Critical Thinking Paul and Elder
Without reading the assigned chapter, and just looking at the stages of development of critical thinking, I immediately labeled myself as a practicing thinker. However, after reading chapter two of Paul and Elder Critical Thinking, I realized I was not even close to being a practicing thinker. Paul and Elder list these stages:
Stage One: The Unreflective Thinker (we are unaware of significant problems in our thinking) Stage Two: The Challenged Thinker (we become aware of problems in our thinking) Stage Three: The Beginning Thinker (we try to improve but without regular practice) Stage Four: The Practicing Thinker (we recognize the necessity of regular practice) Stage Five: The Advanced Thinker (we advance in accordance with our practice) Stage Six: The Master Thinker (skilled and insightful thinking become second nature to us) Difficult as it was to admit, I was compelled to place my critical thinking ability at stage one: The unreflective thinker.
Prior to reading this chapter, I was not aware of any significant problems in my thinking. I did not realize that I was continually making assumptions, forming concepts, drawing inferences, and thinking within points of view. My judgment of people as bad or good, based on my moral upbringing, further confirmed me as the unreflective thinker. Also, never having seriously questioned my thinking or its implications. Having made the decision to grow and develop as a thinker, my goals now include, making better decision through critical thinking and creative problem solving, and presenting my ideas clearly and concisely.
I also realize that critical thinking is a skill that is learned and requires practice. Having these realizations, I can now move on to the Challenged Thinker stage. Paul and Elder note that “we have great capacity. But most of it is dormant; most is undeveloped. Improvement in thinking is like improvement in basketball, in ballet, or in playing the saxophone. It is unlikely to take place in the absence of a conscious commitment to learn. As long as we take our thinking for granted, we don’t do the work required for improvement. ”