Critical Thinking Reflection

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The concept of critical thinking is a relatively new one to me. Of course, I have heard the phrase many times before, but I never fully understood what ‘critical thinking’ meant; did it involve analysing the work of others to find things to criticise? Oxford Dictionaries (2018) defines critical thinking as ‘the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement’. Critical thinking involves the use of skills to examine all information from a neutral stance – it does not exclusively involve finding fault in others’ work (Chatfield 2018, p.3). In 2018, good critical thinking skills are more necessary than ever before, with unimaginable amounts of information available to many of us at the press of a button. With the help of Critical Thinking by Tom Chatfield, I contemplated my own application of critical thinking skills in everyday situations and identified the skills I will need to develop for tertiary study. While reading the eleventh chapter of Critical Thinking, I was surprised to learn how many different forms of uncritical thinking can be observed in myself as well as other people. I began to notice how ingrained these were in many people. For example, the effects of polarisation – the social phenomenon where groups containing members of similar viewpoints can become more extremist over time due to lack of diversity in opinion within those groups (Chatfield 2018, p. 253) – are blindingly obvious in some online message boards and communities.
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