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Critical thinking | Analysis

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Language
Wordcount: 5420 words Published: 11th May 2017

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Critical thinking

Nowadays, critical thinking is an interest, important and vital topic in whole modern educations. Modern Education meant that all education tailored to the needs of this age because Modern education is a tool used to learn how to survive in this era. Because of that, all educators are interested to teach their students to think critically. Many academic of departments hope that the teacher, lecturers, professors and instructors will be teaching an information about the strategies of critical thinking skills and identifying areas in persons as a great place to emphasize, to develop, to improve and to use some of the problems in the tests or exams that test their critical thinking skills. The purpose of this paper is to explain the definition, the way to master, the advantages, and all about critical thinking. Manuals of critical thinking and all information have been prepared and provided shortly and clearly so that the reader will have the time and opportunity to read and follow the advice that contained in this paper and help other peoples to achieve the goal of this paper. The explanations will be emphasized in student life.

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Ennis (in the Costa, 1985) introduced critical thinking as reflective thinking that is focused on making decisions about what is believed or done. Critical thinking actually is the ability and willingness to assess claims and make objective assessments based on well-supported reasons. This is the ability to find defects in the arguments and reject the claim that doesn’t have supporting evidence. However, critical thinking isn’t just same as negative thinking, it also encourages the ability to be creative and constructive to generate possible explanations for the findings, think about the implications, and apply new knowledge to the variety of social and personal problems. In truth critical thinking cannot completely separate from the creative thinking, because it is only when you question what is that you can begin to imagine what could. (Wade and Tavris, pp.4-5) The best meaning of critical thinking is as the ability of thinkers to take over their own thoughts. The specific purpose of teaching this critical thinking in science or in other discipline is to improve the skills of someone’s thinking for better prepared to succeed in the world.
And then the critical thinker is someone who can use or even master critical thinking. They can think critically and creatively, to distinguish between facts and opinions, ask questions, make detailed observations, uncovering assumptions and define their terms, and make statements based on logic sound and solid evidence. The ideal critical thinker has a sense of great curiosity, Actual, his reason can be trusted, open minded, flexible, balanced in the evaluation, honest in facing personal prejudices, be careful in making decisions, willing to reconsider, the issue of transparency, smart in finding relevant information, reasonable in choosing the criteria, the focus in inquiry, and persistent in seeking discovery. In the form of simple, critical thinking is based on the values of the universal intellectual, namely: clarity, accuracy, precision (precision), consistency, relevance, the facts are reliable, for reasons good, deep, broad, and according to (Scriven and Paul, 2007).


To find the people who have the ability of critical thinking, there are 27 characteristics of critical thinking developed by Ennis (in Costa, 1985), namely:

(1) They are looking for a clear question and a question of theory;(2) they are looking for a reason; (3) they are trying to be an Actual; (4) they are using the resources that can be trusted and express; (5) they explain the entire situation; (6) they are trying to stay relevant with the main idea; (7) they are keeping the basic and original idea in the mind;(8) they are looking for an alternative; (9) they are open-minded; (10) they are taking a position (and change the position) when the evidence and possible reasons to do so; (11) they are searching for documents with precision; (12) they agreed in an orderly manner with the parts of the whole complex; (13) they are sensitive to the feelings, knowledge, and intelligence of others; (14) they ask relevant questions; (15) they may admit a lack of understanding or information; (16) they are curious; (17) they are interested in finding new solutions; (18) they can clearly; (19) they define a set of criteria for analyzing ideas; (20) they are willing to examine beliefs, assumptions, and opinions and consider them against the facts; (21) they are listening carefully to others and is; (9) they are able to provide feedback; (22) they see that Critical thinking is a lifelong process of self assessment; (23) they suspend judgments until all the facts have been gathered and considered; (24) they find evidence to support assumptions and beliefs; (25) they can adjust opinions when new facts are discovered; (26) they examined the problem closely; (27) they are able to reject information that is untrue or irrelevant.[1]

In addition, there are 12 indicators of critical thinking skills that are divided into five major groups below:

(1) Provides a simple explanation: a) focus on the question, b) analyze the arguments, c) asking and answering of an explanation or challenge; (2) build basic skills: d) to consider the credibility of the source, e) observed and considered a report of observations; (3)concluded: f) deduce and consider the results of deduction, g) induces and consider the results of induction, h) to make and determine the value of the consideration; (4) further explanation: i) define the term and consider the definition, j) identifying assumptions; (5) setting the strategy and tactics: k) determines the action, l) to interact with others.


Critical thinking is a manner that can influence people. That influence is called Aspects of Critical thinking and that aspects are divided by the critical thinking process which has five phases. A full cycle of critical thinking, as described below, usually leads to another triggering event and another journey through the critical thinking process. New assumptions may be challenged, new information gathered and new approaches developed. As they pass through these phases, critical thinkers will engage the four components of critical thinking. At every point they identify and challenge old assumptions, analyze context, look for bias and seek alternatives. These phases lay as follow:

Phase 1: Trigger Event. Most people are motivated to start thinking critically by some kind of external event or ideal. This is usually unexpected and causes some kind of inner discomfort or confusion. Trigger events can be both positive and negative.

Phase 2: Appraisal. After the triggering event, an uncomfortable period of doubt may follow. This phase can involve an attempt to make light of a concern. Others may keep worrying through this stage, and decide they need to find another approach to dealing with the issue.

Phase 3: Exploration. In this phase, people accept that they are moving toward some kind of change or transformation. They ask questions, develop options and make discoveries. They find out about other people who are dealing with similar things. They gather more information.

Phase 4: Finding Alternatives. This phase can also be called the transition stage when old ideas are either left behind, or clarified, and new ways of thinking or acting are started. Decisions are made about how far change should go, and how fast.

Phase 5: Integration. This phase involves finding ways to fit new ideas and information into everyday lives. In some cases this means making major changes. In other cases, it means confirming the old ideas.


Critical thinking skill also has stages. These stages is a phase that Critical thinker will master the skills. There are 6 stages of Critical thinking laid out are as follows:

Stage One: The Unreflective Thinker. Unreflective thinkers most are unaware of the role of determining that the thinking is to play in their lives and the many ways in thinking that the problems that caused the problem in their lives. Unreflective thinkers lack the ability to explicitly assess their thinking and improve it.

Stage Two: The Challenged Thinker. Thinkers move to the “challenged” stage when they become initially aware of the determining role that thinking is playing in their lives, and of the fact that problems in their thinking are causing them serious and significant problems.

Stage Three: The Beginning Thinker. Those who move to the beginning thinker stage are actively taking up the challenge to begin to take explicit command of their thinking across multiple domains of their lives. Thinkers at this stage recognize that they have basic problems in their thinking and make initial attempts to better understand how they can take charge of and improve it. Based on this initial understanding, beginning thinkers begin to modify some of their thinking, but have limited insight into deeper levels of the trouble inherent in their thinking. Most importantly, they lack a systematic plan for improving their thinking, they hence their efforts are hit and miss.

Stage Four: The Practicing Thinker. Thinkers at this stage have a sense of the habits they need to develop to take charge of their thinking. They are not only recognizing that problems exist in their thinking, but they are also recognizing the need to attack these problems globally and systematically. Based on their sense of the need to practice regularly, they are actively analyzing their thinking in a number of domains. However, since practicing thinkers are only beginning to approach the improvement of their thinking in a systematic way, they still have limited insight into deeper levels of thought, and thus into deeper levels of the problems embedded in thinking.

Principal Challenge is to begin to develop awareness of the need for systematic practice in thinking.

Stage Five: The Advanced Thinker. Thinkers at this stage have now established good habits of thought which are “paying off.” Based on these habits, advanced thinkers not only actively analyze their thinking in all the significant domains of their lives, but also have significant insight into problems at deeper levels of thought. While advanced thinkers are able to think well across the important dimensions of their lives, they are not yet able to think at a consistently high level across all of these dimensions. Advanced thinkers have good general command over their egocentric nature. They continually strive to be fair-minded. Of course, they sometimes lapse into egocentrism and reason in a one-sided way.

Stage Six: The Master Thinker. Master thinkers not only have systematically taken charge of their thinking, but are also continually monitoring, revising, and re-thinking strategies for continual improvement of their thinking. They have deeply internalized the basic skills of thought, so that critical thinking is, for them, both conscious and highly intuitive. As Piaget would put it, they regularly raise their thinking to the level of conscious realization. Through extensive experience and practice in engaging in self-assessment, master thinkers are not only actively analyzing their thinking in all the significant domains of their lives, but are also continually developing new insights into problems at deeper levels of thought. Master thinkers are deeply committed to fair-minded thinking, and have a high level of, but not perfect, control over their egocentric nature.


As explained before, critical thinking is a process of thinking about an idea or ideas in a methodical way and from a variety of angles. One method of thinking critically involves a series of questions to be applied to the idea under consideration. These questions can be broken down into three categories:

(1) Questions which help us observe a text; (2) Questions which help us evaluate the text; (3) Questions which help us respond to and use (or apply) the text critically.

First skill: Observation skills. Observation skills are the skill of someone to observe the case with given question. The question of observation can be divided into a two subcategories: (1) Those relating to the immediately sated assertion, reasoning, evidence, and conclusion; (2) Those relation to the derived meaning for the reader.

Observational questioning includes the personal response of the reader since the reader constructs and in therefore part of the text. Here are some observation-based questions, those which help us identify the assertions, line of reasoning, and systematic explanations:

1. What are the meanings of the special terms in this text?

2. What is the point of the text, namely the author’s conclusion (thesis)?

3. What evidence does the author give?

4. What is the actual path of reasoning offered?

Second skill: Evaluation Skills. Evaluation Skills is evaluating the stated text in relation to the history of its ideas and imbedded beliefs and looking at contextual elements such as the method of gathering, evidence, the mode of presentation, the assumption behind the logic of the reasoning, and the events which led to the methods, presentational form, and assumptions. In other words, in evaluation questions, we historicize the stated text. Here are some examples of evaluation skill questions:

1. Are the meanings of the special terms ambiguous in any way? How so?

2. Does the evidence make sense? Why or why not?

3. Does evidence match the conclusions? If not, what might explain the mismatch?

4. Does the reasoning lead well from assertion through evidence to conclusion or are there gaps in the sequencing or ambiguity in the language?

5. What other conclusions might be drawn?

6. What other evidence might be brought to bear on the reasoning?

7. What other assertions might have been made?

8. Why might the author have left out evidence which changes the meaning of the text?

Third skill: Critical Response and Application skills. To further reveal the mosaic of idea, evidence, and intention, the critical thinker will usually include him/her in some way part of the context, using a third set of questions. The following response/application questions lead to a critical understanding of the reader’s relationship to a text:

1. What is it about this text that interests me?

2. Did I agree or disagree strongly with the author any time during the course of reading the text? What is the precise language I disagree with?

3. Does the idea under consideration relate in any way to my own life or lives of people I know? How so?

4. Why I am interested in this text?

5. Is there something I might gain or lose by accepting the conclusion of the author? What is the gain or loss?

6. Do the values and beliefs of the author appear to match my own? If not, is this mismatch responsible for my judgment of the idea?

The response/application questions, like evaluation questions, are “why” questions. They dig into the casual factors shaping ideas, evidence, methods, and presentational forms of thought. As such, they are the foundation of thoughtful critique and argumentation.


Furthermore, the next topic is the way to be a good critical thinker. Here are the steps that can be followed by someone who wants to be critical thinkers. The questions related to each other following allows people to evaluate their own thoughts and ideas of others. If people use these questions with organized to assess their thoughts on various topics or evaluate ideas they find in articles, books, conversations and other places, they will come to the conclusion that an independent and credible. By using these questions on a regular basis, people learn to examine assumptions, facing prejudice, recognize different points of view, considering the meaning of the word, noting the implications of the conclusions and evaluate evidence.
Each person can learn to think critically because the human brain is constantly trying to understand the experience. In continuing quest for meaning, the brain connects abstract ideas with real-world context.
The following steps are presented in the form of a question. Because by answering questions, people involved in mental activities that they need to obtain a deep understanding. These questions are presented in the order thoroughly examine each problem, issue, project, or the decisions faced by the people especially the students in the face of learning in the classroom or personal experience.
The steps of critical thinking are as follows:

Ask questions; be willing to wonder. Always be on the lookout for questions that have not been answered in the textbooks, by the experts in the field or by the media. Be willing to ask “what’s wrong here?’ and/or “Why is this way it is, and how did it come to be that way?”

Define the problem. An inadequate formulation of question can produce misleading or incomplete answers. Ask neutral questions that don’t presuppose answers.

Examine the evidence. Ask yourself, “What evidence supports or refutes this argument and its opposition?” Just because many people believe, including so-called experts, it doesn’t make it so.

Analyze assumptions and biases. All of us are subject to biases, beliefs that prevent us from being impartial. Evaluate the assumptions and biases that lie behind arguments, including your own.

Avoid emotional reasoning: “If I feel this way, it must be true.” Passionate commitment to a view can motivate a person to think boldly without fear of what others will say, but when “gut feelings” replace clear thinking, the results can be disastrous.

Don’t oversimplify. Look beyond the obvious, rest easy generalizations, reject either/or thinking. Don’t argue by anecdote.

Consider other interpretations. Formulate hypotheses that offer reasonable explanations of characteristics, behavior, and events.

Tolerate uncertainty. Sometimes the evidence merely allows us to draw tentative conclusions. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.” Don’t demand “the ” answer.


If there is a way, there is also a requirement. This matter also occurred in Critical thinking. These are 16 requirements to be Critical Thinker that must be fulfilled to reach the goal:

(1) state and explain goals and purposes; (2) clarify the questions they need to answer and the problems they need to solve; (3) gather and organize information and data; (4) explicitly assess the meaning and significance of information you give them; (5) demonstrate that they understand concepts; (6) identify assumptions;( 7) consider implications and consequences; (8) examine things from more than one point of view; (9) state what they say clearly; (10) test and check for accuracy; (11) stick to questions, issues, or problems; and not wander in their thinking; (12) express themselves precisely and exactly; (13) deal with complexities in problems and issues; (14) consider the point of view of others (15) express their thinking logically; (16) Distinguish significant matters from insignificant ones.[2]


In peoples’ life there are many types of Critical thinking can be applied, but in this explanation will be focused just on two Applications. They are Application Critical thinking in Reading and American History.

Apply to Reading (Critical Reading). One alternative to increase students’ critical thinking skills is to become familiar with critical reading. Habituation is not only done by teachers or Lecturers language (more specifically the faculty to read) but also by all teachers of all disciplines. Is not the modern learning process, in the field / discipline of any kind, there’s always reading.
There are equal parts between the activities of critical thinking with reading activities. Both require the brain works. The core activities of critical thinking are the use of reason in judging the truth of something. Similarly, reading activities, in which there is a process of reasoning to understand the meaning of written symbols. Thus, the process of learning and habituation to read is essentially a process of learning and habituation to think too. One type of reading activity in which obviously requires the ability to think critically is a critical reading.

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Critical Reading is the ability and willingness to assess claims and make objective assessments based on well-supported reason in the reading. These seven critical reading strategies can be learned readily and then applied not only to reading selections in a Literature class, but also to your other college reading. Mastering these strategies will help to handle difficult material with confidence.

Annotating. Annotating is an important skill to employ if you want to read critically. Successful critical readers read with a pencil in their hand, making notes in the text as they read. Instead of reading passively, they create an active relationship with what they are reading by “talking back” to the text in its margins. And annotation is a key component of close reading. Since we will annotate texts all year, you need to develop a system

Effective annotating is both economical and consistent. The techniques are almost limitless.

Use any combination of the following:

(1) Make a brief comments in the margins. Use any white space available – inside cover, random blank pages; (2) make brief comments between or within lines of the text. Do not be afraid to mark within the text itself; (3) circle or put boxes, triangles, or clouds around words or phrases; (4) use abbreviations or symbols – brackets, stars, exclamation points, question marks, numbers, etc; (5)Connect words, phrases, ideas, circles, boxes, etc. with lines or arrows; (6) underline (CAUTION: Use this method sparingly). Underline only a few words. Always combine with another method such as comment. Never underline an entire passage. Doing so takes too much time and loses effectiveness. If you wish to mark an entire paragraph or passage, draw a line down the margin or use brackets; (7) highlight – See underline. You cannot write with a highlighter anyway; (8) create your own code. (9) Use post-it notes only if you have exhausted all available space (unlikely).

Previewing. Previewing is learning about a text before really reading it. Previewing enables readers to get a sense of what the text is about and how it is organized before reading it closely. This simple strategy includes seeing what you can learn from the headnotes or other introductory material, skimming to get an overview of the content and organization, and identifying the rhetorical situation. Previewing is especially useful for getting a general idea of heavy reading like long magazine or newspaper articles, business reports, and non-fiction books.
It can give you as much as half the comprehension in as little as on tenth the time. For example, you should be able to preview eight or ten 100-page reports in an hour. After previewing, you’ll be able to decide which reports (or which parts of which reports) are worth a closer look.
Here’s how to preview: Read the entire first two paragraphs of whatever you’ve chosen. Next read only the first sentence of each successive paragraph. Then read the entire last two paragraphs.
Previewing doesn’t give you all the details. But it does keep you from spending time on things you don’t really want-or need-to read.
Notice that the previewing gives you a quick, overall view of long, unfamiliar material. For short, light reading, there’s a better technique.

Contextualizing. The contextualizing is the way to placing a text in its historical, biographical, and cultural contexts. When you read a text, you read it through the lens of your own experience. Your understanding of the words on the page and their significance is informed by what you have come to know and value from living in a particular time and place. But the texts you read were all written in the past, sometimes in a radically different time and place. To read critically, you need to contextualize, to recognize the differences between your contemporary values and attitudes and those represented in the text.

Questioning. Questioning is about understanding and remembering by asking questions about the content. Questions are designed to help you understand a reading and respond to it more fully, and often this technique works. When you need to understand and use new information though it is most beneficial if you write the questions, as you read the text for the first time. With this strategy, you can write questions any time, but in difficult academic readings, you will understand the material better and remember it longer if you write a question for every paragraph or brief section. Each question should focus on a main idea, not on illustrations or details, and each should be expressed in your own words, not just copied from parts of the paragraph.

Reflecting. It means that reflecting on challenges to your beliefs and values by examining your personal responses. The reading that you do for this class might challenge your attitudes, your unconsciously held beliefs, or your positions on current issues. The steps are bellow: (1) As you read a text for the first time, mark an X in the margin at each point where you fell a personal challenge to your attitudes, beliefs, or status. (2) Make a brief note in the margin about what you feel or about what in the text created the challenge. (3) Now look again at the places you marked in the text where you felt personally challenged. (4) Then check the patterns that you see.

Outlining and summarizing. Outlining and summarizing is identifying the main ideas and restating them in your own words. Outlining and summarizing are especially helpful strategies for understanding the content and structure of a reading selection. Whereas outlining reveals the basic structure of the text, summarizing synopsizes a selection’s main argument in brief. Outlining may be part of the annotating process, or it may be done separately (as it is in this class). The key to both outlining and summarizing is being able to distinguish between the main ideas and the supporting ideas and examples. The main ideas form the backbone, the strand that holds the various parts and pieces of the text together. Outlining the main ideas helps you to discover this structure. When you make an outline, don’t use the text’s exact words.

Summarizing. Summarizing begins with outlining, but instead of merely listing the main ideas, a summary recomposes them to form a new text. Whereas outlining depends on a close analysis of each paragraph, summarizing also requires creative synthesis. Putting ideas together again — in your own words and in a condensed form — shows how reading critically can lead to deeper understanding of any text.

Evaluating an argument. Evaluating an argument means testing the logic of a text as well as its credibility and emotional impact. All writers make assertions that want you to accept as true. As a critical reader, you should not accept anything on face value but to recognize every assertion as an argument that must be carefully evaluated. An argument has two essential parts: a claim and support. The claim asserts a conclusion — an idea, an opinion, a judgment, or a point of view – that the writer wants you to accept. The support includes reasons (shared beliefs, assumptions, and values) and evidence (facts, examples, statistics, and authorities) that give readers the basis for accepting the conclusion. When you assess an argument, you are concerned with the process of reasoning as well as its truthfulness (these are not the same thing). At the most basic level, in order for an argument to be acceptable, the support must be appropriate to the claim and the statements must be consistent with one another.

Comparing and contrasting related readings. Comparing and contrasting related readings means Exploring likenesses and differences between texts to understand them better.

Many of the authors on the subject of thinking critically approach the topic in different ways. Fitting a text into an ongoing dialectic helps increase understanding of why an author approached a particular issue or question in the way he or she did.

Apply to American History. Being able to distinguish between a statement of fact, an opinion or an inference is an important skill to critical thinking. It involves knowing what can be proven directly, what is a legitimate implication derived from the facts, and what is fair to conclude from the historical record.

Historians typically interweave statements of fact, inferences they derive from the facts, and statements of their own opinion into a seamless historical narrative. Critical thinkers must be able to distinguish among these three types of communication.

(1) FACT: reports information that can be directly observed or can be verified or checked for accuracy.

(2) OPINION: expresses an evaluation based on a personal judgment or belief which may or may not be verifiable.

(3) INFERENCE: a logical conclusion or a legitimate implication based on factual information.

Generally, facts are constants in historical study. But a compendium of facts is inevitably incomplete and deathly dull to read. Historians construct history by closing the gaps in their knowledge about the past, enlarge our under- standing, and enliven their narrative by drawing logical inferences from their assembled facts. Often, they then use their expertise to arrive at a considered judgment about the wisdom or significance of past decisions and events.


Each good manner must have its advantages. If people have succeeded mastering Critical Thinker, he/she will get big advantages. Many advantages that they can get, ten of them is:

(1) They will learn content at a deeper and more permanent level; (2) They will be are better able to explain and apply what they learn; (2) They will be better able to connect what they are learning in one class with what they are learning in other classes; (3) They will ask more and better questions in class; (4)They will understand the textbook better; (5) They will follow directions better; (6)of course, they will understand more of what you present in class; (7) They will write better; (8) They will apply more of what they are learning to their everyday life; (9)They will become more motivated learners in general; (10) They will become progressively easier to teach.

Advantages in education

Some research in education was indicated that critical thinking can prepare students to think in different disciplines, and can be used to fulfill the intellectual needs and development of potential students, because it can prepare students for careers in real lives (Liliasari, 1996; Adams, 2003). Furthermore, Chiras (1992, in Kurniati, 2001) explains that critical thinking that is learned in science class also affects the lives of students long after they leave their formal education by providing a tool where they can analyze a large number of issues they will face in their daily lives days. Unfortunately, the education system does not teach how to think. Education system more focused on delivering information rather than developing the ability to think. And yet the information into knowledge to analy


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