BY LORI BETH LEMMON
Did you know there is an entire organization dedicated to critical thinking? I didn’t know it until today. It is called The Foundation for Critical Thinking, and it is appropriately addressed as www.criticalthinking.org. In case you don’t take time to visit the site, here are some basics for critical thinking in everyday life.
First are the stages of critical thinking development:
One: The Unreflective Thinker (we are unaware of significant problems in our thinking)
Two: The Challenged Thinker (we become aware of problems in our thinking)
Three: The Beginning Thinker (we try to improve but without regular practice)
Four: The Practicing Thinker (we recognize the necessity of regular practice)
Five: The Advanced Thinker (we advance in accordance with our practice)
Six: The Master Thinker (skilled & insightful thinking become second nature to us)
However, we cannot advance through these stages unless we:
• Accept the fact that there are serious problems in our thinking, and
• Begin regular practice.
So, if you can stomach the idea that there might be serious problems with your thinking, and you are willing to make a commitment to thinking more critically, here are the nine strategies suggested:
1. Use “Wasted” Time.
2. A Problem A Day.
3. Internalize Intellectual Standards (check back later for a detailed list of the Intellectual Standards)
4. Keep An Intellectual Journal.
5. Reshape Your Character.
6. Deal with Your Ego.
7. Redefine the Way You See Things.
8. Get in touch with your emotions.
9. Analyze group influences on your life.
If you are thinking that this “think tank” stuff is a little much, don’t be discouraged. According to the web site, mastering the art of critical thinking should be viewed as a lifelong journey. So pretty much like anything else in life, if you want to be good at it, plan on lots of practice and discipline.