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Importance of Evaluation in Critical ThinkingEssay

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Critical thinking offers people a way to interpret their thinking and reactions to others thinking. It provides a mechanism of action that gives a means with which to understand the world at large. So many things, concepts are abstract. They are not easy to define. Laws, facts, these are simple because one just memorizes them. They do not offer more than a first glance. Critical thinking is for thoughts and concepts that require more than a first glance. Concepts like love and family; they all generate complex and comprehensive meaning. Widely debated topics like abortion and video game violence require more than, a simple "this is bad for you" or "It is wrong." Writers like Bedau and Barnet, Facione, and Halpern provide the context with which I can define critical thinking. My definition of critical thinking is the tool with which one can analyze or interpret something in a way that is communicative and insightful. Critical thinking lends to writing what tools lend to a workbench.

Body

Critical thinking invites people to view things not just from one perspective, but multiple. This is because in order to understand something well, enough to give your opinion on, a person must first see it from more than one side. Unique perspective are important in any formation of self. However, because everyone is unique, one's interpretation must then be translated into something everyone can understand. This is where critical thinking comes in.

Through examination of the world around me via textbooks, blog posts, TV shows, I get bits of information that I can later use to interpret my ideas. Great writers are said to create stories that truly captivate and inspire not just one group of people, but everyone. How do they do that? How can they achieve such universal appeal? They do it by thinking critically on subjects.

Universal emotions like pain, love, and fear, everyone interprets them all differently. Nevertheless, some things derived from these concepts have an ability to connect with everyone regardless of individual experience. Critical thinking helps in this. It helps people see just how important an interpretation of a concept is.

Thing always change. Like seasons, people change, societies change, rules change. What was once defined clearly could lose its meaning and be redefined, reimagined. A good example of this is the view of the world. In the past people believed, the world was flat. Everyone accepted this as fact. However, eventually, people came to exist that provided the way in which people could see the earth was round.

These people critically examined the evidence they had on the shape of the world. They gathered information from observation and then their own experiences and generated an answer that they felt was the truth. They then figured out a way to communicate this answer so people could understand that the old definition of the world was untrue. Although it took great effort, now everyone for the most part sees the world as round.

Bedau and Barnet's discuss in the first two chapters how readers can critically think and read by understanding and breaking things down. On page 10, the writers examined student evaluations of professors. They state that many universities and colleges invite pupils to assess the courses taken, typically by filling out a survey or questionnaire. Instructors then get the evaluations after grades are turned in. (Barnet and Bedau 10) They ask what is the purpose of these evaluations?

When I think of this, I think of all the reasons why students perform evaluations. Professors may become lazy and not do what they are paid to do. Students may feel more "involved and appreciated" when they see their opinion matters. Evaluations may also keep professors motivated and confident if they see that the way they instruct positively impacts their students.

By Barnet and Bedau providing examples such as these to their readers, they are showing rather than explaining how to think critically think and read. When interpreting things and viewing things from varied perspectives or sources, one must also learn to identify the pros and cons when thinking critically. The writers mention this by using the student evaluations example. They provide the benefits of evaluations for instructors, students, and administrators. They then provide the arguments against evaluations. The pros and cons help an individual see whether or not something is overall beneficial or overall harmful.

This help remove some of the emotion in thinking that can sometimes cloud one's judgment. For example, abortion. People feel that it is wrong, but one must also take into consideration rape victims and their desire to remove any product of that rape. There are so many things to consider when it comes evaluating a topic or a concept. Utilizing the method of listing pros and cons helps to see objectively if something works or not.

Barnet and Bedau highlight the importance of assessment in critical thinking. If one cannot see the benefit or truth in something, then they can reject it, leading to a clearer and more concise interpretation of something. Because critical thinking can be hard and lead to many dead ends, evaluation helps remove some of those dead ends making finding a solution or an answer easier. This is true for many things and promotes effectiveness in process of elimination. Evaluation is a method of process and elimination.

Clarification leads to countless ways to understand something, particularly abstract definitions. Facione shows rather than states what critical thinking is. He even tries to come up with a good example of strong critical thinking.

How about the adroit and clever questioning of Socrates or a good attorney or interviewer? Or, what about the clever investigative approaches used by police detectives and crime scene analysts? Would we not want to also include people working together to solve a problem as they consider and discuss their options? How about someone who is good at listening to all sides of a dispute, considering all the facts, and then deciding what is relevant and what is not, and then rendering a thoughtful judgment? And maybe too, someone who is able to summarize complex ideas clearly with fairness to all sides, or a person who can come up with the most coherent and justifiable explanation of what a passage of written material means? (Facione 3)

All of these questions point to a strong critical thinker as a person who is willing to see all sides before making a conclusion. Earlier I discussed perspective, evaluation, listing the pros and cons. Now it is important to see the qualities of a strong critical thinker in order to understand critical thinking.

Strong critical thinkers use various forms and kinds of information to draw conclusions. This is because truth and answers lie in everything, including lies. Therefore, if one is to mimic this kind of behavior, one must attempt to look at as much as possible in order to deduce a solution to something complex. Strong critical thinking reminds me of an hourglass. I gather as much information as I can on a subject and then narrow it down through process and elimination to get to a specific interpretation and then it leads me back to looking for more information to answer then something else.

Critical thinking is a process and just like any other process it requires effort. Asking questions is an important aspect of the critical thinking process. Because abstract concepts are often the reason why people think critically, asking questions helps to start the process of critical thinking. I know for me when I attempt to tackle a complex topic and then interpret in a way that everyone can understand, I ask questions that relate to how something is, was, and will be.

A good example of this is the internet. How do I interpret the usefulness of the internet? Back then, it was useful because it provided people with a fast means of communication through email. Now it gives people the option to order things online all from the comfort of home. In the future, it could provide people with medical test updates, jobs, and even grocery shopping which as of right now remains limited. I can then ask has online shopping been helpful. Has email brought people closer?

Critical thinking requires some form of brainstorming in order to widen then narrow the scope with which one uses to think critically. Halpern explains brainstorming as an activity. "…Brainstorming to increase the number of ideas produced. Working with people from different backgrounds in order to increase probability of bisociative thinking" (Halpern 259) By gaining information and experiences one can achieve the strong critical thinking.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I learned what critical thinking is and how to define it. It involves a complex process of exposure to information, listing pros and cons, evaluation, and asking questions. Critical thinking in my opinion is the best way not just to understand something, but also interpret it. Without the skills gained from critical thinking, I cannot put into words how I… [END OF PREVIEW]

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