A Definition of Critical Thinking that Works

Image - Cover of teaching for Critical Thinking

A worthwhile book

Critical thinking describes the process by which students become aware of two sets of assumptions. First, students investigate the assumptions held by scholars in a field of study regarding the way legitimate knowledge is created and advanced in that field. Second, students investigate their own assumptions and the way these frame their own thinking and actions. Thinking critically requires us to check the assumptions that we, and others, hold, by assessing the accuracy and validity of the evidence for these assumptions and by looking at ideas and actions from multiple perspectives. A person who thinks critically is much better placed to take informed actions; actions that are well grounded in evidence and that are more likely to achieve the results intended.1


  1. Stephen D. Brookfield, Teaching for Critical Thinking: Tools and Techniques to Help Students Question Their Assumptions (New York: Jossey-Bass, 2012), 157.
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About HAT

Heather Thiessen (HAT) is a happily married 60-ish, Bible-reading, Presbyterian Church Sunday School teaching and choir singing, small fuel efficient car driving, still pretty much 2nd wave feminist and generally out lesbian Hoosier mom. (There are no monochrome states.) From time to time she teaches religious studies to students at a small liberal arts college in Louisville, Kentucky.
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