Essays on Critical Habits for Critical Thinking

Observing critical habits of mind in this context, according to Alfaro-LeFevre (2004), it becomes understandable that “critical thinking dispositions or habits of the mind include being self-confident in own reasoning abilities, inquisitive, honest and upright, alert to context, open and fair-minded, analytical and insightful, logical and intuitive, reflective and self-corrective, sensitive to diversity.” The process of critical thinking is disciplined and self-directed act, which illustrates the improvement of ideas relevant to a particular method or field of thought. Thus, additional traits comprise a true willingness to take a certain position and vindicate it, showing not only creativity and reflection in judgments, but also expressing maturity and perseverance in reasoning. According to Ruggiero (2009), a thinker in such case needs to be truth-seeker, who needs to find an answer as a result of own critical evaluation. So, it is possible to say that critical thinking indicators include aspects of self-awareness, genuineness, and self-discipline.

Taking into account critical habits for critical thinking, Facione (1996) gave a very good definition of critical thinker, Facione (1996) said that “the ideal critical thinker is habitually inquisitive, well-informed, trustful of reason, open-minded, flexible, fair-minded in evaluation, honest in facing personal biases, prudent in making judgments, willing to reconsider, clear about issues, orderly in complex matters, diligent in seeking relevant information, reasonable in the selection of criteria, focused in inquiry, and persistent in seeking results which are as precise as the subject and the circumstances of inquiry permit.”

Let us explore one example, when critical habits for critical thinking may help to defend own consciousness from negative internal influence. Discussing the necessity to develop own critical habits of mind it is necessary to emphasize that training in clear thinking may help everyone to recognize propaganda, and thus do not become its victim, to analyze the false foundation of reasoning, to see an obvious deception, to determine the reliability of a source of information and the right way to think about each task or decision. As a rule, we are forced to merge or to use a lot of the basic skills of critical thinking. For example, when we read (macro ability), we are forced to use a set of elementary micro abilities of critical thinking; in addition, we have to use them in concert with each other.

To learn how to think critically, it is important to know the four basic principles that characterize this process. Each of these principles can be regarded as a mental skill or critical habit for critical thinking. In order to master these principles, the process takes time and practice, but the effort is worth it: these principles will help to find the successful solution of real problems of everyday life. These principles are:

 identifying and disputing assumptions;
 checking of factual accuracy and logical consistency;
 consideration of context;
 the study of alternatives.

Thus, the four principles form the foundation of critical thinking. All of them taken together, allow any thinker to critically review any information obtained from the mass media, the Internet, communicating with colleagues and peers, and make the right choices in life. In addition, training of critical thinking habits must include a large number of examples from different areas of real life, in order to fully and consciously focus on improving critical thinking skills and broaden the scope of acquired skills.

In conclusion, we have discussed critical thinking in its major aspects, dwelling on its various definitions and stating that there is no commonly accepted definition of this concept. To think critically in any situation one should develop critical habits of mind and know how to implement in practice the four basic principles of critical thinking process. Critical thinkers use the critical skills and understanding to detect and eliminate beliefs that they (rationally-minded), can not agree and protect own life from manipulations. Critical thinking does not mean negative judgments or unjustified criticism. It is weighed and thoughtful consideration of different and sometimes opposing approaches and understandings of the problem for the purpose of to make informed decisions and formulate right estimates.

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