Critical thinking is the process of purposeful, self-regulatory judgment using evidence, context, methods, and criteria.

Critical thinking is the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking. It requires you to use your ability to reason. It is about being an active learner rather than a passive recipient of information.

Critical thinkers rigorously question ideas and assumptions rather than accepting them at face value.

Critical Thinking Characteristics

  • The ability to make quick and decisive decisions.

  • The ability to think outside the box, by being resourceful and creative when analyzing and providing potential solutions for issues.

  • The ability to be systematic and organized when approaching problem solving.

    Critical Thinking Skills graphic: analysis, communication, creativity, problem solving, open-mindedness.

Quiz

What skill do you need to be a Critical Thinker?

Components Of Critical Thinking

A lightbulb with a keyhole. A key turns inside the keyhole.

  • Critical thinking is aimed at achieving the best possible outcomes in any situation. This involves gathering and evaluating information from as many different sources possible.

  • Critical thinking requires a clear, often uncomfortable, assessment of your personal strengths, weaknesses and preferences, and their possible impact on decisions you may make.

  • Critical thinking requires the development and use of foresight as far as this is possible.

  • Implementing the decisions made arising from critical thinking must take into account an assessment of possible outcomes and ways of avoiding potentially negative outcomes, or at least lessening their impact.

  • Critical thinking involves reviewing the results of the application of decisions made and implementing change where possible.

Quiz

What is the first step to achieve the main aim of critical thinking?

Mastering Critical Thinking

An animated graphic showing a series of gears turning within someone's head. A number of thought bubbles appear above.

  1. Practice balanced thinking: Over/under thinking will cause you to miss seeing what’s critical and what’s complex.

  2. Exercise mental and emotional moderation: Try varying your approach to issue resolution.

  3. Practice situational awareness: Grow your ability to recognize core relevancies inside complex situations and issues.

  4. Exercise and promote disciplined, effective, and efficient thinking: Focused thinking will help you discover the essentials you need to solve problems.

  5. Express richer emotional intelligence: This will help you to control disruptive impulses rather than be controlled by them.

  6. Focus on destinations, not dramas: Learn to keep your eye on workflow to bring your goals in on time.

Quiz

Charlotte wants to become a star critical thinker. Which of these is a skill she needs to work on?

Take Action

Critical thinking masters understand that excellence in critical intelligence is the result of finely tuned habits designed for repeatable success in the direction of their goals.

The more clearly we are aware of ourselves, our strengths, and our weaknesses, the more likely our critical thinking will be productive.

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This Byte has been authored by

OA

Oluwatofe Adejumo

Learning and Development Specialist