Critical Thinking... the awakening of the intellect to the study of itself.


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A Few Critical Thinking Definitions from 21st Century Cohort Members:
· Critical thinking is...THINKING!! – SM
· Critical thinking is being open-minded - looking at things in new ways. – DL
· Critical thinking is observing, hypothesis(educated guess), experimenting, analyzing, come up with a conclusion. Very similar to the scientific method. – EG
· I define critical thinking as the ability to combine information from different sources and use it to create or add to existing ideas and solve problems. – LJ
· It reminds me of metacognition where you think about what you are thinking. – DD
· It is the process where the thinker comes up with several solutions, analyzes those possible solutions and chooses the one that seems to have the best fit for the problem. – JC
· Critical thinking is analyzing one's knowledge, experience, and skills through self-questioning and reasoning. – MK
· Critical thinking in simple terms is providing effective solutions to complex problems. Students are examining complex problems through critical thinking by identifying the problem, analyzing it, and then solving the problem. – NA
· I think critical thinking is an open-minded examination of what we know, why we know what we know, and how we might improve or modify what we know. – MH
· Critical thinking has so many components to it. It's definition is not simple. When faced with a problem or issue, finding resources to help solve the issue. Then also deciding if these sources are reliable. Weighing the different points of view in a conflict and considering each one and which would be best in solving that conflict. After a solution has been tried, it needs to be evaluated to see if that solution is what works best for you. – KR
· Critical thinking involves approaching the problem in a thoughtful way, must have a base knowledge and reasoning skills, skills to apply to the problem. - CT
Other Important Thoughts to Consider:
· How important it is for us to model creative, critical thinking to our students and to encourage them to develop them along with us. – MF
· Students are very willing to share something they already know, but they hesitate to try to explain something they don't know. They aren't willing to take risks in their learning. I think too many daily decisions are made for students, and they don't have to think about anything. - LO
· Even though [smart students] can think about a problem critically, they cannot always empathize or recognize the ideas, thoughts and contributions of others. Trying to see something from someone else's perspective is often very tough for them. – DP
· It takes someone who is willing to put in the time to think things through, and the discipline to work the solution. It is a process that continues to grow as the learner or thinker grows. It doesn't come easily. It takes a motivated person to become a critical thinker. – JC
· Students are unwilling to take risks in their learning. They won't speak up in class if they think their answers are incorrect. They don't want to look foolish in front of their peers. – MK
· The article talks about experiences. This is where I see the gap widening in my classroom between those that have the ability to critically think and those that don't. – TH
· I now see that critical thinking, in the context of the classroom, is actively seeking out opportunities to creatively process and solve problems. Why do I think this will be more difficult for me than for my students! – MK
· I think I have been seeing the signs of students in my high school science classes acting as if a lot of knowing is an acceptable substitute for a little understanding. You can "Twitter" information and "Google" knowledge, but you can't have instant, real-time access to understanding. Reaching understanding requires critical thinking, and more importantly, applications of understanding, like invention and innovation, require critical thinking. – CC
· I know I find myself on such a time crunch sometimes - trying to get so many things into one day… I know in the long run it will be worth it - to develop their critical thinking and problem solving skills which will help them out in so many areas. – DL
· Students, so often, come to school with the bias and prejudice they have grown up with and many close their mind to new ways of thinking. I must also teach them WHY critical thinking is important. – SL
· They don’t understand why they must question Wikipedia, Google, or Letterman. – MH
· This requires students to be active participants in their own learning…and this is the difficult part. Our challenge is to encourage them to trust their own judgments and opinions and to use them. – KM
· We may not know an answer to a question, but if we know how to find an answer we can gather and then analyze the information. I can help guide them, but I want them to think about each step that is needed to get the answer. If students search for the information/answer they tend to understand the material more readily. They can then "own" or retain the information. Then they can take it to the next step and apply that new knowledge to other situations! - SK