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What mindset attributes characterize strong thinkers?

Insight Assessment: Cultivate seven positive attributes of a critical thinking mindset: Insight Assessment

Cultivating a Critical Thinking Mindset Part 2.

A strong critical thinking mindset is the product of the interaction of key attributes and mental disciplines.  

Seven measurable critical thinking habits of mind:

Researchers have identified seven measurable aspects within the overall disposition toward critical thinking. Based on this research, we can describe someone who has all seven positive critical thinking habits of mind as a person who is:

  • Truth-seeking—meaning that the person has intellectual integrity and a courageous desire to actively strive for the best possible knowledge in any given situation. A truth-seeker asks probing questions and follows reasons and evidence wherever they lead, even if the results go against his or her cherished beliefs.
  • Open-minded—meaning that the person is tolerant of divergent views and sensitive to the possibility of his or her own possible biases. An open-minded person respects the right of others to have different opinions.
  • Analytical—meaning that the person is habitually alert to potential problems and vigilant in anticipating consequences and trying to foresee short-term and long-term outcomes of events, decisions, and actions. Another word to describe this habit of mind might be “foresightful.”
  • Systematic—meaning that the person consistently endeavors to take an organized and thorough approach to identifying and resolving problems. The systematic person is orderly, focused, persistent, and diligent in his or her approach to problem solving, learning, and inquiry
  • Confident in reasoning—meaning that the person is trustful of his or her own reasoning skills to yield good judgments. A person’s or a group’s confidence in their own critical thinking may or may not be warranted, which is another matter.
  • Inquisitive—meaning that the person habitually strives to be well informed, wants to know how things work, and seeks to learn new things about a wide range of topics, even if the immediate utility of knowing those things is not directly evident. The inquisitive person has a strong sense of intellectual curiosity.
  • Judicious—meaning that the person approaches problems with a sense that some are ill structured and some can have more than one plausible solution. The judicious person has the cognitive maturity to realize that many questions and issues are not black and white and that, at times, judgments must be made in contexts of uncertainty.

Internalizing critical thinking habits of mind

In Cultivating a Critical Thinking Mindset Part 1 you explored your disposition toward critical thinking by using the Critical Thinking Mindset Self-Rating Form. If you described yourself honestly, you have a rough idea if consistently apply critical thinking skills to problems, question, or issue is at hand.  

The good news is that it is possible to strengthen your critical thinking mindset.  Positive critical thinking habits of mind can be nurtured by internalizing the values that they embody and by reaffirming the intention each day to live by those values

  • Be Alert for Opportunities. Each day we should be watch for opportunities to make decisions and solve problems reflectively. Rather than just reacting, take some time each day to be as reflective and thoughtful as possible in addressing at least one of the many problems or decisions of the day.  10 Positive Examples of Critical Thinking.
  • For a thinking process to be successful, it must be done with the habits of mind that have been identified as supporting strength in critical thinking. To learn more, you can find the entire essay Cultivating A Critical Thinking Mindset (Peter A. Facione, Carol A. Gittens and Noreen C. Facione) in the Insight Assessment Resources library.
Critical thinking mindset attributes can be objectively measured.

Many educational and professional programs use Insight Assessment validated research based test instruments such as the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory (CCTDI) , which reports on each of the seven critical thinking habits of mind and the  California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST) which gives scores on overall thinking and 5 components of thinking skill.

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