Critical thinking and problem solving essay


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What state is he from -- one with a lot of industry that contributes to acid rain and other pollution? What's his voting record on environmental issues? Is he receiving contributions from major polluters?

Does he live in a place that's seriously affected by pollution? What does he know about the science involved? What do you know about the science involved? Does he have any knowledge or expertise in this area at all? Finally, you might want answers to some questions about the context of the statement. What's the record of private industry over the last 10 years in cleaning up its own pollution without government intervention, for instance?

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What does pollution look like now, as compared to before the government regulated it? For that matter, when did government regulation start? What effect did it have? Perhaps even more important, who will benefit if these ideas are accepted? Who will lose? What will the result be if things are changed in the direction this politician suggests? Are those results good for the country? If you ask the kinds of questions suggested here when you see new information, or consider a situation or a problem or an issue, you're using critical thinking.

Critical thinking is tremendously important in health, human service, and community work because it allows you to understand the actual issues involved, and to come up with an approach that is likely to address them effectively. There are many definitions of critical thinking. Some see it as a particular way of handling information. Others look at it as a specific set of skills and abilities.

People interested in political and social change see it as challenging and providing alternatives to the generally accepted beliefs and values of the power structure. They're all right to an extent: critical thinking is all of these things, and more. Critical thinking is the process of examining, analyzing, questioning, and challenging situations, issues, and information of all kinds. We use it when we raise questions about:. Critical thinking is an important tool in solving community problems and in developing interventions or initiatives in health, human services, and community development.

There are a number of ways to look at the process of critical thinking. Brookfield presents several, with this one being perhaps the simplest. Reflection leads you to the consideration of another problem or goal, and the cycle begins again. Critical thinking involves being thrown into the questioning mode by an event or idea that conflicts with your understanding of the world and makes you uncomfortable. If you allow yourself to respond to the discomfort -- that's partially an issue of personal development -- you'll try to figure out where it comes from, and to come up with other ways to understand the situation.

Ultimately, if you persist, you'll have a new perspective on the event itself, and will have broken through to a more critical understanding. The word "critical" here means approaching everything as if you were a critic -- questioning it, analyzing it, putting it in context, looking at its origins. The aim is to understand it on its deepest level.


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It also means being willing to change your ideas and conclusions -- and actions -- if an objective view shows that they're wrong or ineffective. This last point is important. In health, human service, and community work, the main goal of thinking critically is almost always to settle on an action that will have some desired effect.

What is Critical Thinking?

Critical examination of the situation and the available information could lead to anything from further study to organizing a strike, but it should lead to something. Once you've applied critical thinking to an issue, so that you understand what's likely to work, you have to take action to change the situation. Without thinking critically, you're only looking at the surface of things.

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Think smarter critical thinking to improve problem-solving and decision-making skills

When you come across a politician's statement in the media, do you accept it at face value? Do you accept some people's statements and not others'? The chances are you exercise at least some judgment, based on what you know about the particular person, and whether you generally agree with her or not. Knowing whether or not you agree with someone is not necessarily the same as critical thinking, however. Your reaction may be based on emotion "I hate that guy!

What's important about critical thinking is that it helps you to sort out what's accurate and what's not, and to give you a solid, factual base for solving problems or addressing issues. A bias is not necessarily bad: it is simply a preferred way of looking at things.

The Importance of Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Essay

You can be racially biased, but you can also be biased toward looking at all humans as one family. You can be biased toward a liberal or conservative political point of view, or toward or against tolerance. Regardless of whether most of us would consider a particular bias good or bad, not seeing it can limit how we resolve a problem or issue. It's just about impossible to eliminate emotions, or to divorce them from your own deeply-held assumptions and beliefs.

You can, however, try to understand that they're present, and to analyze your own emotional reactions and those of others in the situation. There are different kinds of emotional reactions. If all the evidence points to something being true, your emotional reaction that it's not true isn't helpful, no matter how badly you want to believe it.

On the other hand, if a proposed solution involves harming a particular group of people "for the good of the majority", an emotional reaction that says "we can't let this happen" may be necessary to change the situation so that its benefits can be realized without harm to anyone. Emotions that allow you to deny reality generally produce undesirable results; emotions that encourage you to explore alternatives based on principles of fairness and justice can produce very desirable results.

During the mid's debate in the United States over welfare reform, much fuss was made over the amount of federal money spent on welfare. Had they examined the general assumptions they were using, they might have thought differently about the issue. In more general terms, the real value of critical thinking is that it's been at the root of all human progress. The first ancestor of humans who said to himself, "We've always made bone tools, but they break awfully easily.

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I bet we could make tools out of something else. What if I tried this rock? So were most of the social, artistic, and technological groundbreakers who followed. You'd be hard pressed to find an advance in almost any area of humanity's development that didn't start with someone looking at the way things were and saying "It doesn't have to be that way. What if we looked at it from another angle? The answer here is everyone, from children to senior citizens. Even small children can learn about such things as cause and effect -- a specific event having a specific result -- through a combination of their own experimentation and experience and of being introduced to more complex ideas by others.

Accepted wisdom, perhaps dispensed by a teacher or other authority figure, is, however, often the opposite of critical thinking, which relies on questioning. In many schools, for example, critical thinkers are, if not punished, stifled because of their "disruptive " need to question and thereby challenge authority. Interestingly enough, the more a school costs -- whether it's a well-funded public school in an affluent community, or an expensive private school -- the more apt it is to encourage and teach critical thinking.

Such schools see themselves, and are seen by their students' parents, as trainers of leaders Many adults exercise critical thinking as a matter of course.


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  • Many more know how, but for various reasons -- fear, perceived self-interest, deeply held prejudices or unexamined beliefs -- choose not to. Still more, perhaps a majority, are capable of learning to think critically, but haven't been taught or exposed to the experiences that would have allowed them to learn on their own.

    Essay about The Importance of Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

    It is this last group that is both most in need of, and most receptive to, learning to think critically. It often includes people with relatively low levels of education and income who see themselves as powerless. It is the best time to show them that you are capable of using your critical thinking skills to explain your ideas thoroughly.

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    Also, note that HR managers mostly tend to focus on how you deliver your response rather than the answer itself. On a daily basis, using critical thinking is usually related to making your life better or getting yourself out of any situation without severe effects on your environment.


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    • You can use critical thinking to identify what is harmful and beneficial to your life by analyzing its consequences or effects if you come into contact with it.

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