Critical Thinking Essay

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Personal Reflection Paper HUM 114 October 22, 2012 Sharon Mitchum Critical thinking is the ability and disposition to improve one’s thinking by systematically subjecting it to rigorous self-assessment (Elder & Paul, 1996). Everyone does not possess the ability to think critically. Thinking critically is a learned behavior. This happens by applying reasoning and logic to the situation at hand. Critical thinking means that you are able to identify many different solutions to a problem. It includes being very open-minded and allows people to see past their own views to gain a better understanding of things around them. Critical thinkers are able to realize and accept that their way of thinking and their approach to a situation or problem is not always the correct or best way. Also, in order to be a critical thinker, you have to be able to think rationally. Thinking rationally means that you are able to analyze all information that is given to make the best possible decision. According to Elder and Paul, there are six stages of critical thinking: the reflective thinker, the challenged thinker, the beginning thinker, the practicing thinker, the advanced thinker, and the master thinker. At the beginning of this course, I thought of myself as a beginning thinker. I say that because I am able to identify that I struggle with my thinking process, I simply didn’t know how to tackle the problem. Everytime that I’d ever seen a critical thinking question in a textbook, it made me cringe. I have never liked to apply critical thinking skills, mainly because I’d never known how to think critically. Even after taking this class and learning about what needs to be done to move to the next stage of critical thinking, I would still consider myself a beginning thinker. I know that I should strengthen my thinking abilities and skills; I simply have not begun to

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