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Introduction to Critical Thinking

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  1. Introduction to Critical Thinking GXEX1406 Thinking and Communication Skills

  2. What is critical thinking? • Cognitive skills and intellectual dispositions needed to effectively: • Identify, analyze and evaluate arguments and truth claims • Discover and overcome personal prejudices and biases • Formulate and present convincing reasons in support of conclusions • To make reasonable, intelligent decisions about what to believe and what is true GXEX 1406 Thinking and Communication Skills- Week 1 Introduction to Critical Thinking

  3. What does not thinking critically look like? • Blindly reproducing old learned reactions • Blindly accepting face value all justifications of organizations & political leaders • Blindly believe TV commercials • Blindly trust political commercials • Blindly accept and say that if the textbook says it, it must be so • Blindly accept and say that if the organization does it, it must be right GXEX 1406 Thinking and Communication Skills- Week 1 Introduction to Critical Thinking

  4. What does Critical Thinking Look Like? • Contextual sensitivity - being sensitive to stereotypes about people of particular group & accept others at face value unconditionally • Perspective thinking - trying to get into other person's head, or walk in other’s shoes to see the world way that person sees it • Tolerance for ambiguity - ability to accept multiple interpretations of same situation GXEX 1406 Thinking and Communication Skills- Week 1 Introduction to Critical Thinking

  5. What are the Major Concepts in Critical Thinking? • Perception • Assumptions • Emotion • Language • Argument • Fallacy • Logic • Problem Solving You will learn all these major concepts throughout the course GXEX 1406 Thinking and Communication Skills- Week 1 Introduction to Critical Thinking

  6. Something else is needed • More to Critical Thinking than just cognitive skills • Human beings are more than just thinking machines GXEX 1406 Thinking and Communication Skills- Week 1 Introduction to Critical Thinking

  7. Need “the Critical Spirit”(affective dispositions) • A probing inquisitiveness • A keenness of mind • A zealous dedication to reason • A hunger or eagerness for reliable information GXEX 1406 Thinking and Communication Skills- Week 1 Introduction to Critical Thinking

  8. Critical thinkers strive for these intellectual standards • Clarity • Precision • Accuracy • Relevance • Consistency • Logical correctness • Completeness • Fairness GXEX 1406 Thinking and Communication Skills- Week 1 Introduction to Critical Thinking

  9. Why is Critical Thinking of Value? • You can answer—why of value to you? • What’s value of cognitive skills? • What’s value of the critical spirit? • Would these mean more success at what you do? • Would it mean better grades for students? GXEX 1406 Thinking and Communication Skills- Week 1 Introduction to Critical Thinking

  10. Grades – Yes! • 1,100 college students • Significant correlation between CT scores & college GPA • Critical Thinking skills can be learned • Significant correlation between Critical Thinking and Reading Comprehension GXEX 1406 Thinking and Communication Skills- Week 1 Introduction to Critical Thinking

  11. Main Purpose of College Experience • Achievement of liberal (liberated) education. It’s about • Learning to learn • Learning to think for one’s self • Leads away from naïve acceptance of authority • Leads above self-defeating relativism • Beyond ambiguous contextualism • Culminates in principled, reflective judgment GXEX 1406 Thinking and Communication Skills- Week 1 Introduction to Critical Thinking

  12. So..the benefits of critical thinking • In the classroom…. • Understand materials you are studying • Critically evaluate what you are learning • Develop your own arguments on particular issues • In the workplace…. • Problem-solving • Analyze information, draw appropriate conclusions • In Life… • Avoid making foolish decisions • Help to free us from unexamined assumptions, dogmas & prejudices GXEX 1406 Thinking and Communication Skills- Week 1 Introduction to Critical Thinking

  13. If critical thinking is so important, why is that uncritical thinking is so common? GXEX 1406 Thinking and Communication Skills- Week 1 Introduction to Critical Thinking

  14. Barriers to critical thinking • Lack of relevant background information • Poor reading skills • Bias • Prejudice • Superstition • Peer pressure • Face-saving • Resistance to change • Selective perception • Rationalization • Scapegoating GXEX 1406 Thinking and Communication Skills- Week 1 Introduction to Critical Thinking

  15. Cont…. (barriers to critical thinking) – THE MAJOR HINRANCES • Egocentrism (self-centred thinking) • Sociocentrism (group-centred thinking) • Stereotyping • Unwarranted assumptions • Wishful thinking All these play a powerful role in hindering critical thinking GXEX 1406 Thinking and Communication Skills- Week 1 Introduction to Critical Thinking

  16. EGOCENTRISM – the tendency to view one’s own interests, ideas and values as superior to everyone’s else SELF-INTERESTED THINKING – tendency to accept and defend beliefs that harmonize one’s own self-interest SELF-SERVING BIAS – tendency to overrate oneself

  17. Are you overconfident in your belief? • Activity 1: Make a low and high guess such that you are 90 percent sure the correct answer falls between the two. Your challenge is to be neither too narrow (I.e overconfident) nor too wide (underconfident) • The number of Malaysia’s Internet users • (90% confidence range) • LOW - ? • HIGH - ? GXEX 1406 Thinking and Communication Skills- Week 1 Introduction to Critical Thinking

  18. Sociocentrism: group-centred thinking • Group bias – the tendency to see one’s own group as being inherently better than others • Herd instinct (conformism) – the tendency to follow the crowd GXEX 1406 Thinking and Communication Skills- Week 1 Introduction to Critical Thinking

  19. Unwarranted Assumptions & Stereotyping • Assumption – something taken for granted, something we believe to be true without any proof or conclusive evidence • Unwarranted assumption – something taken for granted without good reason • Stereotyping – making a hasty generalization GXEX 1406 Thinking and Communication Skills- Week 1 Introduction to Critical Thinking

  20. Wishful thinking • Believing something not because you had good evidence for it but simply because you wished it were true. • Believing something because it makes one feel good, not because there is good rational grounds for thinking it is true. GXEX 1406 Thinking and Communication Skills- Week 1 Introduction to Critical Thinking

  21. Activity 2 -Refer to the handout. Read the story and answer the questions that follow: GXEX 1406 Thinking and Communication Skills- Week 1 Introduction to Critical Thinking

  22. Answer the following • Which one did you choose? Why? • As you read, you probably imagined what the characters looked like. From the image you had of them, describe the following characters in a few sentences: The Captain Dr Brown Marie Brown Lieutenant Ashley Morganstern Letty Eagle-Eye Sam • What is the relationship between Dr Brown and Marie Brown? GXEX 1406 Thinking and Communication Skills- Week 1 Introduction to Critical Thinking

  23. Get into your group. Discuss the followings • Compare your responses to Questions 1 & 3? Is there any consensus in the group? • Look at your portrait of Dr Brown. How many assumptions did you make about the doctor’s gender, age, appearance, and profession? What evidence in the story supports your image of the doctor? • Look at your portraits of the other characters. What similarities do you find among your group members? GXEX 1406 Thinking and Communication Skills- Week 1 Introduction to Critical Thinking

  24. Critical thinkers exhibit anumber of traits that distinguish them from uncritical thinkers Read Bassham’s Critical thinking – Chapter 1 GXEX 1406 Thinking and Communication Skills- Week 1 Introduction to Critical Thinking