TLC120 Introduction to University Learning (s2k, 2013) Essay Example

CRITICAL THINKING: REFLECTIVE ESSAY

Question 1

Key Words: Analyzing, Reasoning and Problem Solving

Concepts: Creative Thinking and Content Knowledge

Question 2

Warren, Karen J 1995, “The Critical Self” Reprinted in TLC 120 Introduction to University Learning Unit Reader and Learning Guide 2013, Murdoch, Murdoch University

Question 3

Key Terms: Rational Self, Critical self, learner, Content Knowledge, Critical thinking

Question 4

Thesis: The importance of critical self-reflection in the life of a learner

Question 5

The paper highlights the importance and impact of critical thinking skills in relation to the outcome of student learning. Creative and critical thinking has an impact on students in relation to how they formulate arguments, participate in classroom activities and take part in conversation. The paper asserts that the benefits if critical thinking or reflective thinking includes; improvement of one’s self esteem, proficiency, argumentative discourse in essays as well as philosophical whimsy in children. Critical thinking involves the use of inductive and deductive reasoning, evaluation, problem solving and making decisions about one’s self. Reflective thinking requires content knowledge, creative thinking and critical thinking.

The thinking process in an individual encompasses and includes many questions; for instance a learner ought to understand; how, when, where and what happened in a story. Humans are rational beings and influenced by different factors when faced with a problem that requires a solution. The bias arises due to race, language and gender. Searching for truths and solutions is therefore not an easy task for an individual.

‘When the language is class or gender or race biased, it affects the ability of the learner, especially the learner, whose gender or race is being maligned by that language, to assess the validity of an argument in a disinterested or dispassionate’ (Warren,1988,p. 31)

Critical thinking, attributed to addressing the challenges facing students; their performance fails to commensurate with the amount of effort that they put in their study. The benefits of creative and critical thinking are to improve the general outcome of an individual in a holistic way. For example, when reading a book, one needs to first analyze who is he? This is the critical self; analyzing the contents of the book in order to understand the points according to who he is. A person also gathers information on who he is, through, inference, observation and classification of whom or what that person is. A student must organize his thoughts in such a way as to understand; collection of information, evaluation of the information and issues presented, drawing logical conclusions and evolution of the conclusions. A non-critical thinker would only collect information and draw conclusions without analyzing the whole self.

Knowledge is important in thinking critically, that understands the content or materials presented for analysis. Brainstorming is part of critical thinking since it involves creative thinking of an individual thinking creatively means ‘thinking outside the box’ beyond the materials given or the activities. The critical self is a rational, personified, historically located self who exercises and demonstrate the skills and dispositions of a creative thinker.

The author asserts that critical thinking is exercise of teachable skills of the critical self;

‘The exercise of the dispositions or ‘spirit’ of critical thinking is as important to critical thinking as the exercise of any of the teachable skills of critical thinking’ (Norriss, 1985,p.42)

This reflects the purpose of critical thinking as reasonable thinking aimed at determining what a person ought to believe. What a person must do through reflective thinking by assessing arguments, defining assumptions, factual claims, value claims, observation, reports and predictions. This is sin reference to coming up with the right answer. In conclusion, a critical thinker is one who is able to come up with logical arguments and decisions that are not only rational but also fit and solves all the problems presented. Critical thinking skills demonstrate the effectiveness of gaining both the skills of writing, understanding taught as critical thinking skills. Critical thinking is an important component in the life of an individual, especially students

Question 6

‘When the language is class or gender or race biased, it affects the ability of the learner, especially the learner, whose gender or race is being maligned by that language, to assess the validity of an argument in a disinterested or dispassionate’ (Warren,1988,p. 31)

Paraphrasing

Predisposition amongst learners affects the outcome of an argument, this is informed by gender, race and class of a person. Moreover, learners who are prejudiced by bias are usually unconcerned detached from contributing in arguments.

Question 7

Students faced with challenges while undertaking classes and studies do not know their weaknesses unless and until they do assessments. One is ill equipped without critical thinking skills enabling one effectively come up with an essay that effectively presents the position of the writer. If one is told to write an essay then, the person will only focus on what the essay says and immediately draw a conclusion without understanding; the bias of the writer, reflecting on the setting of the story, the arguments that are presented by the writer, evaluating the purpose of the story and its importance. One therefore needs the critical thinking skills to know and better understand what the story is talking about and draw logical conclusions from the story. The skills necessary for critical thinking are open mindedness, precision, accuracy and evolution to enable one come up with the correct decisions.

The reading from Warren (1995) ‘Critical Self’ is important because it highlights how a student goes wrong in understanding the contents of their reading materials and how to come up with logical conclusions. The article gives a reflection on how one can improve their thinking through understanding one self. An individual’s biases that include language, race and gender and a person needs to rid him or herself from this bias to effectively come up with logical conclusions. The thinking process informed by the knowledge already gained by the learner, the goals of the learner as well as understanding one’s self . Metacognition as part of critical thinking is ‘thinking about thinking’ that is a person must be aware of what they are thinking before they think about what they are reading or doing. The paper reflects the areas that one needs to recognize before embarking to answer questions that require logic and reasoning. The article in my opinion gives me clear picture of how go wrong in terms of writing my essays, making arguments and even participates in discussions. One usually focuses on getting better grades, cram materials and forget to read, understand and critically analyze the content before making decisions. Creative and critical thinking are all-important since it forms one on how to analyze arguments, make inferences, evaluating and making decisions in solving problems.

Critical thinking affects other areas of study because it is the backbone of getting the right answers. The reading is important since it gives the various outcomes obtained by one through study, applicable to all other areas of learning. Critical thinking is not only important in a critical thinking lecture, but it involves decision making in a person’s entire life. The remainder of the lectures all aim at coming up with solutions, problems, issues and dilemmas that require critical and reflective thinking. The concepts and themes though are from different setting, are linked since they require the thinking process in order to come up with logical answers and decisions.

The strengths of the reading are necessary for the success of an individual. The paper is a complete reflection of how humans are rational beings informed by different factors that affect their thinking and coming up with logical conclusions. The article improves the thinking ability of an individual and the importance of understanding oneself before seeking to address problems and issues presented in an essay or reading. Reflective and reasonable thinking is important since it enables one decide their belief on certain materials and issues (Warren, 1995, p.60.). The author’s opinions models my own writing since it has highlighted the difference between a non-critical thinker and a critical thinker. A non-critical thinker is a person who reads and comes up with conclusions while a critical thinker reads, reflects, understands, come up with logical decisions, evaluates the decisions and come up with reasonable conclusions.

The article reflects on my own experience as a learner since it has highlighted my weaknesses as a learner. I am a person who usually come up with arguments and answers without first analyzing my bias, the individual self , without understanding materials and always rushing to come up with the correct ideas. As a learner, I engage in different activities, in not only studying but also conversations, discussions and arguments. In my relationship with other students, I fail to analyze what I say and it does not reflect my individual evaluation of the discussion.

References

Norris, Stephen, P. “Synthesis of Research on Critical Thinking” .Educational Leadership 42 ( 1985).

Waren, J. “Critical Thinking and Feminism, Informal Logic” Vol X (1) (1988) p.31-44.

Warren, Karen J. “The Critical Self” ( 1995) Reprinted in TLC 120 Introduction to University Learning Unit Reader and Learning Guide 2013, Murdoch, Murdoch University.