Critical thinking can be defined as a type of reasonable, reflective thinking that is aimed at deciding what to believe or what to do. You could also view it as a way of deciding whether a claim is always true, sometimes true, partly true, or false. For me personally, I see it as a way to view things free of bias so I may better understand the truth in it. Critical thinking is something that everybody should strive for so that they can better understand the world and the other people who they share it with. Maybe this is just a dream, but if everyone could think more critically then I believe we could solve a lot of the problems that plague the human race. The first and most significant thing that I have learned about critical thinking during this class is in identifying and understanding my bad habits. To me this is important because it gives me the ability to try and change these bad habits for the better. I have never really thought about things like allowing myself to be distracted or thinking with an existing bias. Now that I recognize these bad habits, I can be aware of them and try to overcome them.
There are also good habits that should be used. Knowing and understanding the good habits can help us avoid the bad ones and better our understanding. The second significant thing I have learned about critical thinking during this class is that there is a difference between an issue and a problem. I have always grouped the two things together. Knowing that a problem is often unacceptable to most or all people while an issue is something we can disagree on but can be worked out will make a difference in the way that both are resolved. I admit that sometimes for me the lines may be blurred, but at least now I can try and tackle them with the understanding that there is a difference. The third significant thing I have learned about critical thinking during this class was from week 7 and the bad assumptions. I’m guilty of pretty much everything that was listed. I have always felt that if I could make something make sense in my own mind then other people would feel the same way about it that I did. I see this as being arrogant about my own point of view.
I guess it is also arrogance, but I tend to overlook any imperfection in my own views to the point that I would not even conceive that someone else might not accept my thought. My critical thinking has changed the most since starting this class in the amount of time spent towards the thinking. More than anything else, I try to consciously think things through when applying critical thought. I am not saying that the significant things listed earlier or other techniques are not important or something I do not consider. I am saying that when I take more time in the critical thinking process that all these things have a tendency to be thought of and used to better my critical thinking. The area in life where this is paying off is at work. Sometimes when we go out on our daily runs, we have to issue warnings or citations. I have found myself trying to put myself in the shoes of the offenders more so that I can understand how they may react. By taking the time, usually while driving to their homes, to try and anticipate their reactions I feel it makes the whole process go easier for us and them. It is never going to be something that someone will enjoy. As far as the week 1 stage of development in critical thinking assignment, I will first have to say that I was wrong in my initial assessment.
I wrote that I was a challenged thinker. Looking back I would have to say that I was actually an unreflective Thinker. I believe that I placed myself as a challenged thinker because I did not really understand just how primitive of a thinker I really am. I would say now that I was an unreflective thinker because I was at the beginning of a long road toward master thinker. Sad to say, but I believe I am still only a beginner thinker. I say this because I am taking the action of controlling my bad habits in regard to critical thinking. I have a real problem overcoming my arrogance and especially my self deception. The change in where I believe I am in the stages as compared to where I was at the beginning of this class has occurred mostly with awareness.
It is hard to overcome any problem in life if you do not understand or even know that there is a problem. I plan to advance eventually to master thinker by constant reinforcement. When thinking on any matter lately I try and go slow and follow the steps in critical thinking. When I do this it allows me to think about the way I am thinking. When I am able to do that, it lets me reinforce concepts that can be used to better my understanding of whatever it is that I am thinking about. Eliminating the bad habits and using the good habits also help to accomplish the goal of becoming a master thinker. A master thinker is defined as being able to incorporate critical thinking into everyday life and the good habits of thinking are becoming second nature. This is why constant reinforcement is important. Without training my-self to constantly use good habits they can never be second nature. Of course the first thing I need to do is overcome the obstacles I face to advance to practicing thinker. Once that is accomplished there are new obstacles to advance to the next level again. In short, I think I have a long ways to go before I will reach master thinker.