Bernard Baruch, the famous American financier, once wittily remarked, “Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.” This is the wonder of critical thinking. No high school, college, or graduate school can give you a degree or a diploma in critical thinking, as this is not something that you learn from books. Rather, it’s a skill that life and experience teaches you better. Have you ever wondered what critical thinking really is? It is a process of thinking, which includes an “analytical evaluation” of a situation. In it, you weigh any kind of substantial and insubstantial, concrete as well as abstract factors that governs a situation to achieve the best possible solution. To put it in simple words, it’s a scientific and analytical way of thinking that helps us make better and more knowledgeable decisions. You don’t really need to have higher intelligence for that. Just the ability to think logically about a thing from all aspects is what critical thinking entails. Do remember that critical thinking is not only about thinking efficiently, but also thinking differently. There are innumerable exercises to improve critical thinking. Below mentioned are a few methods that will help enhance your critical thinking skills.
How To Develop Critical Thinking Skills
Thorough Analytical And Strategic Thinking
Critical thinking skills can be developed by inculcating a habit of analytical and strategic thinking. Ensure that you analyze every situation in life carefully. You can practice the habit of analyzing every situation critically. This will help you acquire critical thinking skills gradually.
Practice Learning Logic
You should learn the way an argument is constructed, its premises and the way the construction is reached. Then, you can study the myths of logic, and practice them in your daily life.
Engage In Everyday Exercises
You can engage in everyday exercises, which takes place out of structured settings and classrooms. These include conversing with others on debates and discussions on a regular basis and incorporating logic and critical thought into your arguments. While alone, you can think deeply about ideas and principles, which interest you. You should try to develop a more detailed understanding of these concepts and mentally reconstruct the premises and conclusions that are associated with them.
Education Plays A Key Role
Education also plays an important role in developing critical thinking skills. You can develop problem solving and reasoning skills from a very early stage through education. There are certain fields, which demands acquiring and evaluating information before reaching a conclusion. Such activities enhance your critical thinking skills. You can expose yourself to questions, which stimulate thinking. You can even practice a number of mind games and thinking exercises to improve your skills.
Practice Text Analysis
For this activity, students are given a textual passage, which can be in the form of a story or an occurrence. They are asked to explain the logical connection between the events of the story and suggest a title or a sign-off line for the passage. They also need to add a few content of their own. This activity demands the students to think in a logical manner and use reasoning in every possible occurrence, which can be connected with the story. You can also ask the students to extend the story by adding more characters and incidents, which can be linked to it.
This is a process in which students are provided questions, which stimulates their mind to think. This can be done by challenging the students with complex issues and hypothetical problems. The students will also be asked to evaluate the concepts, differentiate between assumptions and facts and formulate optimal solutions.
Challenge Them To Think Out Of Box
Ask puzzles and questions, which encourage students to think on a creative basis, thus enhancing their skills and developing their critical thinking. You can also ask the students to draw a certain number of dots in a predefined manner and ask them to connect the dots with some straight lines. Providing the students with hypothetical situations and seeking their reaction to it is also a productive exercise that can help them to develop critical thinking.
Thinking on creative and innovative basis improves your critical thinking. You can translate this exercise into a creative process by engaging yourself in writing or painting, which will improve your capability to create better and more complicated creative work. As you go better in your craft, you can find new ways of challenging yourself. For example, if you are a proficient painter, never hesitate exploring various styles of painting, such as cubism or abstract expressionism. The more you push yourself, the better you develop your critical thinking skills.
Collect All Information Regarding The Problem
Before critically thinking about anything, collect all the information regarding the problem that supports and contradicts your position. The information must be gathered, supporting and refuting all possible solutions. You require all the information to make an intelligent unbiased decision. Always remember to search for information from more than one place so that you get a better perspective on the problem.
Ask For Evidence
Make sure that you make it a habit to ask for evidence for each and everything. It includes casual conversations such as “Where did you read that?” or “Was that speculation, or did they actually do a test?” You must also be prepared to provide evidence for your claims too. Though you do not carry all the sources along with you, there should always be some basis for all claims and beliefs.
Critical analysis not only scrutinizes a problem, but also helps you delve deep into the heart of the matter. It is always important to know the problem in order to conquer it. And, critical thinking always helps you assess that.