problem-solving techniques in domains other than those
in which learned
can structure informally represented problems in such a way that
formal techniques, such as mathematics, can be used to solve
can strip a verbal argument of irrelevancies and phrase it in its
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habitually questions one's own views and attempts to
understand both the assumptions that are critical to those views
and the implications of the views
is sensitive to the difference between the validity of a belief
and the intensity with which it is held
is aware of the fact that one's understanding is always limited,
often much more so than would be apparent to one with a
recognizes the fallibility of one's own opinions, the probability
of bias in those opinions, and the danger of weighting evidence
according to personal preferences
This list serves to indicate the type of thinking and approach to
life that critical thinking is supposed to be
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Critical thinking is the art of analyzing and
evaluating thinking with a view to improving it.
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• Critical thinking
–A set of conceptual tools used to make
• Intellectual skills and strategies
• Reasonable process
–A mental ability
• Disciplined intelligence
• Problem solving
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Why Critical Thinking?
“It is human irrationality, not a lack of knowledge that threatens human
potential” (Nickerson cited in Kurfiss, 1986).
It . . .
• underlies listening and speaking, reading and writing, the basic language
• plays an important part in social change. All institutions in any society:
courts, governments, schools, businesses, are the products of critical
• plays a key role in technological advances.
• frees the human mind from false beliefs and deceptions.
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Who Uses Critical Thinking?
• STUDENTS !!!
• Athletic coaches
• Air Traffic Controllers
• Military Commanders
• Lawyers, Judges
• Day Care Workers
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W ho SH O U LD think critically?
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Types of thinkers
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Novice Versus Expert Thinker
• Expert thinkers
– Quickly identify relevant information.
– Can formulate a solution with “sketchy” information .
• Novice thinkers
– Consider all information equally important.
– Develop hypothesis, test hypothesis.
– Cannot focus on central issues.
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Cultivated Critical Thinkers
Well cultivated critical thinkers:
• are able to raise vital questions and problems, as well as
formulate and present them clearly.
• can gather and assess information and interpret it
• can reach well-reasoned conclusions and solutions to
problems while testing them against relevant criteria
• can be open-minded.
• can communicate effectively with others in figuring out
solutions to complex problems.
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Benefits of critical thinking
Critical thinking empowers and improves
chances of success
• in a career
• as a consumer
• in social roles in our community
– personally, essential to personal autonomy
– socially, essential to democratic system
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• Teaching for critical thinking takes more time
• Teaching for critical thinking will reduce the
amount of “material” covered.
• Teaching for critical thinking is not popular
with students in the beginning.
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How Can One Become a Critical Thinker?
• By asking pertinent questions
(of self as well as others);
• By listening carefully towhat
others, thinking about
they say, and giving feedback;
• By assessing statements and
arguments; • By observing with an open
• By developing a sense of
observation and curiosity; • on makinglogic and solid
By assertions based
• By becomingsolutions; in
• By sharing ideas with others;
• By examining and opinions
• By becomingreader;
and weighing them against listener and
• By developing a “thinker’s • By engaging in active reading
vocabulary”. and active listening!
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Critical thinking begins when you
question beyond what is given.
You want to know more:
• how something happens,
• why it happens, and further
• what will happen if something changes.
Critical thinking therefore requires a conscious level of
processing, analysis, creation and evaluation of possible
outcomes, and reflection.
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If you’re a critical thinker,
•You are willing to examine your beliefs, assumptions,
and opinions and weigh them against facts.
• You are willing to evaluate the generalizations and
stereotypes you have created and are open to change,
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Critical thinkers listen carefully.
•If you’re a critical thinker, you listen carefully to what
others are saying and are able to give feedback.
•You are able to suspend judgment until all the facts
have been gathered and considered.
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Critical thinkers look for
•If you’re a critical thinker, you look for
evidence to support your assumptions and
• You examine problems closely and are
able to reject information that is incorrect
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Critical thinkers are curious.
They are interested in knowing all there is
about a topic. They look for new and better
ways to do everything. They are not the
person who will settle for “…because that is
the way we have always done it.”
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Therefore…through experience, as a critical
thinker, you will:
• identify information that is being put forth as an
argument and break it down to its basic components for
• construct alternative interpretations
• be willing to explore diverse perspectives
• be willing to change personal assumptions when
presented with valid information
• be willing to ask difficult questions and the ability to
receptive to opposing viewpoints.
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• Critical thinking is, in short, self-directed, self-
disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking.
• It requires accurate standards of excellence and
mindful command of their use.
• It entails effective communication and problem solving
abilities and a commitment to overcome our native
egocentrism and sociocentrism.
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A CRITICAL THINKER CONSIDERS THE ELEMENTS OF
1. Purpose, Goal, Objective, or End in View
2. Question at Issue (or Problem to Be Solved)
3. Point of View, Frame of Reference, Perspective,
4. Assumptions (presuppositions, what is taken for granted)
5. Information (data, facts, observations, experiences)
6. Concepts (theories, definitions, axioms, laws, principles,
7. Interpretation & Inferences (conclusions, solutions)
8. Implications & Consequences (Where does this thinking
lead? What will result if this thinking is turned into action?)
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UNIVERSAL STRUCTURES OF THOUGHT
Whenever we think,
we think for a purpose,
within a point of view,
based on assumptions,
leading to implications and consequences.
We use data, facts, and experiences,
to make inferences and judgments,
based on concepts and theories,
in attempting to answer a question or solve a problem.
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QUESTIONS IMPLIED BY THE UNIVERSAL
STRUCTURES OF THOUGHT: [Use these questions
when beginning work]
•What is my fundamental purpose?
•What is the key question I am trying to answer?
•What information do I need in order to answer my
•What is the most basic concept in the question?
•What assumptions am I using in my reasoning?
•What is my point of view with respect to the issue?
•What are my most fundamental inferences or
•What are the implications and possible consequences
of my reasoning (if my reasoning is valid?
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Universal Intellectual Standards
• Clarity : If a statement is unclear we cannot
evaluate its fit with the other standards.
• Accuracy : Accuracy = TRUTH. Is it true?
• Precision : Is there enough detail to completely
understand the statement.
• Relevance : Is the information connected to the
question at hand?
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• Depth: Does the statement, fact, etc. address the
complexity of the issue?
• Breadth: Are there other points of view or other ways to
consider this question? Are you considering the key
• Logic: Does it make sense? Can you make that
conclusion based on the information and evidence?
• Significance: Is this the most important problem to
consider? Is this the central idea to focus on? Which of
these facts are most important?
• Fairness: Do I have any vested interest in this issue?
Am I sympathetically representing the viewpoints of
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Robert Platt Crawford 1931 provides a list that can
serve as a bridge to creative thinking
1. The intent of Crawford’s Attribute Listing was to enable students
to operate at the creativity or synthesis level of Bloom’s
Cognitive Taxonomy. Additional cognitive operations, however,
are needed to implement the four-step process. The steps are:
2. Select a problem, product, or system (problem designation)
3. Break it into key attributes or stages or parts
4. Identify various ways to achieve each attribute or part
(brainstorming or any idea-generating technique)
5. Design or create a solution by manipulating and recombining the
variables (structured synthesis)
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Application Evaluation Decision Making
Comprehension Synthesis Problem Solving
Knowledge Analysis Concept attainment
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– Looking for opportunities to use reasoning
– expecting situations that require reasoning
– Confident in reasoning ability
– Intellectually curious
– Wants to know the truth
• Cognitive maturity
– Aware that real problems are complex
– Open to other points of view
– Aware of biases and predispositions
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To understand reasoning properly, however, we need to
understand how it differs from mere thinking.
•When we are merely thinking our thoughts simply come to us,
one after another: when we reason we actively link thoughts
together in such a way that we believe one thought provides
support for another thought.
•This active process of reasoning is termed inference.
• Inference involves a special relationship between different
thoughts: when we infer B from A, we move from A to B because
we believe that A supports or justifies or makes it reasonable to
believe in the truth of B.
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The difference between mere thinking and reasoning or inference is easy to
understand through examples. Consider the following pairs of sentences:
1. Alan is broke, and he is unhappy.
Alan is broke, therefore he is unhappy.
2. Anne was in a car accident last week, and she deserves an extension
on her essay.
Anne was in a car accident last week, so she deserves an extension on
3. This triangle has equal sides and equal angles.
This triangle has equal sides; hence it has equal angles.
Notice that the first sentence in each pair simply asserts two thoughts but
says nothing about any relationship between them, while the second
sentence asserts a relationship between two thoughts. This relationship is
signaled by the words therefore, so, and hence. These are called inference
indicators: words that indicate that one thought is intended to support (i.e., to
justify, provide a reason for, provide evidence for, or entail) another thought.
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skills and sub-skills
– categorization, decoding, clarifying meaning
– Notes, matrices, charts, patient history
– examining ideas, identifying arguments, analyzing
– Elements of reasoning, listening, data
– assessing claims, assessing arguments
– Questioning, credibility, reasonableness, trust.
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–Querying claims, conjecturing alternatives, drawing
– Problem solving, decision making, differential, diagnosis
– Stating results, justifying procedures, presenting arguments
– Elements of reasoning, stating the case, clarity
– Self examination, self correction
– Self critique, questioning, changing, recognizing personal
errors in thinking
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Aspects of critical thinking
– mere verbal dispute
– truth-statement with adequate support
– assumption: claim without support
• hidden assumptions undermine reliability of reasoning
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Resolving Obstacles To Critical
Obstacle—relativism or subjectivism
• Remedy—patience and tenacity in pursuit of the truth
Obstacle—egocentrism and ethnocentricity
• Remedy— intellectual humility
Obstacle—intimidation by authority
• Remedy—intellectual independence
• Remedy—intellectual courage
Obstacle—unexamined and inferential assumptions, and
• Remedy—examination of assumptions
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Characteristics of Critical
• Strive for understanding
• Are honest with themselves
• Base judgment on evidence
• Are interested in other people’s ideas
• Control their feelings/emotions
• Recognize that extreme views are seldom
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• Keep an open mind
• They are very observant
• Identify key issues and raise questions
• Obtain relevant facts
• Evaluate the findings and form judgments
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What does the absence of
critical thinking look like?
• We blindly accept at face value all justifications
given by organizations and political leaders.
• We blindly believe TV commercials.
• We blindly continue to hold on to old beliefs.
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Young girl? Or old
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horn? Or a
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A face of a native
American? Or an
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Personal Barriers to thinking
– Refuse to accept reality.
– We see in others what is really happening to us.
– Lying to ourselves about the real reasons for our
behaviors and feelings.
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– Thinking in which the world revolves around an
• Polarized Thinking
– There is only black or white – no gray
– Always consider the worst possible outcome (all
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• Selective abstraction
– Focusing on one detail of a situation
and ignoring the larger picture
– Drawing broad conclusions on the
basis of a single incident.
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Five Phases of Critical Thinking
• Phase 1: Trigger Event
– Usually an unexpected event that causes
some kind of inner discomfort or confusion.
• Phase 2: Appraisal
– A period of reflection and the need to find
another approach to deal with the issue.
• Phase 3: Exploration
– People start asking questions and gathering
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• Phase 4: Finding Alternatives
–Also called the transition stage when old
ideas are either left behind and a new way
of thinking begins.
• Phase 5: Integration
–Involves fitting new ideas and information
into everyday usage.
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Key Questions to Critical
• What are the issues and the expected conclusions?
• What are the reasons?
• What words or phrases are ambiguous?
• What are the value conflicts and assumptions?
• What are the assumptions?
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• Are there any fallacies in the reasoning?
• How good is the evidence?
• Are there rival causes?
• Are the statistics deceptive?
• What significant information is omitted?
• What reasonable conclusions are possible?
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Critical thinking involves evaluating information or
arguments in terms of their accuracy and worth
• Verbal Reasoning
– Understanding and evaluating the persuasive techniques
found in oral and written language
• Argument Analysis
– Discriminating between reasons that do and do not
support a particular conclusion
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Critical thinking involves evaluating information or
arguments in terms of their accuracy and worth
• Decision Making
– identifying and judging several alternatives and selecting
the best alternative
• Critical Analysis of Prior Research
– evaluating the value of data and research results in terms
of the methods used to obtain them and their potential
relevance to particular conclusions.
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Problem Solving Procedure
• Define the problem (not the symptom)
• Remove thinking barriers (bias and logical)
• Gather all relevant facts
• Generate solutions (brainstorming, creative thinking)
• Select a solution and have a back up plan
• Implement and evaluate
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Characteristics of Critical Thinking & Decision
• University of Phoenix Model
– Framing the question
– Making the decision
– Evaluating the decision
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University of Phoenix Model
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How to Apply Bloom’s
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Level 1 – Recall
Remembering previously learned material, recalling facts,
terms, basic concepts from stated text
• Name Relate
• List Tell
• Recognize Recall
• Choose Match
• Label Define
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Level 2 – Understand
Demonstrating understanding of the stated meaning of
facts and ideas
• Compare Explain
• Describe Rephrase
• Outline Show
• Organize Relate
• Classify Identify
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Level 2 1/2 – Infer
Demonstrating understanding of the unstated meaning
of facts and ideas
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Level 3 – Put to Use
Solving problems by applying acquired knowledge,
facts, and techniques in a different situation
• Apply Dramatize
• Construct Restructure
• Model Simulate
• Use Translate
• Practice Experiment
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Level 4 – Break down
Examining and breaking down information into parts
• Analyze Simplify
• Diagram Summarize
• Classify Relate to
• Contrast Categorize
• Sequence Differentiate
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Level 5 – Put together
Compiling information in a different way by combining elements
in a new pattern
• Compose Elaborate
• Design Formulate
• Develop Originate
• Propose Solve
• Adapt Invent
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Level 6 – Judge
Presenting and defending opinions by making judgments
about information based on criteria
• Judge Defend
• Rank Justify
• Rate Prioritize
• Evaluate Support
• Recommend Prove
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Active learning ….
• Appeal to a variety of learning styles
• Emphasis on development of skills over
transmission of information
• Emphasis on ‘higher order’ thinking skills
• Learning experiences are ‘active’ (reading,
• Explore students’ attitudes, values
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• Participants like it
• More fun and interesting for the instructor
• Research literature supports it
• Provides time to process information
• Effective transfers to long-term memory
• Greater retention of skills & information
• Leads to higher cognitive learning
• Leads to affective learning
• Very effective for adult learning
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• Match important objectives to active learning exercises
• If using groups, provide clear instructions on:
– forming groups
– time limits
– reporting back
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• Be prepared—everything will take longer than
• Hand out exercises as students enter
• Limit number of choices
• Plan efficient strategies for forming groups
• Circulate among groups during group work (to keep
on task, assist)
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You need to …..
• Ask groups to take discussion notes
• Provide time for reporting back
• Ensure all can hear (repeat remarks if necessary)
• Summarize after group reports
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• Active learning is necessary for the teaching of critical
• Critical thinking should be integrated into every aspect of
the educational process.
• Students should be made aware of the thinking process.
• Critical thinking must be taught explicitly.
• Process is as important as content.
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• Active Learning - “students involved in doing
things & thinking about the things they are doing”
• Critical Thinking - “reasonable reflective thinking
that is focused on deciding what to do and what to
believe” OR “interpreting, analyzing or evaluating
information, arguments or experiences with a set of
reflective attitudes, skills, and abilities to guide our
thoughts, beliefs and actions” OR “examining the
thinking of others to improve our own”
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• A Thinking Tool is an instrument that can help us in
using our minds systematically and effectively.
• With the use of thinking tools, the intended ideas will be
arranged more systematically, clearly, and easy to be
There are 4 types of THINKING TOOLS:
• Cognitive Research Trust
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Questioning is one approach to motivate
• Get information
• Test understanding
• Develop interest
• Evaluate the ability of individuals
towards understanding certain things.
“A person who asks
is a person who thinks.”’
- William Wilen
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Concepts are general ideas that we use to identify and
organize our experience. Words are the vocabulary of
language; Concepts are the vocabulary of thought.
Structure of Concepts: PROPERTIES
• Sign - word/symbol that names the
• Referents - examples of the CONCEPT
concept SIGN REFERENTS
• Properties - qualities that all
examples of the concept share in
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A mindmap can be defined as a visual presentation of the ways
in which concepts can be related to one another.
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4 Cognitive Research Trust
• The essence of the (Cognitive Research Trust) Thinking
Method is to focus attention directly on different
aspects of thinking and to crystallize these aspects into
definite concepts and tools that can be used
• It is designed to encourage students to broaden their
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CRITICAL THINKING is the active and systematic process of
both individually and in community to
• develop understanding
• Support positive decision-making and
• Guide action
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Crawford, R. P. (1964). The techniques of creative thinking: How to use
your ideas to achieve success. Burlington, VT: Fraser Publishing Co.
Dewey, J. (1933). How we think. New York: D. C. Heath.
Ennis, R. (1993). Critical thinking assessment. Theory Into Practice, 32(3).
Retrieved October 25, 2006, from Academic Search Premier database.
Johnson, S. (1998). Skills, Socrates, and the Sophists: Learning from
history. British Journal of Educational Studies 46(2). Retrieved March 23,
2009, from JSTOR database.
Paul, R., & Elder, L. (2006b). The miniature guide to critical thinking
concepts and tools (4th ed.). Dillon Beach, CA: Foundation for Critical
Pedersen, O. (1997). The first universities: Stadium Generale and the
origins of university education in Europe. New York: Cambridge University
Foundation for Critical Thinking. Critical Thinking: Basic Theory and
Instructional Structures. Sonoma, California: 1998.)
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