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Critical thinking and reading



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As you probably already know, effective readers read critically.

As a critical thinker, you evaluate the information or

evidence the writer presents.

Huh? What does that all mean?

Don't you just need to understand what you read?

What do you have to do to read critically?

Have I been reading critically?

Stick around and let's talk about thinking,

writing,and reading critically.

[Critical Thinking and Reading]

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Hi, welcome to Snap Language. I'm Marc Franco.

I can imagine a caveman,

thousands and thousands of years ago,

admiring a cave painting... "Mmm... pretty."

And another caveman saying, "Ugh! It's so derivative..."

At that moment... critical thinking was born,

and humanity has never been the same.

So, what is critical thinking?

Dictionary.com defines it as "disciplined thinking

that is clear, rational,

open-minded, and informed by evidence."

[befuddled] What?!?

Daniel Willingham states that critical thinking involves

three types of thinking: "reasoning, making judgments,

and problem solving."

Richard Paul and Linda Elder define critical thinking as

"the art of analyzing and evaluating thinking with

a view of improving it."

Critical thinkers raise questions and problems;

gather and assess relevant information;

come up with well-reasoned conclusions and solutions;

keep an open mind and challenge

preconceived ideas;

and are self-directed,

self-disciplined,

self-monitored,

and self-corrective.

Okay... all that sounds good... So, critical thinking

has to do with rational thinking...

evaluating information...

For me, critical thinking has to do with

not simply accepting someone else's ideas

(not even your own).

First, evaluate them. You ask questions.

If an idea makes sense... Great!

Otherwise, you reject it,

and you can even explain why you rejected it.

Then you replace that idea with even better ideas.

When you write, for example, you want to have

a good understanding of the topic you're writing about.

Depending on the purpose of your writing,

you make sure you have accurate, relevant information,

and you present it in a way that makes sense to the reader.

And how does that apply to reading?

Well, when we read, we almost intuitively

know when something does or does not hold water.

We say, "This is a good article!" or "Mmm... I don't buy it."

But intuition can only take you so far.

We need to follow certain steps to evaluate the information

systematically.

As you evaluate someone else's thinking

(even your own thinking),

you want to examine the information carefully

and ask questions.

What evidence do they use to support to their ideas?

What information do they perhaps leave out

so they wouldn't contradict their own position?

Are the conclusions based on facts or opinions?

Are the facts relevant and accurate?

Are the opinions justifiable?

Are there logical flaws or fallacies?

Phew! That's a lot of complex thinking!

You can think of this as "Critical thinking is hard..."

or you can think of it as "Wow! Isn't it amazing

how human beings are capable of such complex thoughts?"

It takes practice so, if it seems daunting,

do not freak out!

The more you apply these aspects of critical thinking

(while you think, read, and write),

the easier it gets until it becomes

second-nature to you.

[snap]

In the next few videos, we'll be talking about

reading skills... well... more like thinking skills

that you can apply to reading so you can read more deeply.

We'll look at things like distinguishing fact and opinion,

analyzing the argument,

detecting the author's biases,

detecting logical fallacies,

and so forth...

So, stay tuned for more and subscribe to Snap Language

so you don't miss any new videos.

And until the next time,

thanks for stopping by and watching this video.

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