Critical Thinking In University Education

Critical Thinking is not just a “nice to have” skill in the 21st century, it is essential.We live in an age where we have more information at our fingertips than ever before and more opportunity to communicate with people across the globe.But how to we discern what information is correct, relevant and unbiased?

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The challenge is identifying the best practices and incorporating them into the curriculum on a systematic basis.

Across most institutions, the majority of educators have not been formally trained in critical thinking, they do not know where critical thinking best fits into the curriculum or where to access quality educational resources and, as a result, they are not in the best position to teach others or to evaluate the most effective teaching models.

The good news is that there is substantial evidence showing that critical thinking can be improved with training.

Research also suggested that improving critical thinking ability has a knock-on effect in improving problem-solving ability, openness, creativity, organisation, planning and making the right choices in life.

Given our belief in the importance of critical thinking and our assumption that students learn it, I would argue that this debate is one of the most overlooked and misunderstood issues in higher education today.

As the name implies, GTS are those skills that supposedly transfer from one discipline to another.There is currently a gap in critical thinking teaching at schools and our ability to apply this skill at university or in the world of work.In a recent survey of organisations critical thinking/problem solving was identified as the top skills gap for job applicants.On the opposing side are specifists, or those who argue that “critical thinking …is always contextual and intimately tied to the particular subject matter with which one is concerned.” Thinking, in other words, is always about.How can schools give their students a competitive advantage in a tight job market?Educational institutions across the country are looking for solutions –new ways to teach critical thinking, measure student learning and demonstrate efficacy.Educational institutions, accrediting bodies, students and employers all agree: students need to develop better critical thinking skills.Modern-day access to instant answers means many of us are falling behind in our ability to ask the right questions or analyse the answers we get.The Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal measures critical thinking ability by assessing a person’s ability to look at a situation, understand it from multiple perspectives and effectively separate facts from opinions.This assessment is particularly suited to the recruitment of university graduates and managers and looks at comprehension, analysis and evaluation.

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