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Critical thinking is the search for common sense: how to judge objectively and act logically, taking into account all points of view; the ability to abandon personal prejudices. Critical thinking, that is able to put forward new ideas and see new possibilities, is very important in the process of problem solving and decision making (Feldman 2002).
While critical thinking, it is important to be able to: detect the bias; share the knowledge with each other; understand the impact of this knowledge on the process of problem solving and decision making.
Critical thinking man asks such questions: What do I know? What new have I learned? How has my knowledge changed? What will I do with this?
The maintenance of critical thinking is understood as a set of three components:
1) installation, the readiness for critical thinking (critical thinking dispositions);
2) intellectual (thinking) skills and abilities (critical thinking skills and abilities);
3) existing knowledge and previous experience.
Critical thinking is a type of thinking about any subject, content or matter in which the thinking improves the quality of his thinking through skilful use of structures and intellectual standards inherited in thinking.
A person with well-developed critical thinking:
– Raises difficult questions and problems, setting up them clearly and precisely;
– Collects and accepts relevant information, using abstract ideas and information to interpret them in the right way;
– Comes to reasonable conclusions and solutions, testing them on the standards and criteria;
– Thinks open-mindedly using alternative systems of thought, recognizing and avoiding, if necessary, their assumptions, and practical involvement in match;
– Communicate effectively with others while finding the decision.
Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-thinking and self-correcting thinking. This assumes meeting strict standards, which entails an effective communication and problem solving and commitment to overcome the natural egocentrism and sociocentrism.
Our life is made of many decisions. Every day there are situations that require decision-making process. There are decisions that are simple and familiar, while others require serious reflection.
Decision making is a process when “the decision maker comes up with a solution to a recognized and defined problem”(Moon 2007). So, it is understandable that decision-making is the process of evaluating and understanding the information in order to find a conclusion to the problem.
Decision-making and critical thinking are closely related. Having studied both concepts, it becomes clear that a successful decision-making process should be include critical thinking in order to find the best solution. Without critical thinking, the details of the problem or situation can be skipped and the best solution can not to be found.
For example, as a person is driving his car, he must be aware of his surroundings in order to have necessary control of the car. During the driving process, the car in front may suddenly stop. If the driver is aware, he must make a very quick decision, especially if he is following too closely. So, by maintaining an awareness of his surroundings using critical thinking, the driver of a car may be aware that the next lane is empty, so making it free for a sudden and quick lane change while avoiding an accident. Without this knowledge of his surroundings, the driver would not know about the availability of the nest lane, nor might he even realize that the car in front of him stopped, thereby causing an accident (Moore 2008).
Every person prefers to use critical thinking in decision making process as it makes the process more effective. I use critical thinking in everyday life and at work. Some time ago, at my previous work, I got the task to identify the best applicant for an available position in the bank.
At the first step I thoroughly evaluated the requirements for the position of the new employee. Asking my boss some questions regarding the position helped in the analyzing the types of qualifications the applicant needed. I evaluated the needs and analyzed the position as it relates to the qualification of the applicants. I understood that I, as a person who was trying to fill the position was to be able to determine the best applicant. I asked the applicant some questions which helped me to determine if he met the requirements of position or anything else that could pertain to the position being filled. I used the ability of critical thinking in decision making process while identifying the best applicant for an available position in the bank.
The critical thinking is not something that should take place only while making a decision. Every day people have to process a great deal of information and a person does not consciously evaluate every piece of information being stored. When a person finds the information that is relative to his situation, he may decide if the information has relevance for him, but he may store it for the future use. At the same time, some people may evaluate information for its validity without needing that information to come up with the decision at that exact time.
For example, my friend is attending a seminary studies various religions as a way of obtaining a more comprehensive view of society. She does not need this information to understand the truth and validity of her own beliefs, but she evaluates it anyway. There can happen a situation that requires her to ask “Why some other person has other beliefs?”. But it does not require her to make a decision as to her own personal beliefs.
Critical thinking is very necessary, as it as it gives the opportunity to see how person will react to what he sees and hears. At my work, critical thinking and decision making help me a lot on a daily basis. Making tasks every day requires me to evaluate importance of every task. So, such processes as critical thinking and decision-making are often interacted and intertwined in daily life and at work. It is often necessary for critical thinking to be involved in making a decision.
Feldman, Daniel A. 2002. Critical Thinking: Strategies for Decision Making. pp. 69-70.
Moon, Jennifer A. 2007. Critical thinking: an exploration of theory and practice. pp. 47-48.
Moore, Brooke Noel., Parker, Richard. 2008. Critical Thinking. pp. 256-257.