What is Critical Thinking and How Do I Use It?

What is Critical Thinking and How Do I Use It?

Author: Soma Jurgensen

Access resources that will help you use and teach critical thinking.

Teachers talk about it. Employers talk about it. What is critical thinking anyway? How do I develop it if it's so important? This tutorial will gather some resources for both learners and educators to begin answering this question.

Dictionary.reference.com defines critical thinking as follows:


disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence

Let's discover the application of this definition together.

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Center for Critical Thinking

Did you know there are groups of people that do nothing but study critical thinking and how it can be learned and taught?


The Center for Critical Thinking works under the auspices of the Foundation For Critical Thinking, an educational non-profit organization, to promote essential change in education and society through the cultivation of fairminded critical thinking.



Critical thinking is essential if we are to get to the root of our problems and develop reasonable solutions. After all, the quality of everything we do is determined by the quality of our thinking.

Whereas society commonly promotes values laden with superficial, immediate "benefits," critical thinking cultivates substance and true intellectual discipline.  It entails rigorous self-reflection and openmindedness — the keys to significant changes.   Critical thinking requires the cultivation of core intellectual virtues such as intellectual humility, perseverance, integrity, and responsibility. Nothing of real value comes easily.  A rich intellectual environment — alive with curious and determined students — is possible only with critical thinking at the foundation of the educational process.

Visit this website for resources geared to learners and educators at the high school and university levels.



Agile Thinkers Get Things Done

This site, http://www.agilecriticalthinking.com/Home.aspx takes the theory of critical thinking and puts it to use. After just a few minutes I'm already addicted to the blog. Here are some snippets from the site.


What Is Agile Critical Thinking?



Become a Better Thinker and Decision-Maker


Agile Critical ThinkingTM  is a simple but powerful framework for applying critical thinking to business situations. It's one of the most important things you can do for your personal success. Why? Because better decisions lead to better choices and that makes a big difference to you personally and professionally.


This site is a "must bookmark" for managers and employees alike.


It's no accident that Agile Critical Thinking can be abbreviated as ACT. In business, critical thinking should always result in action (or occasionally in a decision not to act).

Three Elements

There are three essential elements to the Agile Critical Thinking process:

  • Assess the Situation
  • Consider the Evidence
  • Take Action


Are you a critical thinker?

Although this video gives a very visual and emotional definition of critical and non-critical thinkers, don't forget to apply your critical thinking to the way it's put together.

Critical Thinking Education Can Begin at Any Age

The Critical Thinking Company (although a commercial site) offers a long list of free resources to develop critical thinking throughout elementary education.


Mission Statement  

The Critical Thinking Co.™ is committed to developing children's critical thinking skills for better grades, higher test scores, and success in life. We do not teach through drill and memorization or teach to the tests—we empower the mind!

Visit their site and take advantage of helpful resources.


Critical Thinking: The #1 Workplace Skill

Review this white paper from Pearson Education on the definition of critical thinking and how it is used and needed in the workplace.

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The Business Case for Critical Thinking

Why should businesses screen for critical thinkers? Regardless of the industry you'll be entering it's important to know and communication how your critical thinking skills can benefit your employer.

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