Unlike ordinary thinking, which is based on the experience of others, critical thinking is based on superimposing the information you receive on your own life experience. The main purpose of all critical thinking techniques is to teach people to think with their own head, not someone else’s.. The authors of this techniques are Kurt Meredith, Charles Temple and Jeannie Steele.
Most people have heard about critical thinking, but apart from the above-mentioned basics, they do not understand what is the difference between critical thinking and ordinary thinking? So, let us finally consider the matter.
What does it mean to think critically?
In essentially all techniques of such thinking are reduced to the fact that you should not just read a book or information on the Internet, but you should also analyze them, evaluate them, make an informed judgment, make your own opinion on the problem being studied, offer your solution on how to apply this knowledge in both standard and non-standard life situations.
This way of thinking means: independence and freedom as well as analysis, evaluation and reflection. It is divided into three stages:
- The challenge stage is the constant replenishment of the already existing stock of knowledge and the expression of interest in obtaining relevant information, as well as the setting of the person’s own learning goals;
- The comprehension stage is the extraction of new knowledge and the amendment of previously set learning goals;
- The reflection stage is deep reflection and immersion into oneself in order to obtain higher knowledge and another setting of updated goals.
So, we’ve got the concepts figured out, now let’s take a closer look at what goes into each stage.
The challenge stage of thinking
The easiest way to explain how this stage of critical thinking works is through the work of a teacher. In teaching students, at this stage the teacher’s main task is to identify the stock of knowledge that the student already has, then bring this knowledge into an active state and awaken a desire to work on themselves in the future. The student must search his memory for the knowledge that relates to the material he is studying. Then the information is systematized until the moment of obtaining new material. He asks the questions he wants answers to.
A possible method here is to create a list of information already available at the moment:
- Storytelling is a sentence by “key words”;
- Graphical systematization of the obtained knowledge (all sorts of tables, lists, etc.);
- Searching for correct and incorrect statements.
All of the data that was obtained during the knowledge recall stage is listened to carefully, recorded, and discussed further. All work can be done either individually or with a couple or even a group.
The comprehension stage of thinking
The main task of this stage of critical thinking is to maintain a healthy interest in the topic by working together with a new block of information, as well as stepping up from the received data to more relevant data. At this time, the person being trained listens or reads the text, using active ways of reading (marking in the margins or journaling) as new pieces of information arrive.
The most accessible method at this stage is active reading, with marking in the margins. In addition, it is necessary to look for new answers to the questions that were posed back in the previous phase.
The reflection stage of thinking
At this stage of mastering critical thinking techniques it is necessary to take a step back and return to the original records in order to actualize the data. It is also necessary to provide a creative and research paper based on the material already covered. It is necessary to compare the recently received information with that which was originally given, using the data from the previous step.
Of the methods and techniques of applying critical technology here, it is worth noting the filling of tables and clusters of data. In addition, it is necessary to establish causal relationships among all the obtained knowledge. Going back to key expressions and correct and incorrect statements will help. The main task is to find answers to the questions. Engaging in creativity and organized discussions about the topic are also good tools.
During the reflection there is analysis and creative processing, along with a comparison of all the data obtained. Individual, pair or group work is possible.
What techniques are commonly used in critical thinking?
There are many techniques for critical thinking, but there are about a dozen basic ones:
- “Inventarization“. This technique is the compilation of an order from the information already received. The person being taught makes notes about the topic he or she knows. Afterwards there is a combination of the old data with the new data and their addition;
- “Do you believe in …?“. It is a kind of game of right and wrong statements. During the challenge phase, the person chooses the correct answers from those suggested by the teacher on the given topic and conducts a description of it. In the next phase, they do a test of the correctness of the original choice;
- “Key words“. With just a few words you have to determine what your conversation partner is going to talk about;
- “Fat questions” are questions like “Explain why…? “Why did you think so…?”, “What is the difference between…?”, “Make a guess as to what would happen if…?” and so on;
- “Insert“. This is an interactive, marking system for effective reading and thinking. Possible options for marking your text: 1. already know this; 2. something new; 3. think otherwise, disagree with this statement; 4. not clear, questions remain;
- “Zigzag” on the contrary represents the work with the text in the group. There is a learning and optimization of large amounts of material, for which the information is divided into passages of meaning in order for people to teach each other. Naturally, there should be exactly as many pieces of data as there are people in the group.