First of all, let me just say, you have come a long way and I am proud of you. Before this class, your reasoning was skewed and this barred you from numerous opportunities and situations that could have been life-changing, but such is life. Despite all this effort, the progress is not without its challenges which have been the struggle for the part of this course. Taking the critical reasoning class has been among the best decisions I ever made since I can see the difference in my reasoning abilities which have improved remarkably well. I have to admit that I am still far from being a critical thinker, but it is a work in progress and I am on the right track. However, before going forward, I thought it best to note down the key areas that have become a problem for me. The main idea is to have a visual and constant reminder of how far I have come and how much further I am to achieving the goal.
To begin with, I have a problem with accuracy in my thinking which has been failing my thinking. This element has been tough for me to understand or rather practice in my train of thoughts and this has been weighing me down. I understand that for this element to be successful in critical thinking, then the thought has to be confirmed to be true. It is very possible for a sentence or an idea to be clear but its clarity does not mean it is accurate and therein lies the problem (Elder & Paul, 2010). The assumption that only unclear sentences are inaccurate has limited my ability to explore the clear ones thus restricting my critical thinking abilities. To improve on this glitch, I have to learn to verify all the facts before taking the statement as the truth. I have to look into the authenticity of the information received before making the final judgment on whether or not the data is true. This means trusting the validity of the source and even then, it is important to receive the information rationally to avoid bias.
The second element that is restrictive to my critical reasoning skills is relevance, I often seem to deviate from the subject matter and it is off-putting. I have learned that a great critical thinker is one who is rational and does not confuse matters no matter how close or identical they are. I have noticed that I every so often digress from the matter at hand during discussions or even in my thoughts. This means that more often than not, I do not solve problems and it is also very possible that I might be adding on to some of the problems. Improving this issue entails learning to understand the problem at hand before starting the train of thought (Snyder & Snyder, 2008). I have to ensure that at every point, my thoughts are relative to the question, task or problem at hand otherwise, my thoughts will always wander. Every question I ask myself of concept I am trying to explore as I am breaking down the problem has to be working together with the problem. By relating the information and questions I am asking myself to the main problem, I minimize the chances of losing relevance.
Lastly, I lack depth in my thinking which I think is crucial as the depth of one’s thinking determines their ability to internalize thinks and assess every statement. Most of the time, statements, questions or even issues have very many ways of looking at them. However, one can look for the surface or the deeper meaning which is always there, a skill I lack in my thinking. Depth in critical thinking means internalizing the complexities of the situation and breaking it down to uncover the underlying matter (Smyth, 2004). To improve on this, I have to learn to acknowledge whether or not a question is hard to answer truthfully. If this is the case, then chances are that the question is intricate and thus requires more attention to uncover why it is complex then proceed from there. Recognizing that a question is complex prepares the mind to deal with its complexities in numerous ways. The mind will be ready to look at the question inherently and come up with a viable solution.
By the end of the year, I hope to have mastered these three elements of universal intellectual standards which will then help my critical thinking abilities. I feel like dealing with depth will help me cover the remaining two because this element has much more character than relevance and accuracy. Although each of them is strong on their own, being in-depth in my thing will help me avoid being irrelevant or inaccurate in my train of thought. Depth is vital in learning how to internalize matters and thus look at them in more than one context which helps with relevance (Snyder & Snyder, 2008). Tying to uncover the complexities of a question or task will allow me to question more than just the nature of the subject matter thus helping me with my accuracy. I will learn to judge a situation which will build my critical thinking ability.
A complete thought or rather rational thinking entails the ability to incorporate all the nine universal intellectual standards elements. Incorporating all of these means that the complete thought will be perfectly objective and correct regardless of the circumstance (Elder & Paul, (2010). These elements ensure that my train of thought successfully solves the matter at hand in an objective and correct way rather than guessing or delivering skewed solutions.
The society I live in plays a major role in shaping my thinking today without which, I would probably not be who I am today. In so many ways, I am inclined to react to my environment and sometimes even think like most of the people in it. Social media has the most contribution to my train of thought in so many ways considering it ignites a different discussion or rather approaches depending on how we look at it. On so many levels, it has increased the socials interaction for the people including business marketing and brand development (Boyd, 2014). On the other hand, it has left so many self-conscious people open for cyber bullies to prey on their vulnerabilities and insecurities. Social media has become the leading cause of suicide following the high standards of living set up by social media influencers who seem to have their lives in order. This causes a deep discussion which has numerous angles to look at depending on how deeply one looks at it.
So many businesses are dependent on social media platforms for the marketing of their products since the current society is technologically gifted or rather literate. This means that they would much rather use technology rather than the traditional means of marketing since the former will attract much more people and at a cheaper price than the latter. As much as I want to think that social media has a negative impact on society following the addictive and false lifestyles of these influencers, it is also improving the presence of so many businesses. Not all pages are negative and it only depends on the sites and pages that an individual visit making the opinion that social media is a negative thing very subjective (Boyd, 2014). The truth is, so many entrepreneurs depend on these platforms to sell their products or attract customers. The biggest challenge I have experience is reconciling the fact that the positives and negatives of social media are in so many ways intertwined. The negatives are not in any way active unless misused by the users. It is how we use social media, not the applications that are affecting our lifestyles. However, it does not matter since everyone has their reasons for using these platforms and that is their responsibility.
Dear self, the process is long and it might take longer, but time has the power to improve things for the better. Critical thinking takes time to build and improve such that even after acquiring it, it still needs improvement. You will master the art and the skill will be yours.
Boyd, D. (2014). It’s complicated: The social lives of networked teens. Yale University Press.
Elder, L., & Paul, R. (2010). Critical Thinking: Competency Standards Essential for the Cultivation of Intellectual Skills, Part 1. Journal of Developmental Education, 34(2), 38-39.
Smyth, T. R. (2004). Thinking and Writing. In: The Principles of Writing in Psychology (pp. 3-12). Palgrave, London.
Snyder, L. G., & Snyder, M. J. (2008). Teaching critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The Journal of Research in Business Education, 50(2), 90.
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