- Slides: 12
Critical Thinking in College
Critical Thinking in College All aspects of college academic life require that you use critical thinking skills. Five steps for critical thinking: Step 1: Ask a lot of questions (and answer them!). Step 2: Evaluate your own reactions. Step 3: Analyze the information with a “critical” lens. Step 4: Make connections and keep the big picture in mind. Step 5: Apply your learning to your own life experiences.
Quick Tip Bring “You” Into the Equation If you’re taking a required class that you didn’t choose, try to figure out how the material is relevant to your life. By bringing “you” into the equation, you will care more, think more deeply, and perform more successfully.
Critical Thinking in College (continued) Try not to inhibit critical thinking. Avoid being a passive observer during lectures. Agreeing with everything prevents you from thinking critically about the information presented. Remember that your perspective is valuable and is also a new one. Sharing and understanding your reactions to material will enhance your thinking. Try to ask any questions you have. If you’re not asking questions, you’re not engaging in critical thinking.
Quick Tip Think for Yourself When you work with a study group, be sure to think as an individual. It’s easy to assume that the groupthink that arises out of your study group discussion is the only way to think about an issue. However, don’t let the group limit your own critical thinking, especially if you feel unsettled by conclusions that the study group makes.
Where to Use Your Critical Thinking Skills Try using the five steps, in any order, while: Reading class assignments. Completing problem sets. Researching and writing papers. Participating in group projects. Listening to lectures. You can also apply your critical thinking skills to everyday college life when you are solving problems or making decisions, and throughout any creative process.
Where to Use Your Critical Thinking Skills (continued) Critical thinking while problem solving Understand the root of the problem. Take time to determine where the problem is coming from. By uncovering the roots of the problem, you’ll be more likely to find the right solution. Gather and analyze information. Determine what would assist you when solving the problem. Brainstorm all possible solutions. With possible solutions in mind, use your judgment to determine which one would work best.
5 Ways You Use Critical Thinking in Everyday College Life 1. When making choices about how to spend your time outside of class. 2. During a heated debate with a classmate. 3. While working on a new fundraiser for your favorite club. 4. When deciding whether to switch majors. 5. While discussing your future with a career advisor.
Where to Use Your Critical Thinking Skills (continued) Critical thinking when making decisions Clarify the decision. Simplify the decision-making process by stripping away aspects of the decision that are irrelevant. Gather and analyze information. Determine what information you need to consider when making your decision. Weigh the pros and cons. Compare the positive and negative aspects of each possible option. Engage your critical thinking skills throughout the decision-making process.
Quick Tip Take Time to Reflect Take time to reflect after you’ve chosen a solution to your problem or made a decision. Continue to be a critical thinker by evaluating how things are going. Is your solution working? If so, why is it working? If not, should you consider other solutions to the problem? After making a decision, are you happy with it? If not, can you change your decision to make things better?
Where to Use Your Critical Thinking Skills (continued) Critical thinking and creativity You need to be creative when engaging in aspects of critical thinking, such as: Coming up with examples that clarify an idea. Trying to poke holes in a well-supported argument. Developing new or alternative explanations. As you come up with ideas or explanations during the creative process, you need to analyze whether the ideas and explanations: Make sense. Can be well supported. Are relevant.