Critical thinking is the making of reasoned out ideas and coming up with well thought out conclusions. In thinking critically, one does not accept all the opinions and conclusions he/she is open to but slightly have a position concerning questioning such arguments and conclusions. It needs to highlight what amount of evidence is involved to support a certain argument or conclusion. Glaser (web) defined critical thinking as an attitude of being willing to consider on how to solve the problems and subjects that one might come across within his line of experience, understanding the methods used, and skills required in applying those methods. He also stated that critical thinking requires the ability to recognize problems, how to solve those problems, to gather and interpret data, to find evidence and to assess arguments. Critical thinking requires one to have the desire to study more information which will help in seeking more evidence and also being open to new ideas. It should also involve having a strong attitude of questioning on new ideas that one is exposed to and not believing all the things that you listen from everyone. Finally, one must have the capacity to acknowledge that his/her ideas and opinions are wrong when he/she encounters new and realistic evidence that do not support his/her initial statement. Thinking critically can help students to save their time. This is done by prioritizing the time and resources in coming up with what is essential to the process and in selecting the best decision. It enhances communication in that it teaches one to build and analyze his/her evidence for any given argument. A good critical thinker can become a more reasoned decision maker who can choose on different decisions resulting in sounder decision. This article argues that critical thinking is not sufficiently taught and prioritized in the education system.
Critical thinking is one of the subjects that have been added lately in the curriculum of most schools but it has faced a lot of challenges since thinking is not a skill like article writing which can be mastered at a go. Most American universities and colleges have adopted methods such as e-portfolio, surveys, and other tools to evaluate the students learning. These methods cannot tell one everything; therefore, lecturers have to add a list of learning outcomes in every subject so he/she can assess the students using this outcome. The assessment methods can also make academic departments use wrong data which can be very strenuous to get. All these methods of assessments require a lot of time, a lot of labor and they are also very expensive. This can make critical thinking not to be sufficiently taught and also to lose value. Worthen (web) stated that most of the employer's reports released recently show that many new graduates hired are not prepared to work since they lack writing, problem-solving and critical thinking skills needed in day to day's workplaces. Financial literacy is one of the skills that one should have even before going to the job market. Studies indicate that most students have difficulties even in managing their own finances. This is caused by lack of sufficient knowledge that enables individuals to make informed and sound financial decisions. Financial education has enhances students' knowledge levels but skills such as proper credit management, need for saving, and managing money should be added to students think critically. . In their classes, teachers should therefore teach about financial management and also allow economic socialization to enable students to make proper financial decisions. This show that most lecturers scramble to make sure their students graduate without the necessary skills and knowledge needed to face the outside world.
Some teachers train their students to think critically but most of them do not because they have no time. Most teachers and instructors have not been trained in critical thinking hence they find it difficult when analyzing statements and arguments. They will find it very hard in writing critical thinking assessments and measuring critical thinking. Writing critical thinking assessments, analyzing arguments and coming up with solutions can be very complex to most untrained teachers. Since critical thinking is a process and a general way of approaching problems, teachers find it difficult to tell the students to connect the general lessons learned to the real life situations. The education curricula have got so many things to be covered giving a little time to critical thinking. In order to cover the subjects, teachers have to rush quickly with the syllabus not highlighting some critical issues to the students. This brings frustrations to the teachers who will prioritize on teaching the common courses in the syllabus leaving behind critical thinking.
In critical thinking, the teacher should always engage the students directly during learning process. They should actually learn together to create openness among them and this is the case in critical thinking. Hechinger (web) stated that teachers are required to ask students questions that are open-ended to allow them to think and come up with different ideas, not direct questions that require a yes or no as an answer. Teachers must also be prepared for their role of learning together with their students and they should not assume they are experts in delivering knowledge because this is not the case in critical thinking. Students should also be taught on how to solve problems and they should know that not all problems can be solved. The most difficult step in problem-solving is always identifying where the problem is and recognizing the exact problem. Students should therefore pick those problems that can be solved and leave the rest because trying to tackle all the problems can tire them. Real life problems are different with textbook problems taught in schools, therefore, teachers should put more effort to help students think critically and overcome the problems Hechinger (web).
Teachers tend to be more reluctant in teaching critical thinking due to the radical changes in the world today. These changes will be difficult to adapt with requiring them to develop new expertise. Some faculty members fear introducing critical thinking in their courses because it tends to lower grades since critical thinking questions tend to be very difficult and requires a lot of thinking different from what the students are familiar with. It can cause teachers to lose their jobs and also lower their evaluations since most evaluations depend on grades the students receive. This is why what should be a vigorous assessment and analysis of evidence is not sufficiently taught so that no grades can be affected.
Creativity and innovation are some of the essential skills that should be fostered in learning critical thinking. Education sector should try and adapt to the rapid changes in this 21st century to create a culture of research, innovation, and creative and critical thinking. These skills can only be developed by teachers in classes that allow questioning, openness to new ideas and learning from mistakes. Lack of adapting with the new changes in the 21st century makes critical thinking not sufficiently taught in most parts of the country.In my own opinion, critical thinking is not sufficiently taught, valued and prioritized in the education system. Teachers should stop being more egocentric and try to fit in the shoes of their students. They should lower their pride to allow students to interact and ask them more real-life questions not textbook questions only. The school administration should also come up with a course for critical thinking, not just a unit that is done once in a semester and the chapter is closed. This can help us students in identifying and nurturing our analytical, decision making and problem-solving skills. Teachers should also engage students in more interactive class discussions where everyone must participate. The discussions should not be a must that they are class work but the topic should talk about general life experience such as falling in love or being in a relationship. This can allow most of us to be open-minded and to start thinking critically.
In conclusion, there is much work to be done in the education sector to incorporate 21st century learning standards and also implement the education curriculum to teach into such incorporated standards. For now, I hope everyone can get better at critical thinking if he/she makes it a priority since it's important for one to develop the ability to solve critical problems or think through all the angles.
"Why Public Schools Don't Teach Critical Thinking -- Part 1." HuffPost. N. p., 2015. Web. 2 Mar. 2018. HECHINGER, FRED. "ABOUT EDUCATION; THINKING CRITICALLY." Nytimes.com. N. p., 2018. Web. 2 Mar. 2018.
Worthen, Molly. "Opinion | The Misguided Drive To Measure 'Learning Outcomes'." Nytimes.com. N. p., 2018. Web. 2 Mar. 2018.
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