During my first semester of music school, I bought a pocket sized music dictionary that I carried around to help me understand music terminologies. I
thought carrying the dictionary would make me smarter not because I knew all the answers but I knew where to find most of them. Whenever I tell people that, I am in a graduate program, their level of expectation increases. They automatically think you should be the smartest person in the room and we often try to meet that expectation.
As I start this doctoral program, it is fair to suggest that I just found my new guide. Over the next three years, much needs to be developed as I think critically. “Humans have the capacity to be rational and fair. But this capacity must be developed. It will be significantly developed only if critical societies emerge.” It is clear that we must create what we envision and this book guides us through the thinking process.
“This miniature guide focuses on the essence of critical thinking concepts and tools distilled into pocket size.” As a student of life, the authors believe this book is the ideal supplement to help improve learning in any area. If the authors are correct, let me be the first to say that I feel smarter already. Although, it is our nature to think, this book suggests that we cannot be trusted to have quality thoughts unless it is systematically cultivated. Hence, “critical thinking is the art of analyzing and evaluating thinking with a view to improving it.” The goal of critical thinking is to improve our thinking through effective communication, open-mindedness and even asking vital questions for problem solving.
The church provides numerous opportunities to help with our critical thinking but I am sure life does as well. Let us look at the following scenario.
“Please pray for BJ who had abdominal surgery. The doctor said the IV was at D5RL and running at 100 cc/hr, but when they entered the room it stopped running. The doctor also noticed poor skin turgor and the IV started to hurt. Let us pray that God will have His way.”
I play the piano for two special services we hold each month for the elderly in our church and these are the testimonies they share. When I look around the room, I often feel stupid because everyone is nodding their heads in agreement. I am thinking, everyone knows BJ and an IV at D5RL sounds serious. Maybe everyone is a doctor or nurse and I am the only musician. The reality is that the only person who knew BJ was the person making the request. We do not know if BJ is male or female. What they really heard is that someone is sick and needs prayer. However, if you are like me, you need details. Elder calls this Precision so we are able to ask three quality questions: Could you be more specific? Could you give me more details? Could you be more exact? These are realistic questions as try to get an understanding of the situation.
It is possible that the elderly are not critical thinker or maybe they just like to pray. I once believed that critical thinking meant criticizing the situation but in reality, critical thinking intends to solve a problem. Elder wants us to solve problems and not limit ourselves to being an Unreflective Thinker (unaware of the problems with our thinking). The challenge is that critical thinkers are intellectual so it is difficult not to become judgmental in some scenarios. I believe I am somewhere close to being an Advanced Thinker (I generally practice critical thinking).
“Critical thinking is, in short, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking.” If we have to discipline ourselves to have intellectual humility, it is quite possible for us to have unfair expectations of those who are not critical thinkers.
Another area that affects people from being critical thinkers is that we teach asking critical questions shows a sign of defiance; people are trying to be submissive. However, in reading this book we find out that asking the right questions will allow us to find the solution to any problem. As critical thinkers, we have the ability to develop intellectual traits by applying intellectual standards to the elements of reasoning (19). I feel very critcal right now. Although, I have this pocket guide…I still have one question. Who is BJ?