Term of Art: Critical Thinking

critical thinking: The trained ability to think clearly and dispassionately. Critical thinking is logical thinking based on sound evidence, involving the ability to gather and and analyze information and solve problems; it is the opposite of biased, sloppy thinking. A critical thinker can accurately and fairly explain a point of view that he or she does not agree with. Critical thinking requires close attention to facts, evidence, knowledge, and how knowledge is used, particularly in situations in which the facts are in conflict or the evidence permits more than one interpretation. This kind of reasoning is especially relevant for democratic life. Critics of the term think that educators have turned it into an empty cliche, since there is a tendency to refer to any sort of thinking as critical thinking.”

Excerpted from: Ravitch, Diane. EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2007.

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