Wednesday, October 14, 2015

What is Critical Thinking

When I started my BA in Fine Art the subject area I found interesting but baffling was Critical Studies. No one really explained to me what CS was about, to me it was a mix of contextual studies and art history with a bit of philosophy thrown in. No one really explained that it was all about Critical Thinking but what is Critical Thinking?

Here is one definition:-
Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally. It includes the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking. Someone with critical thinking skills is able to do the following: understand the logical connections between ideas. Link

And another:-

Critical thinking is the process we use to reflect on, access and judge the assumptions underlying our own and others ideas and actions. Link

Ok, that's the what and the why how about the how? As is so often my experience in education you are told what and why but never how. How do you think reflectively and independently?

Well a BA, an MA and half a PhD further down the learning road I think I may have found the answer: Socratic Questioning!

What is Socratic Questioning? To answer the question the best place to start is my favourite PhD mentoring Blog, The Thesis Whisperer where Dr Inger Mewburn, Director of research training at the Australian National University, doles out words of wisdom and support for flagging PhD students. Link