Thursday, 22 November 2012

How to Improve Critical Thinking Skills

Thinking is part of every living creature, humans and animals. In fact, it is said that we are products of our thoughts. Because we have hundreds of options from where we can make choices, we must learn how to develop critical thinking skills. Developing the skills is not the end; we must learn how to improve critical thinking skills. Only then shall we be able to make quality decisions and consequently live quality lives.
It is always good to work from the known to the unknown. If you do not understand the status quo, you will not know what to address and how to address it. Therefore, before you embark on looking at how to improve critical thinking skills, undertake a critical thinking skills test. The test will help you identify your areas of weakness and strength. Then shall you be able to know how to develop critical thinking skills.
In a school setting, students should take advantage of their lecturers or tutors. The instructors can give them tips of how to develop critical thinking skills or assign them
questions aimed at challenging their thinking. In case you are not in a school setting but desire to known how to develop critical thinking skills, the following steps will prove to be helpful:
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Analyze- take a common thing and try to analyse it critically. For example, students may organize an educational trip. Ask yourself questions such as; what will I gain by going for the trip? What will I lose if I missed? Is there another way of cutting the cost of the trip?
Compare and contrast- take two similar elements and look at their differences and similarities. For example, justify why you would prefer to study philosophy or sociology yet both of them are social sciences.
Cultivate a habit of addressing open-ended questions- questions that do not require specific answer will push you to think harder in your effort to provide an accurate answer.
Take time to synthesize- your ability to synthesize is best captured in a summary. Learn how to summarize. Writing summaries helps to develop critical thinking skills because you have determined what is important and what is not. The importance of something is guided by the topic and the thesis statement.
Once you understand how to improve critical thinking skills, practice. Practice can be in form of writing critical thinking papers, or engaging in discussions with your peers. How well you respond to issues under discussion helps you gauge your ability. 

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