Thinking in simple words is creating words and ideas inside your head.
Thinking can be positive or negative.
For example suppose you go to a social event feeling just as awkward, but telling yourself like “lots of people are nervous at first so concentrate on being friendly. I don’t need to be perfect. Quit worrying and go”. These thoughts help you mingle and practice conversation skills. Your thoughts and actions may not make a friend there, but your thoughts and actions are more likely to lead to a friendship sometime somewhere.
Similarly another example:-
|Negative thoughts||Helpful Alternatives|
|I don’t have any talent||I’ll try to do the best I can|
|I’m a complete failure||I’m not going to give up|
Types of thinking:
Divergent and Convergent thinking skills are both important aspects of intelligence, problem solving and critical thinking.
Bringing facts and data together from various sources and then applying logic and knowledge to solve problems, achieve objectives or make decisions is known as convergent thinking.
The deductive logic that the fictional character Sherlock Homes used is a good convergent thinking example. Gathering various tidbits of facts and data he was able to put the pieces of a puzzle together and come up with a logical answer to the question: Who done it?
Divergent Thinking is thinking outwards instead of inward. It is the ability to develop original and unique ideas and then come up with a problem solution or achieve an objective.
Einstein was a strong divergent thinker. He asked simple questions and then did mental exercises to solve problems. For example, as a young man Einstein asked himself what it would be like to ride on a beam of light. It took him many years of thought experiments, however the answer helped him develop the special theory of relativity.
This is also known as critical Inquiry, logical or analytical thinking.
Critical thinking is the ability to think for oneself and reliably and responsibly make decision that affects one’s life.
For example: Critical thinkers investigate problems, ask questions, pose new answers or discover new information.
Characteristics of a critical thinker:
- Uses evidence skillfully
- Organizes thoughts
- Distinguishes between logically valid and invalid inferences
- Attempts to anticipate the probable consequences of alternative solutions
- Applies problem solving technique in domains other than learned
- Use limited information to draw realistic conclusions
Factors that influence Critical thinking are:
- Memory lapses
It sometimes shapes and sometimes inhibits our thinking
What is Critical Thinking
‘Critical thinking’ and ‘critical analysis‘ are terms which are consistently used by academics in explanations of what is required by students in their university work as well as in feedback about what is lacking in student assignments.
It can be defined as:
“the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skilfully conceptualising, applying, analysing, synthesising and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generalised by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning or communication, as a guide to belief or action [or argument]” (Scriven & Paul ,2001, p.1).
How to be a Critical Thinker
Critical thinking means different things in different disciplines. If you are studying in an education discipline, for example, you will be thinking critically when you apply theory to a practical situation and then reflect on what happened as a result of your application of that particular theory in that situation.
In a discipline which has a less obviously practical application, for example some humanities areas of study, you will be thinking critically when you compare and contrast theories with each other, or when you try to work out gaps or flaws in those theories.
Your lecturers expect that even first year students can do more than just describe a theory or concept in assignments. In addition to describing, lecturers also expect students to analyse and evaluate or judge a concept, or apply a concept or theory to a practical situation.
Critical thinking is occurring and is evident when a student engages in some or all of the following actions that are part of completing an assignment.
Critical thinking involves the following:
- Analysing tasks
- Identifying assumptions
- Analysing & classifying
- Making comparisons
- Problem solving
- Analysing tasks
Questioning & challenging ideas
- Observing facts, comparing them to hypotheses & assumptions
- Judging the validity of the source & the worth of evidence
- Forming opinions / arguments
- Making connections between ideas, texts, theories, frameworks, disciplines
- Evaluating & weighing up
- Drawing inferences
- Making generalisations
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