Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Cultivating Critical Thinking

Written by: on September 6, 2013

Reading Richard Paul and Linda Elder, The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking concepts and Tools, 6th ed. has been an eye opening for me. I am not a critical thinker and I really need to learn how to cultivate critical thinking. Reading this book took me back to my middle school and high school experience where I had to learn all courses in English, my third language. The only way I got through was just by copying the notes from the blackboards and memorizing them all even though I didn’t understand most of it. My situation was not unique but I have never questioned why I had to learn in a language that I don’t understand. I have always embraced things the way they are and hardly ask questions for clarity, especially in class. But now I see myself as courageous, open-minded and learning how to cultivate critical thinking.

 What an amazing gift to have the ability to think; even though as the authors say, “much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed or down-right prejudiced,” (Kindle Locations 39-40) It is true that excellence in thought does not always come easily to us because of our natural self-centered thinking. But as Dallas Willard in his article Transforming the Mind says, “ The ultimate freedom we have as human beings is the power to select what we will allow our minds to dwell upon.” This is good news that we have power to think and decide to learn or unlearn what we want. Since, as Paul and Elder say, “the quality of our life and that of what we produce, make, or build depends on the quality of our thoughts.” (Kindle Locations 37).  Something I like about critical thinking is that it is “ the art of analyzing and
evaluating thinking with a view to improving it.”
(Kindle Locations 41-42).  In addition to all those excellent ways to cultivate our critical thinking I also think that we are not left alone on our own fixing our egocentric thinking. We need to seek God to change and guide our thoughts.

Another topic that hit hard on me is that the discussion on the problem of egocentric and sociocentric thinking (p.283). It made me pause and rethink my up bringing and where I am at now in my understanding about self and others in my relationship. As someone who comes from society that is very hierarchical I struggled in my thinking and assumption to fit within my cultural norms. It was after coming to the US and getting exposure to difference cultures and faith experience I began to see life from different point of view. I still do not know many things but I desire not to be blindly submissive but have humility and be sensitive toward others culture and love them despite their egocentrism.

About the Author

Telile Fikru Badecha

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