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How Can Critical Thinking Benefits Education?

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If everything was based on rote learning we would have an easy time learning information, but also a very limited one- We would just repeat what has come before us, what was already known. This is a very limiting way to approach education and life.

Any decent education goes beyond this. We are expected to first learn information, then to do something with it. We need to understand that some information is flawed, and contradicts other information. And that even the right information is often incomplete. We need critical thinking to navigate the information we are given, to separate the good form the bad, and to develop the information into something that is useful and hopefully original.

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An essay that just repeats what has been taught will probably get a passing grade, but never anything beyond this. An essay that structures the taught information well and demonstrates a solid understanding will do a little better, but there is still potential for more beyond this. A great essay uses the taught information as the basis for developing something new.


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Critical thinking skills make all the difference for better essays and better grades. It does not have to follow a formula, but it probably includes:

– Gathering information
– Organising information
– Analysing information by breaking it down into parts and seeing how those parts are related.
– Evaluation Information – assessing quality and reliability of information. Defending or discrediting information.
– Connecting information together.
– Compiling Information – to see the overall structure or pattern, though we sometimes never have a totally complete pattern.
– Deriving new information or ideas from the information we have. We put facts together to come to conclusions. We find a solution to a problem with the information we have.

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Type of Critical thinking:

Convergent or Analytical thinking – bring facts together from various sources then applying logic to solve problems and make informed decisions.

Divergent thinking – Breaking ideas and concepts into component pieces to generate new ideas and solve problems.

Creative thinking – Generating new ideas from information that breaks from established conventions, theories and procedures. This does not create new facts, but uses the acquired facts in a new and original way.

Exams and essays tend to look at convergent thinking, because this can be objectively assessed. Creative thinking is more subjective, it is hard to say that one creative idea is better than another, but it can still be used to some extent if it contributes to an original essay.


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Education aims to develop the individual to their potential. This means encouraging critical thinking and creative solutions.

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