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Page added on February 25, 2018

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Critical Thinking

By Consuelo (Chit) E. Munar

I belong to the “old school.” The idea of carrying out judgmental expressions on almost anything was frowned on. But through my college years, I was introduced to the essence of critical thinking, supposedly a skill identifying the relevance and importance of ideas. At first, I found it a very daunting process specially when critical analysis of profound literary works like Leo Tolstoi ‘s “War and Peace” was involved. A semester of doing just that was mentally exhausting, at the same time, rewarding.

Critical thinking is not about accumulating information. A person who knows a lot of facts is not necessarily good at critical thinking. The ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking, the ability to identify, construct and evaluate arguments, as well as solving problems systematically, are the distinctive traits of a critical thinker.

There are several significance of critical thinking. Foremost is the ability to think clearly and rationally in whatever we choose to do. Being able to think well and solve problems systematically is crucial to any career primarily in the fields of education, finance, management or the legal profession. Critical thinking enhances language and presentation skills. Thinking clearly and systematically greatly improves the way we express our ideas. It also improves comprehension abilities.

In order to live a meaningful life and to structure our lives accordingly, we need to justify and reflect on our values and decisions. Critical thinking, certainly, provides the tools crucial for the process of self-evaluation.

Good critical thinking is the foundation of science and democracy. Science definitely requires the critical use of reason in experimentation and theory confirmation. Likewise, the proper functioning of a liberal democracy requires a citizenry who can think critically about social issues to inform their judgments about appropriate and proper governance and to overcome biases and prejudice.

It’s worth to mention that critical thinking should not be confused with being argumentative or being critical of other people. Although critical thinking skills can be useful in exposing fallacies and bad reasoning, critical thinking plays a significant role in constructive and productive tasks. We can use critical thinking to enhance work processes and improve social institutions.

The world is currently under the influence of developments such as artificial intelligence, robotics, biotechnology, nanotechnology and others. These developments are big challenges. These developments will cause great disruption in business and labour markets. Enormous change in skill sets in order to thrive and be competitive is essential. Over the next five years, the top skills required in the workforce are complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. Good critical thinking skills require not just knowledge and practice. Persistent practice can bring outstanding results.

Consuelo (Chit) E. Munar is the past president of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Alberta (UPAAA) from 2012-2015. Currently she is the Chairperson of the Stewardship Committee at the Holy Trinity Parish Church. She also chairs the Catholic Women’s League Committee of Legislation and Resolutions of Holy Trinity Parish CWL Council.









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