Blog: My Unusual Road of Life....
by kerminator

Critical Thinking Outlines Part 1 of Many

crit·i·cal think·ing - (noun:)
critical thinking = the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment.
"professors often find it difficult to encourage critical thinking amongst their students"

Date:   4/13/2020 2:06:50 AM   ( 7 mon ) ... viewed 309 times

Get beyond the day to day problems; by learning how to develop the necessary skills to out-think the problem and work toward a possible, plausable solution!

With many years of multiple troubleshooting and hands-on experiences - I have found the following system to help resolve and/or get a quicker solution!

Before anyone can progress or positively and successfully exist very long in this life they need to develop a system of Critical Thinking! If they want to become their own person by asking great rational and positive truthful questions! The basic and most important element of critical thinking is the ability to evaluate an argument.

The skills that we need in order to be able to think critically are varied and include: observation, analysis, interpretation, reflection, evaluation, inference, explanation, problem-solving, and decision making {not in that order}.

Start by asking Basic Questions:
It's tempting to imagine those good critical thinkers asking erudite, convoluted questions when they're trying to solve a problem.

** Thru:
Being Aware Of Your Mental Process.
Adjusting Your Perspective.
Thinking In Reverse.
Developing Foresight.
Learning to think outside the box.

** Fast and Effective Critical Thinking Strategies

Critical thinking is thinking about purpose. It's clear, rational, logical, and independent thinking.
It means thinking in a self-regulated and self-corrective manner. How can we make this happen quickly with our students?
Our Critical Thinking Companion will always get you on the right track. In the meantime, here are some other things you must have in your critical thinking repertoire.

1. Use the Right Tools

Using technology with students is always a great and engaging idea. That said, it can also be a learning curve. We sometimes assume our digital kids know everything about every app or tool. But not so, unfortunately.

You’ll need to factor in the time to learn how to use a tool or app if needed. Some tools require more skill and experience than others. The added time spent learning to use them could be better spent on a different task. The trick here is to pinpoint in advance which tools you want students to use.

You can spend a lesson or two on how to use the tech tools properly early in the year. That way they can get working on their own quickly. You can also poll the class or have an open discussion. Which tools are they already most familiar with?

Which ones are they most excited about learning with?
Choose the right tool and make a plan instead. This can minimize setbacks on the road to success.

2. Give Them Some Opportunities

When students approach learning proactively, they have a real stake in the outcome. We encourage pro-activity by building skills through scaffolding. As students acquire skills, they become confident and move toward independence. We want to avoid fostering the “learned helplessness” of so much of the mis-education of today! Vary tasks and allow them to make some choices. Be realistic for yourself as an instructor, mainly through what you are willing to allow.

Guide down them down their own chosen paths toward specific goals. Flipping your class is a great avenue for fostering ownership of learning. Once you get your lecture online, it’s up to them to access the content. They have to solve such issues as, “When can I access the video?
What am I going to do with it?”

As you flip your class, you can guide students to go beyond the provided lecture. Encourage them to look up other viewpoints, even opposing ones. Help them understand all positions and their validity.
I.E. Help them learn to expand their horizons.

3. Involve Them in Reverse Engineering

We often call this working backward from the end. Sometimes you can get the job done faster by starting at the end and working back to the start. “How did they do that?” is a great way to start a conversation rolling on a particular problem.

In a subject such as music, this could be in the form of transcribing a jazz solo or pop melody. You really put thinking skills like active listening, evaluating, and revising into practice.

4. Teach Students How to Prioritize

Prioritizing tasks is an essential element of productivity. The path to success is often hampered by prioritizing the wrong task. Teach students how to take the time to plan. Even if it takes a long time, it will save them tons of work in the long run.

Sometimes a task takes a very short time. Often deciding which task to do and what tool to use may take longer. This is perfectly normal, and it's okay. As we've said in the past, Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

Set personal goals. By starting with the end in mind, students can identify what tasks need to be accomplished. They can determine what skills are needed to be proficient in order to get to a goal.

5. Switch Their Perspective

Get students to take on the role of an opposing viewpoint, even one against their own. Stepping into another’s shoes lets them think critically about a situation. This opens new ways of thinking and generates solutions previously unconsidered.

Encourage them to think differently.
Have them read books like Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, How to lie with Statistics, or Freakonomics as a starting point.

6. Let those involved to Collaborate

Inquiry-based learning is another awesome way to foster critical thinking skills. When students are deep into discussion or debate, creative tension is happening. This is a state in which disagreement or opposition gives rise to fresh ideas and viewpoints.

Allow it to some extent before going in to moderate. As always, don’t readily give up the answers. Use leading questions to help guide them. Inquiry-based learning incorporates so many critical thinking skills at once, which makes it a top tool in any teacher's book.

7. Take Breaks at critical times

In using critical thinking strategies, this is very important. Our brain is an organ that does everything, so we must care for it. Play, sit in silence, take a walk, or have some water.
Eat brain-healthy foods and read challenging literature.

There are even apps you can download that help develop brain health with fun and challenging puzzles.
Our favorites were Luminosity, A Clockwork Brain!


** This last part on taking breaks, has worked out well in my troubleshooting skills - since due to the complex and often tedious nature of the work - time will not allow a perfect solution with every job. These are times when you must out-think the problem!

Therefore after spending a great deal of time and efforts on a grueling problem - often taking a break can and has allowed many to reconsider the problem to arrive at a solid solution in short order! Rather than wasting many long hours; consider that when taking the break, it often can lead to a quicker solution!

There were times when we exercised this break, it actually allowed some problems to become more relevant and allow better solutions! One large computer site in Tampa,
after working past mid nite, required leaving to get some rest - to which the IBM manager ask - why we could not have just stayed over a few minutes longer last night to fix the problem?

" The answer was simple, it required a well-rested and a reasserted mindset to find the correct answer! "The work that we did was not just switching on a laptop and adjusting a few items! It was a Computer Uninterruptible Power System
- which required awide search and dedicated program of adjustments and any needed repairs! "

** Such is the nature of extremely complex systems!

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