Consider this scenario…

The stillness of the morning air was broken. The women headed down to the track.

What do you think they are doing?  What assumptions have you made? Do you think they are going for a run? Do you think they are heading for a train?  Did you want to ask questions about the situation? What if I told you “the track” is a music store?  Did your narrow thinking get you into trouble?

In order to become better thinkers, we must be willing to actively analyze the extent to which we objectively judge information that doesn’t agree with what we already think. Critical thinkers want to change their view when they discover a better way of thinking.

We probably all believe we’re reasonable people… that we can make intelligent decisions. The truth is… many of us make decisions based upon opinion and biases.  What have you actually learned about how you think in your life? Could you write a precise answer to these questions?

  • What steps do you take to clarify your thinking?
  • Do you consistently stay on topic?
  • Do you ask the right questions?
  • Do you change your mind when another point of view makes more sense?

Thinking about thinking means that we must be able to systematically evaluate our own thinking processes using some form of standards. We need to examine the parts of thinking, reasoning, and the importance of questioning.

Critically Analyze News

Do you want to make better decisions in your life? You can take responsibility for your life and learning by becoming intellectually engaged in the world around you. You can improve your life by thinking for yourself, asking the right questions and verifying the reliability of the information you’re receiving.

As critical thinkers, we must acknowledge the power of the information that is thrown at us every day through billboards, magazines, newspapers, signs, television, the internet, and social media. It’s up to us to question what we read, watch or hear.

Have you ever… based your voting decisions on what you saw in the media?

Proposition 1 takes away teachers’ freedom to speak up on behalf of Idaho’s students. It makes it illegal for our teachers to discuss classroom funding issues with their own school administrators and it bans them from talking about overcrowding in their classrooms or school safety issues during contract negotiations. Proposition 1 puts control in the hands of locally elected school boards in our communities where it belongs. Negotiations are in open meetings so taxpayers can observe and participate. No longer are new teachers laid off first in tough budget times just because they were hired last. Any layoffs must be based on job performance, not hiring date.

We must… challenge assumptions, claims, and viewpoints instead of just accepting them as fact. We must learn to recognize logical fallacies and biases. We must also accept that we are just as responsible for the information we duplicate and share with others. Ask yourself, “How often have I bought into what was sold through media and advertisers? Am I perpetuating the problem or am I part of the solution?