Today, I started an online course called Critical Thinking in Global Challenges taught by Professors Mayank Dutia and Celine Caquineau from the University of Edinburgh. I have always been curious and eager to learn about how to develop critical thinking in young adults and leaders. After listening to the lectures and going through the assigned homeworks, I find myself reflecting on recent events where critical thinking have been necessary. In this highly complex times we live in, critical thinking “is the ability to gather and assess information in a logical, balanced, and reflective way, to be able to reach conclusion that are justified by reasonable argument”.
As a young parent, I try to be reflective and open about different situations and experiences particularly those that involve childrearing, and other new “exciting” (a.k.a. scary/outside my comfort zone) experiences like transitioning from daycare to preschool, going on playdates, what sport/instrument to introduce first, etc. What does critical thinking have to do with that…you may wonder. I think any issue that tugs into our emotional heartstrings requires us to pause, reflect and critically think and parenting is definitely high on the list. To avoid going too quickly up the Ladder of Inference, or jump to conclusions, we need to think through and understand the issues we are faced with in a logical and rational manner despite situations that are deeply personal.
We live in a very fast paced and information-laden world, where our needs, wants and desires have changed at a colossal speed. At the same time, we are facing some of the greatest global challenges like climate change, public health, global peace and order, sustainable energy, and socioeconomic gap to name a few. Like parenting, being an educator requires one to practice critical thinking skills inside and outside the confines of what know and are comfortable to be “true”. How can we teach and foster these skills in our homes, in our classrooms and in our workplaces? How do we develop individuals to become reflective and critical thinkers and practitioners? I hope that by the conclusion of this class, I would have learned ways to better reflect on my own opinions, test assumptions, identify premises and reasoning, build more solid arguments and formulate better conclusions.