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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Critical Thinking and How We See the World.

When we polarize the world, we are fixing our differing views to the point where no one sees what is really going on. Where there is no compromise, there can be no truth. Critical Thinking is a skill that seems lost as we would rather argue and hate, attack and misstrust than listen, look, research and be open to change or compromise. So how many logs are there, really?

Why learn to speak in public?

Why learn to speak in public?
Introduction to Public Speaking and Communication Model’
-Art Lynch

Click "read more" below for find out more:

Developing Your Purpose and Topic

Every speech you present has one overall goal or general purpose: to inform, to persuade, or to entertain. The general purpose determines the nature of your speech.

In brainstorming for topics, list all the topic ideas you can think of without evaluating them. Often brainstorming begins long before you finally write down your topic ideas. But setting aside some time to gather together all your topic ideas will help you consider your options more clearly.

Evaluate possible topics in terms of five areas: yourself, your audience, available resources, time, and setting. Choose a topic that is appropriate for yourself, the audience, and the situation. Also make sure you can find enough information to present a well-researched speech.

Your specific purpose--what you want to achieve--merges your general purpose and topic with the response you seek from your audience. As you work on choosing a topic, you'll frame the specific purpose.

Phrasing the thesis is a crucial step in topic development. Your thesis flows from your specific purpose and indicates how you will achieve the objective of your speech. Written as a single declarative sentence, the thesis captures the essence of your speech by incorporating the main points you plan to address.

Developing your topic starts with brainstorming for ideas associated with that topic. The next step is to identify themes and group them by category. These categories become the main points of your speech and suggest the thesis--the essence of what you'll cover.

Your topic, general purpose, specific purpose, thesis, and main points form the basis of your working outline. The working outline provides a tentative plan for your speech that may change as you learn more about your topic and audience. This early work gives you a solid foundation for analyzing your audience, researching your topic, identifying appropriate supporting materials, and determining the best way to organize your ideas.

New York Times (for topics):

Opposing Views (for topics):

AltaVista News
A useful resource for topic ideas, AltaVista News 
is organized by categories such as top stories, 
technology, society, international, and science.
Google Directory > Society > Issues
A directory of current issues in the news that 
can help you identify a topic for your speech. 
Click on a topic area for a list of more 
specific issues.
Speech Topics Help, Advice, and Ideas
Topic ideas and suggestions for informative, 
persuasive, and entertaining speeches.
Yahoo > Society and Culture > 
Issues and Causes
This part of the Yahoo! Directory provides 
a useful list of topics in the news that can 
help in the topic brainstorming process.


What is Critical Thinking? Asking Questions and Seeking Solutions?

What is Critical Thinking?

Nobody said it better than Francis Bacon, back in 1605:

For myself, I found that I was fitted for nothing so well as for the study of Truth; as having a mind nimble and versatile enough to catch the resemblances of things … and at the same time steady enough to fix and distinguish their subtler differences; as being gifted by nature with desire to seek, patience to doubt, fondness to meditate, slowness to assert, readiness to consider, carefulness to dispose and set in order; and as being a man that neither affects what is new nor admires what is old, and that hates every kind of imposture.

A shorter version is the art of being right.
Or, more prosaically: critical thinking is the skillful application of a repertoire of validated general techniques for deciding the level of confidence you should have in a proposition in the light of the available evidence.   

Critical Thinking does not mean arguing, or tossing quotes or statistics back and forth. It means being willing to listen to and understand the issues, opinions, interpretations of the facts and issues. It may require reading entire books, seeking out original writings and recordings that go beyond soundbites and quotes, talking to people on both sides and working toward compromise, or at least solutions that can work for both sides.

Being willing to listen, to understand and to see the value of the other side of the equation has long been a vital part of decision making, of reasoned discourse and of needed compromise for society to function and individuals to understand each other and other cultures or ideals.

Critical thinking refers to higher order thinking that questions assumptions, your own first and foremost, and those of opposing views or of generally accepted realities.

By questioning your own assumptions and beliefs, you open yourself to discovery of not just information or perceived "facts" that may contradict your beliefs, but also information that supports what you already believe. You will be less reliant on what you are told from above, or hear on the news, or hear from friends who often repeat things in different ways (think of the old game telegraph). You become a part of the solution and not the problem. 

Critical thinking is not about fighting, shouting heads, or openly confronting others. It is about challenging others, teaching and being open to learn in your own right.

Being open.