Critical Thinking (Chapter 8 – Part II)

What to think?

How to think?


How is critical thinking different from problem-solving?


Critical thinking…

1. Does not aim at solving problems (although it might do so in the process) – looks at an issue from the viewpoint of several other interrelated (or un-interrelated) issues

2. Addresses internal states of the mind – values, beliefs, expectations, etc. (while problem-solving focuses on external issues)


Critical thinking is…

1. Reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do

2. Better thinking

3. Distinguishing between thinking that is directed at clarifying (expounding) a goal


Twelve Critical Thinking Abilities (Ennis, 1987):

1. Focusing on the question

2. Analyzing arguments

3. Asking and answering questions of clarification

4. Judging the credibility of a source

5. Observing and judging observational reports

6. Deducing and judging deductions

7. Inducing and judging inductions

8. Making value judgments (evaluation)

9. Defining terms and judging definitions

10.  Identifying assumptions

11.  Deciding on an action

12.  Interaction with others


Some terms clarified…

1. Knowledge – tool to think critically

2. Inference – making connection between two or more units of knowledge

3. Deduction – understanding a particular unit of knowledge by using already existing units of knowledge

4. Induction – discovering a particular unit of knowledge (often new) from the observation and gathering of different units of knowledge from a variety of settings (time and space)

5. Evaluation – decision-making – includes analyzing, judging, weighing, and making value judgments

6. Metacognition – ability to analyze one’s own decisions

13 thoughts on “Critical Thinking (Chapter 8 – Part II)”

  1. From this lesson, it is clear that critical thinking is different from problem solving. However, to make a right decision in problem solving process, it is necessary to have critical thinking. Because it helps us in comparing and contrasting many ideas, improving and refining ideas, make effective decisions and judgments. In addition, an effective problem solver should have some critical thinking abilities when solving the problem. In these twelve abilities mentioned above, I think that the abilities to analyze the arguments, observe and make value judgement are the most important.

  2. Sir, I have a question for you and i hope that there is an answer.
    Do you think that in solving or doing something acquire critical thinking?

  3. I think critical thinking have to do a lot with training and practicing. It’s not some kind of inteligent stage that people can easily achieve. Critical thinking requires a process to be developed, it’s not just only base on human’s inteligent.

  4. As Khanh said, we need to do a lot with training for critical thinking. However, critical thinking could be trained easily by some interesting tools.
    One of these interesting tools that I want to share with everyone is “Six Think Hats”. This tool was created by Edward de Bono in his book ‘6 Thinking Hats’. This tool is a very useful techniqure that helps you look at a decision from all point of view. If you are interested in this tool, you can check this address:

  5. For me, i think to solve the problem i would need critical thinking skills to help me. otherwise, i would turn up in the wrong way. becuase it is the best way that guide us to identify and evaluate our decision making. i think it would be great if problem solving and critical thinking go together.

  6. Dr.Ry:

    In the class we asked about the question of how do we develop cricical thinking in the classroom. In fact criticial thinking is really important in training student’s thinking and learning. Asher asked when do we use crictical think in doing or solving. I think it may not be true for everyone. I mean we do think when we face problems, but it is individual. So we need to train students in critical thinking in many wasy so they can face their problems and easier to solve.

  7. As Khanh said, “I think critical thinking …” I have an opposite thought to his idea. For me, critical thinking does not require training or practicing in order to achieve it. However, training and practicing can help us to achieve critical thinking but it is not necessare to do it. Intelligence people have more chance to achieve critical thinking because they have more knowledge so they can think more critically. Furthermore, when people have more experiences they can think more critically. Comparing our parents/grand parents with us, our parents/grand parents can think more critical than us because they have more experience and knowledge. Therefore, our intelligence and experience can help us think critically.

  8. I agree with Khan
    to be able to think critically we would need to be train, Practice or guide.
    As i said in the class room if the students are teaching only to memorize things and only follow the teacher instruction, i don’t think that they will know how to think critically.
    for example,
    Dr. roy reading report assignment, he guide with the question to write the report
    for me before i think that reading report is just only to summrize the information in the book or article.
    but with the guide i can think more further than what the book or article said.

    so i think that to be able to think critically we will need alot of support from our teacher.

    Can you give some tips…as a teacher how can we help our student to think critically.

  9. Yes, in this lesson, we have learned that how critcal thinking is different from problem solving. Critcal thinking is dealing with mind and not aims to solve the problem, while problem solving focusses on external issues and solves problem. Before, we have learned some characteristics of problem solvers from previous classes, and now we also learned twelve critical thinking abilities. I feel like some critical thinking abilities are low level, such as #1, 3, and 12, while other abilities require us high level thinking. But I think a person who is able to solve the problem is because he or she has high ciritical thinking abilities to do so.

  10. To think critical some times makes me headach. I think that we dont need to always think critically, but i think that we should think critically only when it is needed, and when the situation is important to you.

    Just try to make things simple as you can ..lol

  11. After this class, I still have many questions about critical thinking. A good thinker must has some abilities of critical thinking. But how could we develop these abilities? What kind strategies we can use when we are thinking? Does critical thinking always help us to make right decision? Does anyone can help me to answer these questions?

  12. Good problem solver is a person like to think life is full of problem and prepare ourself for it. He who like Looking at problem from different perspectives. Sometimes we have to move backward far from the problem then we may see it completely if it is too big. It means that we are not surprise with the problem, be prepare to face all problems. We don’t expect life is calm or smooth surface. Be like the captain when starting to hold the steering leading the ship, in his mind is prepare with the rough wave to come and look at the direction of the wind. All problems there must be a way to solve it when we know the cause. Therefore when facing problem we just calm down, look at problem with relaxation and start to look at it from different directions then solve it step by step. Be sure that do not make any decision when we in anxiety or anger, do not answer yet when you feel excited or do not reply when we are still sad. This may cause more problem to occur than to solve it. Most of us when probem appears, we try to get away from it. Actually problem is like our shadow we can’t escape from it unless we destroy it first.

  13. It’s true that we need knowledge, tactics and power(intelligence) to become successful critical thinkers. Teachers, parents and surrounding environment can flourish children with knowledge and different experiences. Children, based on their intelligent levels and mental skills can construct their own unique knowledge and elaborate on the information and ideas they acquire. Teachers can encourage students to think creatively and critically by allowing them to discuss and work in small groups where students can exchange their thoughts and ideas and extend their horizons by learning from one another. I personally think that learning in groups can facilitate students to think more critically. They have a chance to stand firmly and defend with concrete evidence for the ideas they contribute and can constructively question and criticize others. It’s also thought-provoking since students can freely ask questions and help each other as they evaluate together on the issues. Spending time alone, reflecting on the issues discussed after group work can also enhance the critical thinking skills of students since the ideas and information can settle in their memory.

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