1.Critical thinking is basically composed of three parts that are very important. When a person is listening to a speaker or reading a publication such as a book, a journal or an article in a magazine or even watching a play or a certain soap or drama, it is important for him or her to have a set of questions that are interrelated.
These questions should emerge from the information being conveyed by the speaker or writer or the actor. The critical thinker who is part of the audience should be asking him self or herself critical questions and he should consciously be aware of what of he or she is doing as she read or listen to the message. He should at the same time be trying to answer or at least trying to generate his or her own suggestions to the questions raised.
The process of critical thinking should also comprise the reader’s or listener’s desire to actively utilize the critical questions to stimulate or generate more understanding of the message or the points the author or speaker is trying to put across and what he wants the audience to believe as the truth.
Critical thinking also comprises of a prior decision or choice on how one needs to react to what he/she see or hear. Identification and choice of the best decision to make is part of critical thinking especially when the information you are getting is from different speakers or publications by different authors.
2.Most people in the world has severally confused the concept of critical thinking. Most lay people understand critical thinking as the ability to think very much and in details about an issue. The concept of critical thinking is completely a different thing and such people are advised to understand this concept right.
The word critical in simple English may mean very important for a given purpose. For example, oxygen is a critical requirement for life to continue. Thinking on the other hand is the ability to reflect upon any thing or to conceive some idea in a persons mind. Therefore, critical thinking is usually misunderstood to mean conceiving a key or major idea, critically as it is usually understood.
Critical thinking may at one point bring this kind of meaning. But in decision making and analysis of what a speaker or an author is trying to inform his/ or her audience, critical thinking is used to mean the best practices in trying to understand the message being passed, and whether it is true or false according to the ideas the audience has already formed in their mind.
3.Critical thinking and emotions are directly interrelated to one another. Emotions may influence critical thinking by influencing the various aspects of critical thinking separately or jointly. To have the ability to think of an issue does not require somebody who is emotionally over reactive.
One needs to be patient and posses the ability to wait until the speaker or author is through so that s/he may have a better basis of relating his/her ideas to those of the author or speaker. If a person is impatient and does not wait for the speaker to give his opinions about an issue, an interruption may cause the speaker to stop and therefore this person would not have acquired enough information to on which he can base his counter- argument.
4.Critical thinking involve use of certain tools as concepts for effective thinking. Peoples way of thinking is determined by their lifestyles and place of living. These two do interfere with the decisions people make. Ideas obtained from mass media such as TV or newspapers may not be real and usual. Most happenings that are reported in the media are sensational. However, these news lead people to forming opinions that are biased on the issues and facts being claimed in the broadcasts.
To avoid these biases, thorough and wide reading to obtain as much information as possible concerning this issue is recommended. After getting this kind of information, one has to critically think about it so as to determine whether it is accurate or not.
The graphics appearing in billboards and posters pass messages that make people form opinions that the world is perfect when in real sense, things are imperfect. Such billboards makes a person start having associative ideas and starts wanting to be associated with what the images are about. At this stage,the person has already formed a biased opinion about what is being communicated.
This biasness is an impediment to critical thinking. The other concept is about extremes such as all versus nothing, me versus him/her, them vs us and thinking that is based on stereotypes. Critical thinking involves avoiding stereotyping, assumptions and simplifications that are associated with this form of thinking.
Pints of views that are not supportive to one another should be avoided where possible. The fourth factor that impedes critical thinking is having fear. One may fear trying new things, making of mistakes and making any comment that will make him appear foolish. These fears lead one to accepting the fallacies that are contained in the ideas they are currently having. Finally, some ideologies influence people to think in a pre-determined way.
For example in the case of outlined curriculum that give outlined and rigid instructions on the way assignment formats should be. When students use their teachers as the only source of knowledge, they form bias to his opinions and are in most cases unable to think out of box when they adopt this form of non critical way of thinking.
5. A sponge is a thing that is well known for its ability to absorb a lot of water. The more water a sponge absorbs, the more it becomes complicated to handle and when the water is too much, the sponge becomes delicate to handle and is basically avoided because it has a potential to cause a mess.
This analogue is used in critical thinking not because of its ability to cause mess when water exceeds but because of its ability to absorb too much water. The way a person thinks about an issue is greatly determined by the amount and kind of information that the person has about a particular issue.
The information here is likened to the water while the brain is likened to a sponge. People who have obtained so much information about the world have also got so much understanding of how actually the world is complicated. The less information one has about the world, the simpler the world appears to be to this person.
There are some benefits associated with the ‘sponge’ approach to critical thinking. If a person obtains so much information from publications, media and from speeches or conferences now, this person shall have a higher capacity to critically think about issues in the future.
This is a great treasure especially in the current situation in the world where everything is changing and very complicated ideas are coming up every day, thus posing a danger of confusion for people who do not invest in much knowledge in the earlier years of their lives (Laura, 2008, p.176).
The approach is passive towards getting a correct opinion for ideas that are being passed by other people in publications and in mass media or directly during meetings. Use of this approach is not strenuous to the mind since information is accumulated gradually over a long period of time.
It is easy and quick to think while the key requirements are just concentration when obtaining information and a memory to store the information obtained this way. It does not involve any form of evaluation of information, therefore whether the information is true or not does not matter.
The only drawback associated with this approach is that there is no method for determining what to choose and what to fail to choose. One’s thoughts are gained by the latest version of information he came across about an issue and decision making can become an accident of association.
The concept of ‘panning for gold’ on the other hand is analogue to critical thinking in the sense that from a bulk of material- which here represents the bulk of information-, the gold component -which here represents the important, little but useful information- is extracted with a lot of keenness. A person chooses what to absorb in his mind as useful and what to reject as useless information.
To achieve this, a person reads through a publication or listens to the speaker carefully with an asking attitude. Since it is like the presenter of the information is trying to talk and persuade you about his or her ideas and you are trying to ask yourself questions concerning the information you are getting, this makes the process to be interactive, although the audience and the writer or speaker are not seeing one another.
The reader or listener is able through this approach to determine what is worth. As opposed to the sponge concept, this approach is very challenging, is very tedious but the rewards are enormous.
To be able to evaluate a speaker’s or writer’s opinion, the audience need to have a dependable opinions about the issue under scrutiny. This approach is mainly aimed at acquiring new information and knowledge because he already has some ideas and opinions (Fairburn and Kelly, 2005, pp. 156-159).
6. Weak sense critical thinking involve the use critical thinking process to defend one’s current beliefs and when he or she acquires enough information to be convinced otherwise, this becomes the current belief that he or she will be defending when compelled with another set of information, until this person is fully convinced other wise.
The approach is least concerned with moving towards the truth and what is virtuous. It is out for a purpose of resisting and annihilating opinions and reasons which appear to be differing from the ideas a person is currently holding as the truth.
It has a great potential of ruining the progressive aspects that are associated with critical thinking. This approach to critical thinking is most exhibited in people who hold certain ideas about religion or about holy scriptures.
Anything against what they belief is readily rebelled mentally until a credible authority asserts the new claims, which they now take as the truth and they defend it by all means (Peter, 2001, p.249).