Applying the Critical Thinking Process
Critical thinking is an important part of problem-solving, and leaders should strive to apply it whenever possible. As a leader, critical thinking will help you make informed decisions based on a range of perspectives. Today, Australia seems to be in the midst of a leadership crisis. In fact, 72 percent of workers are prone to leaving their current companies because of poor leadership. What’s more, employees give leaders a 5.6/10 rating.
Critical thinking involves examining the implied structures and concepts in reasoning. It also requires examining the context in which an argument is made, the implications and consequences of the ideas presented, and the frame in which it is presented. It is a family of interwoven modes of thinking that encompasses philosophical, historical, and economic reasoning. Ultimately, critical thinking is about understanding and challenging beliefs. But how do you apply it in practice? Below, we’ll look at some key elements of critical thinking.
A fun way to teach critical thinking to kids is through an adventure story. Thingamabob is a charming and funny story about a man who encounters a penguin who thinks it can fly. The two form an unlikely friendship and begin to question their assumptions. Through their building, they come to understand the secrets of flight. The plot of the story makes it a good guide to critical thinking, and teaches kids to distinguish phony facts from true science.
The key to fostering critical thinking in students is to make the principles of scientific and rational thinking visible. For instance, in Socrates’ time, students could see how Socrates’ ideas were presented in the classroom. He also made student thinking visible and therefore was able to assess whether it was legitimate or not. Then, students could take an accompanying quiz to assess their learning. Ultimately, critical thinking is a skill for the 21st century.
Essentially, critical thinking is a self-guided intellectual process that focuses on the development of higher-order thinking. Critical thinkers seek to live rationally and logically, and to minimize the power of sociocentric and egocentric tendencies. Critical thinkers use intellectual tools to analyze and evaluate what they read or hear, and work to cultivate intellectual virtues. There are many benefits to critical thinking, and critical thinking is not limited to the sciences.
In order to cultivate the habits of mind necessary to practice critical thinking, it is important to challenge the way you think. Try to see things from others’ perspectives. Think about all the barriers, needs, and concerns that arise in a problem. Then, come up with a set of solutions. You may be surprised to discover that your initial approach is not the best one. This is the perfect opportunity for you to challenge your assumptions and learn how to think in different ways.
Analysis involves thinking critically and objectively about an issue. Identifying different arguments and evaluating their strengths and weaknesses is a good place to begin. In climate change, for example, you might begin by analyzing the arguments for and against man-made climate change, evaluating the claims of both sides. Consider the implications of each of these positions and draw your own conclusions. This process is useful for problem-solving and decision-making across various positions.