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Critical Thinking SAH 103 for Final

Oct 24, 2014

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Al Ghurair UniversityDepartment of Foundation and General Studies

Reasoning and Critical Thinking SAH 103

Dr. Kamel MahmoudOffice: College of Business Studies Phone Extension: 306

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Table of ContentsChapter 1: Introduction ................................................................................... 3 Chapter 2: Useful critical thinking skills ......................................................... 8 Chapter 3: Gathering Skills 11 1. Observing ............................................................................................. 12 2. Questioning ........................................................................................... 14 Chapter 4: Organizing Skills 1. Comparing and Contrasting .................................................................. 2. Classifying and Sequencing .................................................................. 3. Identifying Cause and Effect ................................................................. Chapter 5: Generating Skills 1. Inferring ................................................................................................ 2. Summarizing ......................................................................................... 3. Synthesizing ......................................................................................... 4. Generating Ideas ................................................................................... Chapter 6: Recognizing Skills 1. Recognizing Fact and Opinion .............................................................. 2. Recognizing Tone ................................................................................. 3. Recognizing Bias................................................................................... 4. Recognizing Underlying Assumptions .................................................. Chapter 7: Analyzing Skills 1. Evaluating ............................................................................................. 2. Inducing ................................................................................................ 3. Deducing .............................................................................................. 18 19 21 23 25 26 28 30 31 34 35 38 40 43 45 46 48 52

Chapter 8: Studying and Thinking Critically 54 ..........................................................................................................................

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION

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Definition: What is Critical Thinking? Critical thinking is thinking that is clear, precise, accurate, relevant, consistent & fair. The best way to get to the truth. Critical thinking is the art of analyzing and evaluating thinking with a view to improving it. The process of using reasoning to discern what is true, and what is false, in the phrases and "sound bytes" we hear everyday. Deciding rationally what to or what not to believe. The use of cognitive skills or strategies that increase the probability of a desirable outcome. "The examination and testing of suggested solutions to see whether they will work." Careful and deliberate determinations of whether to accept, reject, or suspend judgment. A disciplined manner of thought that a person uses to assess the validity of something: a statement, news story, argument, research, etc.

What Critical Thinking is not?Thinking critically is not thinking negatively with a predisposition to find fault or flaws. It is a neutral and unbiased process for evaluating claims or opinions, either someone elses or our own. It does not mean being argumentative or being critical of others. Although critical thinking skills can be used in exposing fallacies and bad reasoning, they can also be used to support other viewpoints, and to cooperate with others in solving problems and acquiring knowledge. In fact, a more accurate term would be evaluative thinking. The result of evaluation can range from positive to negative, from acceptance to rejection or anything in-between.

Critical thinking is not intended to make people think alike. For one reason, critical thinking is distinct from ones values or principles, which explains why two people who are equally adept at critical thinking, but have different values or principles, can reach entirely different conclusions. Additionally, there will always4

be differences in perception and basic emotional needs which prevent us from thinking the same way.

Critical thinking does not threaten ones individuality or personality. It may increase your objectivity, but it will not change who you are. It is not a belief. Critical thinking can evaluate the validity of beliefs, but it is not a belief by itself it is a process. Critical thinking does not discourage or replace feelings or emotional thinking. Emotions give our lives meaning, pleasure, and a sense of purpose. Critical thinking cannot possibly fulfill this role. Still, emotional decisions that are also critical decisions (such as deciding to get married or have children) should embody critical thinking. Critical thinking does not blindly support everything based on science. For example, our culture is full of false scientific claims that are used to market everything. It is also important to understand that arguments based on critical thinking are not necessarily the most persuasive. Perhaps more often than not, the most persuasive arguments are those designed to appeal to our basic human/emotional needs rather than to our sense of objectivity. For that reason, it is common for highly persuasive arguments by politicians, and sales people, among others, to intentionally lack critical thinking.

Scope of Critical Thinking:Critical thinking is a general thinking skill that is useful for all sorts of careers and professions. Clear and systematic thinking can improve the comprehension and expression of ideas, so good critical thinking can also enhance language and presentation skills. Critical thinking is for everyone; it is a way to approach problems and make decisions. If you study and practice critical thinking, your concept of it will continue to develop.

Critical Thinking and Creativity:It is sometimes suggested that critical thinking is incompatible with creativity. Discuss This is a misconception, as creativity is not just a matter of coming up with new ideas. A creative person is someone who can generate new ideas that are useful and relevant to the task at hand. Critical thinking plays a crucial role in evaluating the usefulness of new ideas, selecting the best ones and modifying them if necessary.

Benefits of critical thinking:5

Self-confidence and a sense of control over ones life are the two main personal benefits of being a critical thinker. Ability to listen with an open mind, even to a conflicting point of view. Guarantee, as far as possible, that ones beliefs and actions are justifiable and can withstand the test of rational analysis. Improvement in ones studying and course work. Significant correlation between Critical Thinking scores and college GPA. Ability to solve problems in a manner which allows you to have a reflective overview of what you have done. It gives one the chance to think, to consider the data before making a decision that could be critical to his livelihood. Being more honest with ourselves and to admit what we don't know. We would be less afraid to say "I was wrong" and be able to learn from our mistakes. Our beliefs would really be our own, not simply passed on to us by others. Developing the ability to imagine putting ourselves in the place of others and understand the viewpoints of others. Being patient to think before acting. Ability to distinguish between fact and opinion; ask questions; make detailed observations; uncover assumptions and define their terms; and make assertions based on sound logic and solid evidence.

Attributes of a Critical Thinker: Asks pertinent (Relevant) questions. Assesses statements and arguments. Is able to admit a lack of understanding or information. Has a sense of curiosity. Is interested in finding new solutions. Is able to clearly define a set of criteria for analyzing ideas. Is willing to examine beliefs, assumptions, and opinions and weigh them against facts. Listens carefully to others and is able to give feedback.6

Sees that critical thinking is a lifelong process of self-assessment. Suspends judgment until all facts have been gathered and considered. Looks for evidence to support assumption and beliefs. Is able to adjust opinions when new facts are found. Examines problems closely. Is able to reject information that is incorrect or irrelevant.

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Chapter 2 Useful critical thinking skills

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Thinking Vs. Thinking Critically Thinking Definition:The process of producing thoughts based on recall of remembered and memorized information. Remembered: Acquired passively, without trying. Memorized: Acquired actively, by planning.

Critical Thinking Definition:The use of any and all appropriate thinking skills when intellectual tasks call for anything more than information recall.

Critical Thinking Skill[s] Definition:Just about every thinking ability or behavior that can be taught, including such mental operations as questioning, classifying, synthesizing, comparing, recognizing bias, inducing, deducing, and inferring.Learn the Most Frequently Employed Critical Thinking Skills Now, Others Later Because critical thinking skills are so interrelated that one skill depends to some degree on another, becoming adept at thinking critically involves learning to use a variety of reasoning abilities effectively in many different contexts and in many different combinations. Observing Questioning Comparing and contrasting Classifying and sequencing Identifying cause and effect Inferring Summarizing Synthesizing Generating ideas Recognizing purpose9

Recognizing fact and opinion Recognizing tone Recognizing bias Recognizing organization Recognizing underlying assumptions Analyzing Evaluating Inducing Deducing

Stirring Up Thinking Much of our thinking is habitually biased, partial, uninformed, or even prejudiced because we seldom think about our thinking & so do not apply any standards to it. Any time our thinking is stirred up so that we force our self to think about our thinking and apply standards to it, we are using thinking skills that go beyond recall of information. Systematically cultivating the process of thinking leads to an increased ability to conceptualize, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information fairly and accurately.

The Shift from Learning to Thinking Teachers of all levels concluded that it is better for students to think for themselves than merely to learn what other people have thought. Effective and meaningful education requires that teaching and learning at all levels be coordinated to foster in the students the mental skills and the habits associated with critical thinking. With the explosive growth of new information, information retrieval systems, and access to information through computers, it has become even more important that every person be trained to be an independent thinker. Stir it up: Why do we need computers and internet?

Doesnt skillful thinking develop on its own?Probably the majority of people believe that skillful thinking develops on its own. After all, dont people just become better thinker as they get older? Unfortunately, if people are left to develop their thinking skills on their own, they frequently fail to progress beyond basic, unthinking acceptance of much of what we see, hear, and read, and never really progress to thinking levels of which they may be capable.

Critical thinking must be actively sought and learned and then practiced.Easier to understand, compare to other natural skills (Climbing). We learn to climb as children: Stairs, chairs, coaches, ladder, and trees. However, we would not dream of attempting to climb the sheer face of cliff or rock-climbing without specialized training. As with climbing, people develop thinking skills naturally to some degree, but not sufficiently to take on the specialized thinking tasks necessary to consciously control their own thinking at all times.10

Chapter 3 Gathering Skills3. Observing 4. Questioning

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Gathering Information1. ObservingWe cannot create observers by saying observe, but by giving them the power and the means for this observation and these means are procured through education of the sense. Maria Montessori

Observing Definition:Actively seeking information through one or more senses.

Observation skills test and your power of observation:Having good observation skills is an essential asset to people around the world, and it is a skill that can be developed by practice. Observation skills test can help you quickly identify how well you have developed this skill in your own life. Observation is a very unique skill that is not studied formally through books or lectures; in fact it is acquired through the day to day routines of life, on the fly. The first step in trying to increase your observation skills is to know how observant you are at present and then make a conscious decision to keep your eyes and ears open so as to absorb every perception, fact, incident or opinion that comes your way.

How well do we observe?Becoming powerful thinker requires us to go through a process of learning first how to observe, how to stay aware even when things seem familiar, and then how to gather and organize new information in light of what we already know. When new information is gathered improperly, if it is faulty, unclear, inaccurate, or sketchy because our observation was casual, incomplete or undisciplined, then the thinking based on that information will have the same sloppy characteristics. By just simply being told that you need to be more observant wont make you observant. You have to work at it.

Some great habits that can help you build your observation skills: Trying to look at everyday life in a clear manner. Trying to judge people and their perceptions. Always trying to ask questions to people or in your mind.12

Open to new experiences. Open to new ideas.

Good listening skills.

Observing is an Active ProcessObservation is different from mere passive seeing and hearing. It involves employing all of our senses in an active effort to note, discern, be aware of, acquire, and retain critical information. When we observe well, we lay a foundation for seeing and interpreting details that frequently contain the key to solving problems or generating ideas. Observing is a means of coming to know clearly, of learning by carefully studying and active remembering. When we work at developing our observation skills, we benefit by becoming more aware of what we see and hear and better able to infer, and to differentiate between what is true and what is false, and between what is fact and what...