We acknowledge that the University of Saskatchewan is located on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis. We pay our respect to the First Nations and Métis ancestors of this place and reaffirm our relationship with one another.
Critical Thinking - What is it? Why is it important?
Critical thinking is an essential academic skill fundamental to your success in university. Not only will your work be assessed based on your ability to think critically in your courses, but honing this skill will be beneficial in all areas of life. As a university student, you have the exciting opportunity to build upon your existing knowledge, ask thought-provoking questions, challenge your own assumptions and the beliefs of others, and make well-informed decisions. By cultivating this skill, you will become more aware of groupthink and the dangers of blindly accepting authority. As a critical thinker, you will approach learning with a healthy dose of skepticism, carefully examining assumptions, questioning reasoning, and uncovering hidden biases.
There are many definitions of critical thinking but for the purpose of improving your ability to learn in university, we will consider critical thinking as "clear, reasonable, reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do. It means asking probing questions like “How do we know?” or “Is this true in every case or just in this instance?” It involves being skeptical and challenging assumptions rather than simply memorizing facts or blindly accepting what you hear or read"(1).
This tutorial will help you develop your critical thinking skills and improve your ability to learn at university. By completing the activities in each module, you should be able to
Interpret what it means to think critically and identify why critical thinking is foundational for learning.
Analyze how information is understood by adopting a methodical approach to clarify your thinking.
Develop a convincing argumentby determining the 'validity' and 'accuracy' of an argument.
Explain the common problems with reasoning by identifying common fallacies and biases.
Use critical thinking skills to demonstrate how information is disseminated and/or misrepresented.
Reflect on the information presented by expressing relevance to self and adaptation to a broader context.
Each module takes 30 - 40 minutes and can be completed independently of each other. Enjoy your learning journey!
Self-Assessment - Keeping a Learning Journal
At the end of each module, you will have an opportunity to reflect on the information presented by keeping a learning journal. Engaging in this self-assessment process is important because it allows you to go beyond surface-level understanding and truly grasp the significance and applicability of the information. Keeping a learning journal allows you to track your progress, note key insights, capture connections between new material and existing knowledge, expand your perspectives, and develop valuable critical thinking skills. Reflecting regularly and honestly will ultimately empower you to become an active learner who can effectively apply knowledge, make informed decisions, and contribute meaningfully to your personal growth and the world around you.
The tutorial includes embedded documents and links to websites and materials. If you use any of the information, please ensure to comply with the terms and conditions of use imposed by the owners or licensees of those materials.