Critical Thinking and Analysis are in the top 10 most wanted skills for an employee to have by 2025, World Economic Forum says. Schools started to focus on subjects such as critical thinking in their curricula in lower grades. Many courses and trainings aim to develop such skills among participants. But why?
Critical Thinking is active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in light of the grounds that support it, and the further conclusions to which it tends (Dewey, 1910).
John Dewey is the first academic author who stated the importance of reflective thinking in 1910. It took quite many years to become an important skill valued by everyone in this world.
In other simple words, critical thinking is rational thinking which focuses on analyzing and assessing the information we encounter daily to take the best decision to believe something or to act in a certain way.
We can see that critical thinking is a vital skill in today's world. It is the ability to analyze information and arguments objectively, assess their credibility and relevance, and come to reasoned conclusions based on evidence. It's an essential skill for students, professionals, and anyone who wants to make informed decisions.
One of the key elements of critical thinking is skepticism. It's important to approach information and arguments with an open mind, but also with a healthy dose of skepticism. This means questioning the validity of claims, looking for evidence to support them, and considering alternative explanations. It's important to be open to new ideas, but also to be willing to challenge them if they don't hold up to scrutiny.
Why is Critical Thinking a skill to have?
Firstly, critical thinking allows us to analyze information and arguments objectively. In a world where we are constantly bombarded with information from a variety of sources, it's important to be able to assess the information from an objective point of view. Critical thinking helps us to identify biases, evaluate evidence, and come to reasoned conclusions based on objective analysis.
Secondly, critical thinking helps us to make informed decisions. By being able to analyze information objectively, we can make decisions based on sound reasoning rather than emotion or bias. This is particularly important in situations where the stakes are high, such as in healthcare, finance, or politics.
Thirdly, critical thinking allows us to communicate effectively. By being able to evaluate arguments objectively, we can engage in meaningful discussions and debates with others. This is important in both personal and professional contexts, as it allows us to collaborate effectively and make informed decisions as a group.
Lastly, critical thinking is a valuable skill in the workplace. Employers are increasingly looking for employees who can think critically, as it is a skill that can lead to better problem-solving and decision-making. Being able to think critically also allows us to adapt to changing circumstances and innovate in our work.
What are the components of Critical Thinking?
Peter Facione presents some mental skills and habits of mind specific to critical thinking: interpretation, analysis, inference, evaluation, explanation, and self-regulation. (Facione, 1990)
Interpretation is the ability to understand and express the meaning or significance of a variety of experiences, situations, data, events, judgments, beliefs, rules, procedures, or criteria. Interpretation includes sub-skills such as categorization, decoding meaning, and clarifying meaning.
Analysis involves identifying intended inferential relationships between statements, questions, concepts, descriptions, or other forms of representation that express beliefs, judgments, experiences, reasoning, information, or opinions. This skill can be applied by examining ideas, detecting arguments, and analyzing them.
Evaluation involves analyzing and evaluating the credibility of statements that describe a person's perceptions, experiences, situations, judgments, beliefs, and opinions but also evaluating the logical strength of the intended inferential relationships between statements, descriptions, questions, and other forms of representation.
Inference involves identifying and establishing the elements necessary to draw rational conclusions, forming assumptions and hypotheses, considering relevant information, and deducing consequences arising from statements, principles, evidence, judgments, beliefs, opinions, concepts, descriptions, questions, or other forms of representation.
Explanation is describing methods and results, justifying procedures, and presenting and defending with viable arguments a point of view regarding a certain situation to gain a better understanding.
Self-regulation is the conscious monitoring of one's cognitive activities, the elements used in these activities and the results deduced, and the application of analysis and evaluation skills on one's inferential judgments with a predisposition towards questioning, confirming, validating, or correcting reasoning.
At Talent Collection, we understand the importance of critical thinking in today's fast-paced business world. That's why we offer courses on critical thinking for companies that want to develop this skill in their employees. Our courses are designed to help employees analyze information objectively, evaluate evidence, and come to reasoned conclusions based on sound reasoning.
To conclude, critical thinking is a skill that can be developed through practice, training, and education and is essential in today's complex world. Developing our critical thinking skills is a valuable investment in our future.
World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs Report, (2020).
DEWEY, John. (1910). How we think. D.C.Heat&Co.
FACIONE, Peter.(1990) "Critical thinking: A statement of expert consensus for purposes of educational assessment and instruction (The Delphi Report)."