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Monday, September 12, 2011

Critical Thinking


What is critical thinking?

In the late 1980s, the American Philosophical Association commissioned a study to better define the concept of critical thinking and how it can be recognized, taught, and assessed. Forty-six internationally recognized thinkers participated in the study through a two-year, qualitative research process known as the “Delphi method.” The panel, led by Dr. Peter Facione, published a report called “Critical Thinking: A Statement of Expert Consensus for Purposes of Educational Assessment and Instruction;” this is often referred to as “The Delphi Report.”

The following definition of critical thinking is quoted from the Executive Summary of that report (Facione, 1990):
CONSENSUS STATEMENT REGARDING CRITICAL THINKING AND THE IDEAL CRITICAL THINKER
We understand critical thinking to be 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 that judgment is based. CT is essential as a tool of inquiry. As such, CT is a liberating force in education and a powerful resource in one's personal and civic life. While not synonymous with good thinking, CT is a pervasive and self-rectifying human phenomenon. The ideal critical thinker is habitually inquisitive, well-informed, trustful of reason, open-minded, flexible, fair-minded in evaluation, honest in facing personal biases, prudent in making judgments, willing to reconsider, clear about issues, orderly in complex matters, diligent in seeking relevant information, reasonable in the selection of criteria, focused in inquiry, and persistent in seeking results which are as precise as the subject and the circumstances of inquiry permit. Thus, educating good critical thinkers means working toward this ideal. It combines developing CT skills with nurturing those dispositions which consistently yield useful insights and which are the basis of a rational and democratic society.

Reference

Facione, P. A. (1990). Executive summary: Critical thinking: A statement of expert consensus for purposes of educational assessment and instruction. Millbrae, CA: The California Academic Press. Electronic version retrieved May 1, 2009 fromhttp://www.insightassessment.com/pdf_files/DEXadobe.PDF

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