In the second chapter of this book, the author discusses the concept of critical thinking and the skills needed to develop this ability. The chapter begins with the definition, history, and etymology of the term itself. Critical thinker models are also discussed at the beginning, and the author writes about Socrates as an original example. The chapter is further divided into ten sections called “Thinking activity,” and each section provides specific exercises that develop critical thinking skills. To describe the ways to do it, the author explains what factors can influence our thinking. The connection between one’s learning abilities and critical thinking skills is also discussed in this chapter.
- “Critical thinking is a modern reworking of a philosophical perspective.” (p.51)
- “Active thinking is one of the keys to effective learning.” (p.54)
- “We have to become question marks again.” (p.57)
- “One indication of having thought through YOUR ideas is being able to explain WHY you believe them.” (58)
- “One of the most important tools in reading critically is asking the right questions.” (p.73)
The reason why I find this section highly important is because it provides specific practice to develop critical thinking skills effectively. In my opinion, the section’s crucial point is that the ability to critically process information depends on a number of skills: active listening, reading, and asking questions that can lead to the answers needed. I have learned how different aspects of the text and the questions we ask ourselves can tell us about the credibility and reliability of the information.
It never occurred to me that asking the right questions can be a highly effective approach to problem-solving too. I think that I will use questions like “What are the possible alternatives?” or “What is the solution?” in my daily decisions. Although the questions may seem simple and obvious, I think that I often lack the straightforward and calm approach to the issue that they provide. That is how they contradict the way I used to solve problems: I do not usually start panicking when something negative happens, but I am not as consistent with my questions.
As for me, there is nothing challenging about the material; one just has to be consistent with practicing the skills described. I think that getting into the habit of analyzing information in the way that was suggested will allow me to be able to do it much faster and more skillfully. I have applied some techniques and have already noticed the improvement. Although I seem to spend more time reading or thinking about a particular piece of information, I feel that I am much more focused than I used to be.
Chaffee, John. “Thinking Critically.” Thinking Critically. 12th ed., Cengage, 2019, pp. 49-75.