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Week 1: Critical Thinking – Your Virtual Tinfoil hat!
Why Critical Thinking?
Like a lot of people, I get inundated with a wide variety of scary things on the internet. You can’t be too careful these days.
It pays to take precautions.
Change your passwords often (don’t use Passw0rd), block anyone who doesn’t agree with you on Facebook, and type at least one sentence in all capitals at least once a day.
It pays to be safe from those who are trying to sell you their stuff, or force their thoughts down your brain! Most importantly – wear your tinfoil hat! It keeps your brain safe!
Now, you may think that the above is very sound, sage advice, but, what if I could tell you that there is something better than your trusty tinfoil hat to keep you safe in today’s world, both online, and offline? A virtual tinfoil hat if you will, that you have with you always, and never need take off.
Critical thinking is your sure-fire way to be sure that your chances of being cheated out of time, money, experience, or whatever is important to you, is diminished.
Critical Thinking – Your Virtual Tinfoil hat!
It is a phrase that is bandied about quite a lot, and you can find a myriad of books on the topic, lots of websites, blogs, and opinions on it. Such as this one you are reading now.
What I am talking to you about now, represents an opinion, not a fact – though sometimes both opinions and facts can get a bit mixed up in common narrative, law-making, and inside our heads.
Our approach to Critical thinking skills takes the viewpoint that it is a skill, and should be learned, practiced, and mastered over time. Reading a book, or taking a day, week, month long, or year long, course on the topic won’t help you over time. That is why this approach is designed to keep it short and simple, and give you specific topics to think about each week, every week, and only asks you to be aware of what is covered as you go about your daily life.
I encourage you to virtually venture out, participate in any blogs, Facebook groups, or discussions on these topics to help you grow, and help others, but it isn’t required.
Is it as easy as 1,2,3?
Simple, straightforward answer. You can now take my word for it and skip forward to the next page.
Another simple, straightforward answer. You can now take my word for it and skip forward to the next page.
Frustrating isn’t it?
The truth is, that like all skills, it can take time, patience and practice to get good at it.
If you think of the sort of person who makes decisions for a job, they need to often get it right. If not all of the time, then most of the time. A lot of the time, the skills they are relying on to make decisions are based on their base learning. For example, if someone is a ship’s captain, and needs to make a judgement call on landing at port during a rough sea or not, they may call on their years of experience; memories of similar situations; get as much data as possible from the Harbour Master, radar, lookouts etc. before deciding to make an attempt or not.
If the captain is familiar with the port, and knows the currents and local tides, he or she may decide to make an attempt. They are then using their existing local knowledge to make the judgement call. If they are entering a new port, – or perhaps even a familiar port with a new vessel, they may decide to hold off and attempt it later.
In fact, if you fancy using shipping as an extreme example, many of the groundings, collisions or worse that get reported take place in ‘familiar’ areas .
What tends to happen in most professions is that we are taught to think like that profession. We are not thought Critical Thinking.
You can be forgiven if you have in the past attended courses on Critical thinking as part of your core course material to assume that you have a good knowledge and understanding of it. If this is you, then you may find some of the concepts to come familiar. I hope that you will find the approach we take to this will be refreshing.
If you have never taken a course, or a module in Critical Thinking, this is a good one to start with.
But, IS it Easy? Yes, yes it is – in some situations.