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On Critical Thinking

The focus of skills over knowledge

Considering the K-12 system, we see that the emphasis on skills over content has changed the curriculum. Students increasingly focus on learning skills, but they may not learn too much history or science.

Critical thinking is not enough on its own. It needs to be used to gain insight from studying meaningful subject matter, like history or economics or physics or chemistry.

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On Critical Thinking

On Critical Thinking

https://hedgehogreview.com/blog/thr/posts/on-critical-thinking

hedgehogreview.com

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Key Ideas

Critical thinkers need the knowledge first

Employers need critical thinkers, but they cannot find them.

Focussing on knowledge only in college does not seem to help. Neither does it help to only focus on intellectual and cognitive skills.

Critical thinking is learning how to use knowledge.

The focus of skills over knowledge

Considering the K-12 system, we see that the emphasis on skills over content has changed the curriculum. Students increasingly focus on learning skills, but they may not learn too much history or science.

Critical thinking is not enough on its own. It needs to be used to gain insight from studying meaningful subject matter, like history or economics or physics or chemistry.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is a disciplined activity. It is not something we can acquire without intensive study and practice, nor can we isolate it from knowledge. Knowledge is foundational to provide the structure to do deep thinking.

Only with some background knowledge, can we apply the skills of critical thinking to problems and texts, understand the strengths and weaknesses of arguments, and offer creative solutions.

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Critical thinking...

...doesn’t happen because you’ve studied some abstract logical form and come to valid deductions.

 It happens because you know enough about how the world works to rule out certain...

The right way to improve critical thinking
  • Create contexts that enable smart decisions: recognize what you’re actually doing when you’re reasoning about things and use this knowledge to try to avoid making common mistakes
  • Absorb lots and lots of knowledge about the world and integrate it through practice making decisions:  more you know about things, the better you can reason about them.
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    It's a good way to see your ideas refuted or let stronger ideas win the day. Although there’s a risk of group think and conformity pressures, if you take a large and diverse enough group, you’re more likely to be exposed to the best reasoning, which will tend to win out over the majority opinion.

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    72% of employers

    ...feel that critical thinking is key to their organization’s success.

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