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DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Are you thinking what I am thinking?

Written by: on October 19, 2016

Imagine going to your favorite store where you know where everything in the store is and now they have changed the floor plan OR your go to your favorite eating place for your usual meal and the menu has been rearranged and it was difficult to find your usual meal. I had the same experience reading this guide.

I consider myself one who applies the most effective methods of study skills (Rowntree) based on my level of reading skills (Alder). I learned I need to be more aggressive in my communication with others when discussing subjects I have little to no knowledge of (Bayard). After reading these books, I was at a level of great confidence to now learn that I may be a level 2 Thinker, (Paul and Elder, location 80) which is not a good place to be.

How many ways can one think critically?thiker statue sculpture brainstorm magnificent

Critical thinking is the art of analyzing and evaluating, thinking with a view to improving it per the authors’ definition. (Paul and Elder, location 25) Critical thinkers are clear in identifying the purpose, asking questions, and applying speaking and listening skills to what they are reading. (Paul and Elder, location 1) To be considered a critical thinker, you must have traits of integrity as well as empathy in your thinking as you analyze the story. (Paul and Elder, location 153)

In viewing this miniature guide searching for affirmation of my effective skills, I was challenged to find it. I was offered an opportunity to improve my level of thinking through various points: Elements of Thinking, Stages of Thinking, Criteria for Evaluating Reasoning, Intellectual traits or virtues, so on and so on. Each of these points had a list. I must admit that I was intrigued by The Criteria for Evaluating Reasoning which addressed the ideas of purpose, questioning, concepts, assumptions, inferences, a point of view, and implications. (Paul and Elder, location 153) It parallels with the points listed under Analyzing and Assessing Research:  purpose, questions, information, inference, a point of view, assumptions, concept, and implications. (Paul and Elder, location 218-219) Information is the only point not included in both. Viewing the points under analyzing research, similar to evaluating reasoning, reflects the qualities of an effective research paper. My take away from this guide is: When you researched in the preparation of a research paper, you need to review it with a critical thinker’s eye. A writer gathers the information from your research documents that will be presented in the paper. To determine whether it is included in the paper, we need to analyze how it addresses the other seven points.

A template for analyzing the logic of an article is a reflection of questions that the author suggests one use when reading. (Paul and Elder, location 129-143)   The questions in the template utilize the same eight points presented as points to Analyzing and Assessing Research. After analyzing what I have read, I suggest that the template also should be used when preparing our research paper. It will assist in the preparation of a research paper effectively that will address the analysis of critical thinkers.

Authors: Paul and Elder

The picture above is “The Thinker Statues Sculpture Brainstorm Magnificent.” https://www.popscreen.com/prod/MTI3OTYwOTQ5/Sculpture-The-Thinker-Spadem-FFR-by-Alva-Studio

Reference List:

Adler, Mortimer Jerome, and Chares Lincoln Doren. How to Read a Book. New York, NY: Touchstone, 2011.

Bayard, Pierre. How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read. New York, NY: Bloomsbury USA, 2010.

Rowntree, Derek. Learn How to Study: Developing the Study Skills and Approaches to Learning That Will Help You Succeed in University: A Virtual Tutorial with Professor                    Derek Rowntree. Wappingers Falls, NY: Beekman Books, 1989.

About the Author

Lynda Gittens

11 responses to “Are you thinking what I am thinking?”

  1. Jim Sabella says:

    Good post Lynda! You ask the question, “How many ways can one think critically?” (i like the photo) That’s a good point. How many books are there on critical thinking and how many methods? Probably the same amount of books there are on leadership! Good point too about the exclusion of information. However, I do think that Paul’s and Elder’s inclusion of the traits set them apart from others. Enjoyed your post.

  2. Linda, good post. In a way, I think one of the baseline goals of critical thinking is to force us to do what you have done in this post: recognize the shortcomings and biases in our own thought process.

    Until we do that, we can’t really ever learn and grow past a certain point. The first step may be denial, but the second step is acknowledging that there is an issue – right?

    So, bottom line, it is good news that you have work to do – if you thought you were already perfect in your thinking, it would be a sure sign that you weren’t!

  3. Geoff Lee says:

    I like your picking up on integrity and empathy in the process of thinking. It is very important to try to allow for someone else’s point of view, to put yourself in their shoes, to listen to their arguments, and not to simply hold on to a point of view to “win the argument”. I am not always very good at this, but I want to get better!

  4. Stu Cocanougher says:

    The Criteria for Evaluating Reasoning which addressed the ideas of purpose, questioning, concepts, assumptions, inferences, a point of view, and implications.
    Thanks for highlighting this list. As I look through it, I can see why this will be valuable to us in the future. I have been so focused on the content of my research, that I have not taken much time to focus on the purpose. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Mary Walker says:

    Lynda, I picked up on that template for evaluating our reasoning as well. And I agree, it will be a very useful guideline for checking against our papers. I’m planning on using it and several of the other lists. As you pointed out, Rowntree also had some checklists. One that I copied and will put next to these is the one on pages 168-170 (Rowntree) – “Critiquing your essay”. It is a part of self-evaluation to know strengths and weaknesses. I tend to be hasty and so I think the templates will be a good check for me. Great post – I really enjoyed your evaluation!

  6. Yes Linda, I agree that preparation is key to a good research paper. Being able to research with a critical eye is essential to gaining a deeper level of understanding. Furthermore, it allows for the right questions to be asked and the content to be properly evaluated. Having a tool like the template is a great resource to follow.

  7. Cohorts,
    Thank you for your response. We all come away with a unique view of the book which initiated or fertilized our memories of experiences. This is a symptom of Critical Thinking?

  8. mm Katy Lines says:

    Lynda–
    I would hope that this reading inspires you rather than being discouraging. I imagine that Elder & Paul would suggest that one never completely “arrives” at Highest Order Thinking, as if it were a destination. Instead, we can continually process and challenge ourselves towards integrating its characteristics. And the reality is that some days we will be “on”, thinking and communicating clearly, and other days will just be rough. Some things we read we’ll reflect on fairly, while for other readings, we are biased. I would challenge that we are not able to dwell in the Highest Order Thinking all the time, due to circumstances (up with a sick child), mental state (am I tired?), or topic being reflected (calculus).

    • HI Katy,

      I am good. It was one of those situations where I initially said, “something else to learn or consider”. Sometimes in life we are given so many choices, opinions, etc. that we either acknowledge, accept, or reject. I working through it. I did enjoy the point of what I am critically thinking when reading applies to my readers also.
      I’m good

  9. Lynda, I think the fact that this is a “miniature” guide left us a bit short-changed on the precision and clarity portions of the Universal Intellectual Standards. 🙂 I found myself asking some of the questions listen on page 10 – Could you elaborate further? Could you give us an example? Could you be more specific? – in reference to the points the authors were trying to make. This is a handy guide to keep at hand when, as you say, we are evaluating research, but it doesn’t really elaborate much on the points, does it?

    • I took away this, have I covered enough questions about the subject I am writing on? Then I think did I cover too many questions? What is the balance? My challenge is – I know what I am thinking and think you do too, but many times the person I am communicating with doesn’t. So these points are a beginning. 🙂

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