Using Critical Thinking Skills In Writing

Using Critical Thinking Skills In Writing-81
What may be more useful is to explicitly introduce students to the language of logic and reason, providing them with an approach to analyze their own and others' thinking. As University of Melbourne professor Tim van Gelder (2005) observes, "Instead of saying, 'That argument sucks,' the critical thinker can say that she does not accept the conclusion, even though she grants the premises, because the inference is an example of the fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc" (p. In my own first semester of college, I enrolled in a logic course that turned out to be a fortuitous complement to freshman composition. In short, critical thinking requires effort and doesn't spring automatically from a pen moving across paper.

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The trouble is, our brains are—in a word—lazy, says Kahneman.

We default to System 1, and only with effort power up System 2.

When using critical thinking, individuals step back and reflect on the quality of that thinking.

Simpson and Courtneay point out that critical thinking processes require active argumentation, initiative, reasoning, envisioning and analyzing complex alternatives, and making contingency-related value judgment.

The real culprit, though, may have been that too few of us instructors understood that although writing and thinking may be linked, students don't learn to think just by learning to write; rather, to learn to write, they need to learn to think.

Many researchers, including Facione, Simpson and Courtneay, Banning, Brookfield, Ornstein and Hunkins, Sternberg, Ennis, and Lipman, have defined critical thinking (CT).

Researchers debate whether critical thinking can be learned or if it's a developmental process regulated by motivations, dispositions, and personality traits.

Despite differences of opinion, many researchers agree that critical thinking is "Purposeful, self-regulatory judgment which results in interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference, as well as explanation of the evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological or contextual considerations upon which judgment is based.

Our faculty advisor warned us, "B papers will give you the most trouble." Critical feedback on C or D papers was pretty straight forward.

The challenge lay in responding to grammatically correct, precisely written papers that conveyed little original thought.


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