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Mini-Module: Critical Thinking

What is Critical Thinking?

Skills for Learning LogoWhat is Critical Thinking? Page 2 of 6

Critical thinking helps you to build up the confidence you need to have your own opinions. It is a big part of higher education and one of the main differences between universities and schools. 





What is critical thinking? What's it for? How is it different from normal thinking? The video below answers these and other questions. 

Watch the video. and get ready to answer some questions about it.


Questions about the video




Deep versus Surface

Critical thinking is deeper than everyday thinking. This is because spend all day thinking deeply would be impractical and is not necessary. Imagine trying to drive a car like this - you wouldn't get very far!

But, some situations do need deeper thinking.


So, how critical a thinker are you? Answer these three questions and see if you are on the way. 

N.B. Most people get all of them wrong - so don't feel bad if you do! 


So, how did you do?

Most people do badly. The questions look easy, but if you read them with close attention - more than people usually do in their daily lives - you have a better chance of getting them right. 

Kahneman (2011) argues that there are two ways of thinking, System 1 and System 2. 

“System 1” thinking is quick. It is the kind of thinking people do when they are not really concentrating. It is like autopilot or cruise control. It is what we spend most of our lives doing. 

“System 2” thinking is slower and more logical. You usually can’t do it quickly. You are consciously paying attention, concentrating and working through a task.