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Critical Thinking Tutorial: The Big Picture

This tutorial will empower you with valuable critical thinking skills that are essential for your university education.

Comprehension and Interpretation of Information

Richard Feynman famously stated, "If you want to learn something well, explain it; if you want to master something, teach it." This concept gave rise to the Feynman Technique, considered by many to be the most effective approach to learning. At its core, the Feynman technique emphasizes the importance of breaking down complex or abstract ideas by rephrasing them, eliminating jargon, and expressing them in simple terms that even a child can understand.

Before you begin, consider how a strategy like the Feynman technique might help you understand a complex concept well enough so you can explain it to someone else.

For example, what would it take to explain these abstract ideas in more simple terms, to a friend or even a child?

Etymology / Abnegation / Demagogue / Paleontology / Algorithm

Or, more nuanced ideas like

Love and Hate / Nurture and Nature / Truth and Fallacy / Integrity and Deceit

At university, you will encounter many new, complex and abstract terms, even conflicting ideas where both sides of the same argument seem plausible enough to believe and understand. Assessments will often hinge on your ability to interpret these abstract concepts.

While breaking down or rephrasing the above terms is not important for now, ask yourself what strategies you might use to (1) thoroughly comprehend the information, ensuring you understand it well enough to explain it, and (2) critically interpret the information, ensuring you comprehend the writer's perspective, the evidence being presented or the conclusions being drawn.

Interactive Video

In this video, Marc Franco describes how critical thinking relates to reading comprehension, a process that involves questioning, assessing information, reaching well-reasoned conclusions, challenging preconceived ideas, and being self-directed and self-corrective.

Watch attentively and respond to the questions to test your understanding. You cannot skip ahead, but you can watch at 1.5 times the speed  and rewind in ten-second intervals , if needed.

Source: Critical thinking and reading by Marc Franco and Snap Language on YouTube