“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.” Martin Luther King Jr.
So what is “critical thinking?”
There are a vast multitude of definitions for the term and most of these incorporate problem solving techniques as well. For the sake of brevity and also to help you avoid being literally put to sleep with long-winded and often repetitive definitions, we will refer to our own very concise definition.
Critical thinking can be precisely described by the following statement: Think it through.
When dealing with any situation, problem, issue, or decision that has to be made – you can only reach a rational conclusion or logical decision by thinking it through. This process is ongoing from the very beginning when the situation or issue in question first arises and needs to be dealt with in the most intelligent way possible. On the surface the concept of thinking it through sounds ridiculously simple to many, but please keep in mind that it demands an increasingly rare and valuable commodity to be simultaneously unleashed at the same time to achieve the highest level of success.
The processes of critical thinking and independent thought are incredibly important concepts to consider. They are virtually one in the same. The very existence of one demands the existence of the other. It is impossible for one to thrive without the other thriving as well. Critical thinking – thinking it through – independent thought – are absolutely crucial concepts to achieve and retain in every stage of an individual’s career path. The significance of truly understanding and attaining these qualities cannot be overstated or exaggerated. They are that important to a person’s ultimate success in all phases of life.
Critical thinking involves thinking outside-the-box – devising innovative strategies, ideas, inventions, and methods that are so different and so cutting-edge in every respect – that their cumulative contribution to mankind can never be adequately measured in real time. Critical thought – independent thought – can only realize its full potential in an open environment free from the constraints of restricted speech and censorship.
Question: Who exactly is educating our children in the areas of critical thinking and independent thought?
Answer: Usually not our school systems. Definitely not our colleges and universities in the vast majority of cases. Never merely assume or even remotely count on our revered institutions of higher education to instruct our children in these vitally important qualities. It will not happen.
“Even Ivy League degrees have become mostly empty brand names, like Gucci or Versace, that convey status but hardly guarantee that graduates are knowledgeable or inductive thinkers.” Victor Davis Hanson of the Hoover Institute at Stanford