Thursday, 22 November 2012

Building Critical Thinking Skills

You already know there is a need to have critical thinking skills. Having basic critical thinking skills is not enough; you must also understand what building critical thinking skills entails. This does not only require you to understand the tips of thinking and writing critically, you need also a list of critical thinking skills you want to develop. It is always advisable to have a rubric or have your goal written on a paper. Having a list of critical thinking skills you desire to develop will act as a constant reminder.
What goes into building critical thinking skills?
The first step towards building critical thinking skills is establishing your areas of weaknesses and strength through undertaking a critical thinking and writing test. Once this is accomplished, the following steps will significantly add to your endeavor:
Question the obvious- do not always take what you are told at face value. Take time to question what is presented. Read in between the lines. If you analyse a statement critically, you may realize there is little or no relationship between the variables under investigation.
Do not always accept authority- different sources usually appeal to authority to boost credibility of their information. The authority may be someone you like or respect, but there is no harm in analyzing the information presented.
Maintain objectivity- in the course of your writing, you realize that you can lose focus or become subjective. This emphasizes the need to have a rubric or list of critical thinking skills you need to develop objectivity and to be at the top. You can choose to take a break then revisit your work, or you can give an independent person to evaluate it.
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Watch out for stereotypes- stereotypes are generalized biased statements about something or somebody. They may be true or otherwise. Be on the lookout to make sure that any decision you make or position you take is not influenced by stereotype.
Look for consistency- a logical conclusion is usually accompanied with consistency of facts. Consistency implies that a different person can follow the same steps you took to arrive at the same conclusion.
Arm yourself with valid information- you may have facts, but they can be irrelevant in the current setting. Develop a reading culture to know the most recent developments in your field.
When you are building critical thinking skills, take critical thinking skills tests regularly to know what you need to include or remove from your list of critical thinking skills. 

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