Critical thinking is sensible, thoughtful, responsible way of thinking that is aimed at choosing the right decisions of what to do and how to behave. When we think critically, we are able to react adequately and wisely on different situations in life, gathering necessary information, sorting through the most important facts, and making logical conclusions about our possible behavior in this or that life situation. While it may seem that critical thinking can be applied to any kind of our acts in our everyday life, in fact it is erroneous to think so. Critical thinking relates to higher-order thinking, which is useful when we try to comprehend and to act reasonably, solving some complicated and intricate dilemmas in our life. We usually meet most of them at work and at studies. Deciding whether a crime was committed or not and finding the offender, estimating the process of development of global warming and its impact on the world, arguing about the state of economy in country nowadays, people use critical thinking. Living in a democratic country, we should think critically when we make decisions that are important t for the whole country, such as president elections or participation in national referendum. Thus, we see that critical thinking makes a person an influential participant of society’s life, whose decisions play an important role.
It is necessary to mention that critical thinking is particularly important in education. When we learn something very seldom we think how we learn, while it is as significant as the learnt information itself. The process of learning should be systematized and clearly understood by a person, who needs not only to memorize the content of hundreds of books, but to get the fundamental ideas and to make the right conclusions. Students often face great quantities of material needed to be learnt. When they know how to work with this material and how to process the information, learning becomes easier for them. This process can be compared to a working with a machine ”“ if you know how to handle it, the work goes much faster and mush more efficiently.
Critical thinking is rather rarely taught in schools or colleges while it is the basis of education. Without it students are not able to learn the information so, that they could make use of it in future. Much depends on teachers who teach us and who should be able to present the process of learning in a proper way. Grace E. Grant (1988) states,
to teach students to use higher order thinking processes-those processes that require the manipulation of information rather than the reproduction of knowledge -requires more than the refinement of discrete, generic teaching skills. Students must think about something. Teaching critical thinking is, therefore, based upon a teacher’s broad and deep understanding of subject matter and a representation of that understanding in multiple forms as work activities for students. (p.2)
One may think that we are born with the ability to think critically, or develop it in life. However, as any skill, critical thinking should be thoroughly studied as a discipline and then mastered by a person. Critical thinking demands constant work, as asking questions, solving problems, making conclusions, we are able to progress and to develop the skill of critical thinking.
Critical thinking has many stages, which are needed to be gone through by critically thinking people. First of all it is necessary to use fairly all the evidence, to organize one’s thoughts, to structure the available information, to find similarities and differences in different points of view on the problem, to weigh the pros and cons, and then to make a proper conclusion.
As it has already been mentioned the examples of critical thinking applying can be met anywhere in our life, especially while studying. For example, when I had to choose certain subjects among the elective, I also had to apply critical thinking. I went through all the stages of critical thinking as firstly, I considered all the subjects suggested.
Secondly, I assessed the importance of these subjects for me and my future career, then I ranked them, taking into account their significance, my interest and my abilities. Thus, I chose the most important subjects for me.
It is necessary to realize the importance of critical thinking in our life and in the progress of the whole nation. The youth is the future of the country. Therefore they should be educated on a high level so that they could fir into the world, which develops so fast. Steven D. Schafersman draws readers’ attention to this problem in his article “An Introduction To Critical Thinking”ť (1991),
this situation became especially severe in primary and secondary education, and over the last decades there has been a well-known decline in the math and science ability of students in our country compared to other industrialized countries. Studies have shown that our students abilities in math and science begin on level with students in other countries, but then progressively decrease as they make their way through our educational system. (p. 5)
To make a conclusion, critical thinking is an essential part of any decision-making process. It helps us to regard things in a sober light, to take into account all the advantages and disadvantages of a particular situation, to foresee the consequences of taken decisions, to make reasonable conclusions and to make proper decisions, guided by these conclusions. It helps us to progress and to upgrade our skills.