It’s common for every student to hear about the importance of critical thinking. Teachers always encourage the use of this skill. It’s a necessary requirement for students, but have you ever been taught how to develop critical thinking? It seems like every student should have it by default.
It’s true that critical thinking is important for every student and every person at all. Why? Let’s find out.
What does “critical thinking mean”?
It’s not necessary for you to know the exact definition of this concept. It will be enough if you understand the idea of it. Basically, critical thinking is an ability to consciously process information and make thoughtful, logical decisions based on your own perception of something.
What makes critical thinking different from regular thinking process? We want to recommend you some methods to train your mind. They make critical thinking profound and effective.
- Analysis. It’s a useful way to process information, especially for students.
- Comparison. Ability to compare things will help you come up with rational and adequate decisions.
- Evaluation. It’s essential to know how to estimate things properly.
- Conceptualization. Basically, you are making a concept based on some process or action. This method can help you realize things you have never noticed before.
- Synthesis. It’s a skill of summarizing different things and combining them into the new wholesome vision.
Why is it important to improve your critical thinking
You don’t have to apply this skill every second of your life. It would be hard to think critically about everything that happens to you through the day. Your brain is not ready to work on the maximum every minute, and it isn’t necessary. But in some situations, critical thinking can bring you many benefits. It is a great power to control the way you think. So, there are some profits that you will gain.
You will be more successful in your education
To get the highest grade for an essay, it’s essential to use critical thinking while writing it. You will always be required to express your thoughts will strong arguments and deep analysis. Critical thinking will make your writing more persuasive, unique and interesting to read. Professors would appreciate well-organized thoughts, ideas and analysis in your assignments. Without critical thinking, your works will be plane and secondary. You can end up with rewriting other people’s thoughts without putting your personal effort into materials. Therefore, it’s important to learn how to think effectively to be a successful student.
You will get better in making decisions
When you learn how to perceive information without any bias and emotion, it gets easier to make the right decisions. It doesn’t have to be something huge – even choosing an outfit can be an important decision for you. With critical thinking skill, it would not be a problem. You will be able to control your thoughts even in an extreme situation. Since every decision has an impact on your life, it will be very useful to become a master of making them.
You will be protected from manipulations
As we all know, there are a lot of media and influencers trying to make us think the way they want. Advertising is everywhere, and mass media are full of questionable information and controversial opinions. If you learn how to think critically, you will keep your mind clean of manipulative information. It will get easier to have your own opinion and stand by it.
You will increase your chances of getting a good job
Ability to solve difficult problems is a great feature for the employee. Employers will appreciate your critical thinking skill if you show them how creative you can deal with problems. A person with strong thinking skills is more likely to be hired than a person who just follows the rules and instructions. Don’t be afraid to think different. Usually, it’s an advantage.
As you can see, there are a lot of reasons to become a professional thinker. Don’t hesitate and learn some tips on how to improve your critical thinking
How to better your critical thinking
Unfortunately, teachers don’t tell us how to process information correctly; they just give us this information and leave us to manage it by ourselves. Therefore, it’s essential to learn how to deal with all the knowledge you receive.
It’s not difficult if you put your mind to it. You can start today and improve your critical thinking step by step. It isn’t something that you can gain in one hour, and this skill takes some time to develop. Nevertheless, everything is up to you because you are literally training your mind.
So, let’s move to practice. There are several ways to improve the way you think, let’s learn them one by one.
1. Ask yourself questions
Sometimes you face a problem that scares you with its difficulty. Don’t panic, and it’s a common situation for everyone. When you have such a problem, try to ask some questions instead of rushing to solve it immediately.
Ask yourself “What do I know about the problem? How did I get this knowledge?”. It will help you calm down and estimate the situation rationally. The next question is “What is my goal?”. Think about what do you want to achieve while solving your problem. Then, ask yourself “How do I achieve my purpose?”.
This practice will make your thoughts more clear and rational. With well-structured thinking, you will never get lost in your own thought. These questions are pretty basic, but they work. It’s a basis you need to work through when it comes to solving any problem. Only when you understand your goals and your ways to achieve them, you can start your work.
2. Think about the results
Before you make any decision, think about the consequences of it. Imagine, what can happen, how would you feel about it. Think about risks and achievements. Try to stay rational. Don’t be too negative about your future, and it puts you in a bad mood. Don’t be too optimistic either. Be ready to face some problems on the way to your goal. If you think about solutions for possible problems beforehand, it will be way easier to deal with them. Of course, you cannot see the future, but with the skill of critical thinking and analysis, you can predict and control the result of your actions.
3. Collect information from various sources
When you collect information for your research, remember, that some sources can be biased or even fake. For example, if you see the article “Why iphone is better than every other smartphone”, you should check the authors of it. If creators of this material are connected to “Apple” or sponsored by it, this article is not objective.
You should find several materials with opposite opinions on one topic. It will help you see your topic from different angles. You have to collect and analyze information from both points of view, this way, you will make wholesome and unbiased material. Pay attention to the sources you are using. Make sure they are reliable and try to find at least three trustworthy and credible media or authors. In that case, the information can be considered truthful.
4. Do some exercises for critical thinking
Everything above was pretty serious. Here are some interesting exercises for you to make the learning process more exciting. First one – take a common concept and try to explain it to the alien, who doesn’t know the first thing about our planet. Seems to be challenging, right? The second one – open any social media, for example, Instagram, and find 4-5 random posts. Then, try to interconnect them, even if they have nothing in common. Nobody said it was going to be easy. The last exercise, called “5 why’s”. You have to go through the news and find an interesting story. Read it and ask yourself “why did it happen?”. Give yourself an answer and repeat the question. Do this for 5 times.
Useful books for critical thinking
Well, this article is not enough to explain all the features of critical thinking. It’s a deep topic, and there are a lot of great books written about it. It a good thing to discover, because your mind is the most powerful tool you have. You won’t waste your time if you start working on your critical thinking skill. These books will help you with it.
- Critical Thinking: A Beginner’s Guide to Critical Thinking, Better Decision Making, and Problem Solving by Jennifer Wilson
- Wait, What?: And Life’s Other Essential Questions by James E. Ryan
- Brain Power: Learn to Improve Your Thinking Skills by Karl Albrecht
- Think Smarter: Critical Thinking to Improve Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills by Michael Kallet
- A Rulebook for Arguments by Anthony Weston
- The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli
We hope it won’t take long for you to see the result of your work. Improving critical thinking is useful for everyone; it doesn’t matter if you are a student or a successful employee. This skill helps you in everyday life when you have to make an important decision or solve a difficult problem. Use the techniques we described before, and it will be easy for you to make your critical thinking as effective as possible.