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Emergence of Critical Thinking and the Impact on Education Essay

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This literature review will examine the emergence of critical thinking in history and its impact on education. Early work in critical thinking and methods for teaching critical thinking will be reviewed as well as modern day use of critical thinking. Finally, this paper will examine the benefits of critical thinking in the classroom.
Purpose of critical thinking
Dr. Richard Paul (2006) defines critical thinking as the “disciplined art of ensuring that you use the best thinking you are capable of in any set of circumstances.” It is essentially using the best information available to make the best decisions possible. Critical thinking relies on one’s ability to ask themselves questions about a given topic or situation and be critical of the answers those questions generate.
This can lead to questions based on previous questions. These should result in a deeper understanding of the topic or situation at hand. At the very least, one realizes that they need further information before they can make the right decision. If critical thinking is practiced properly the thinker is being a critic of his own thoughts at all times, deciding if they are fair-minded and appropriate. This requires intellectual humility and discipline that is developed over time and with practice (Paul 2006).
History of Critical Thinking
Over 2,500 years ago Socrates was challenging intellectuals of his time through series of questions which ultimately explored the depth and logic of their ideas. This probing questioning often uncovered many public speakers as smooth talkers with shallow ideas, inadequate evidence and self-contradictory ideas (Paul, 1997). Socrates believed that one cannot simply take the word of those in authority to ...


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...vation. Electronic Journal Of Research In Educational Psychology, 9(2), 823-848.

Paul, R., & Elder, L. (2006). Critical Thinking: Learn the tools the best thinkers use. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Crenshaw, P. (2011). Producing Intellectual Labor In The Classroom: The Utilization Of A Critical Thinking Model To Help Students Take Command Of Their Thinking. Journal Of College Teaching & Learning, 8(7), 13-26.

King, A. (1994). Inquiry as a Tool in Critical Thinking. Changing college classrooms: new teaching and learning strategies for an increasingly complex world (pp. 13-38). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Paul, R., Elder, L., & Bartell, T. (1997). California Teacher Preparation for Instruction in Critical Thinking: Research Findings and Policy Recommendations. Sacramento, Calif.: Commission on Teacher Credentialing, State of California.


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