Essay: Critical thinking

The way we think affects all aspects of our private and social life and education is not an exception. Human beings think differently and teachers who have key roles in education do so. Recently proper attention has been given to the ways teachers think (Calderhead, 1987) and now teaching is more characterized as a thinking activity (Richards & Farell, 2005).
One of the prevailing concepts in educational reform today is critical thinking. The significance of critical thinking in education and particularly higher education is now acknowledged by a large number of educators.
Schafersman (1991) asserted that all education must involve not only ‘what to think’, but also ‘how to think’. However, he regrets, most education has been preoccupied with transmitting and acquiring knowledge and facts, and the subtlety of the concept of critical thinking has obviated students’ realization of its absence and educators’ recognition of its significance all alike. But given the increasing number of disciplines, the vitality of learning and teaching techniques to acquire, understand and evaluate information surfaces.
Indeed, the notion of CT is by no means new since it was Socrates who introduced this approach of thinking about two thousand years ago (Fisher, 2001). However, despite the long history of critical thinking tradition, there is no single and agreed-upon definition for what constitutes critical thinking. As Fisher (2001) notes, Dewey (1933) is the father of modern critical thinking, and Dewy defined CT as; ‘active, persistent, and careful consideration of a belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds which support it and the further conclusions to which it tends’ (p. 9). In line with Dewey, there is consensus that CT is one of the fundamental goals of learning and particularly central to higher education (Ennis, 1996; Paul, 1987). Furthermore, the notion of CT has a fundamental role in assessing students’ engagement. In the same line CT also effects on teachers’ strategies, and classroom management. However, it should be kept in mind that CT is related to other affective and socio-cognitive variables such as self-efficacy. Thus, much research related to self-efficacy and especially teacher self-efficacy has gained significant insights as important factors in teaching and learning (Bandura, 2007).

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