Cultivating a Critical Thinking Mindset, Part 3.
The cultivation of a positive critical thinking mindset is both easier and yet more difficult than one might at first believe. Here are specific recommendations about ways to exercise the seven positive thinking attributes discussed in Part 2 of this series. Strong critical thinking skills depend on a strong critical thinking mindset. These recommendations should be practiced daily.
Putting the Positive Critical Thinking Mindset into Practice
- Truth-seeking – Ask courageous and probing questions. Think deeply about the reasons and evidence for and against a given decision you must make. Pick one or two of your own most cherished beliefs, and ask yourself what reasons and what evidence there are for and against those beliefs.
- Open-mindedness – Listen patiently to someone who is offering opinions with which you do not agree. As you listen, show respect and tolerance toward the person offering the ideas. Show that you understand (not the same as “agree with”) the opinions being presented.
- Analyticity – Identify an opportunity to consciously pause to ask yourself about all the foreseeable and likely consequences of a decision you are making. Ask yourself what that choice, whether it is large or small, will mean for your future life and behavior.
- Systematicity – Focus on getting more organized. Make lists of your most urgent work, family and educational responsibilities, and your assignments. Make lists of the most important priorities and obligations as well. Compare the urgent with the important. Budget your time to take a systematic and methodical approach to fulfilling obligations.
- Critical Thinking Confidence – Commit to resolve a challenging problem by reasoning it through. Embrace a question, problem, or issue that calls for a reasoned decision, and begin working on it yourself or in collaboration with others.
- Inquisitiveness – Learn something new. Go out and seek information about any topic of interest, but not one that you must learn about for work, and let the world surprise you with its variety and complexity.
- Judiciousness – Revisit a decision you made recently and consider whether it is still the right decision. See if any relevant new information has come to light. Ask if the results that had been anticipated are being realized. If warranted, revise the decision to better suit your new understanding of the state of affairs.
To learn more, you can find the entire essay Cultivating A Critical Thinking Mindset (Peter A. Facione, Carol A. Gittens and Noreen C. Facione) as well as the seminal essay Critical Thinking: What it is and Why it Counts in the Insight Assessment Resources library.
We hope this series has been informative, helpful and has engaged you in reflecting on ways you can be a better critical thinker. We are passionate about the impact of growing, measuring and promoting good thinking worldwide. Insight Assessment provides assessment programs validated research based tools such as the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory, which measures each of these seven critical thinking habits of mind and the California Critical Thinking Skills Test which reports on overall thinking and five components of critical thinking skill. Contact us to discuss your assessment needs.
- Download our free app, Critical Thinking Insight, for free sample questions and in app purchasable critical thinking assessments for children and adults.
- See Part 1 of the How To Cultivate A Critical Thinking Mindset series to take the Critical Thinking Mindset Self-Rating Form.
- See Part 2 of the How To Cultivate A Critical Thinking Mindsetseries for definitions of the 7 positive mindset attributes that are integral to strong critical thinking.
- Follow our blog, Thinking Insight.