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How to Develop Critical Thinking Skills in the Learning Process

Every student must develop the ability to become a critical thinker as reading assignments are completed and classroom participation may have considerable effect on the grade earned in the course. A critical thinker reads, comprehends, evaluates or assesses information and knowledge that is learned from lectures or textbooks. This individual formulates personal judgments, understands the factors that shaped an event, and creates a reasoning process that might be utilized on an essay exam a when a student defends a position he/she has taken on an issue.

1. Critical thinkers are well read and understand the dynamics of the classroom. This person knows the classroom information, but are willing to challenge and discuss these ideas in a logical and consistent manner.

2. Students who think about the readings develop an understanding of the concepts and comprehends how one theory leads to another, and emerges into a evolving explanation of an era or series of events. For example, in a medical program, a clinical experience demands the ability to combine information and make evaluations about the patients in their care.

3. A person who thinks critically often anticipates the time requirements of an assignment and has allowed sufficient time to be adequately prepared to meet these challenges.

4. Critical thinkers recognize when a difficulty occurs, they resolve to seek the help necessary to diminish the problem. For example, a continuous habit of procrastination that does not permit the individual to start a semester project long before the due date would be addressed by the thinker. The research and a working draft of the term paper would be completed well in advance, and appropriate feedback from the instructor or tutor would be sought prior to completion of the project.

5. Critical thinking requires courage and the willingness to face the unknown. Someone who challenges an accepted theory or position gains the experience of developing their own voice and expressing new ideas or feelings. Many thinkers often recognize that the role of a leader emerges from someone who is willing to express a viewpoint and offers examples to support the position.

6. This type of student is prepared by completing assignments in a weekly timely fashion, and is organized in all phases of their life in order that school is not pushed aside due to lacking of planning. Adult learners must be organized and have vision beyond their immediate environment. A scheduled study time is essential as people juggle work, family, school and community responsibilities. An unprepared student does not usually attain the same level of achievement as a critical thinker. The student who prepares in advance and develops a plan that responds to the demands of the assignment will ultimately diminish levels of anxiety.

7 When the individual achieves on a regular basis, self-esteem and inner sense of power grows each semester. The person is able and willing to compete at a higher level of learning. Thus, competency in the learning environment increases and heightens the possibility of future education for the student.
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