Home > First Year Experience > Online Success Skills Shop > Critical Thinking
Printer Friendly Version


So often we all go through life not questioning.  Think about the following statements:

  • Might makes Right.
  • Parents know best.
  • The customer is always right.
  • Government will take care of us.
  • Teachers know all the answers.
  • If something costs more, it must be better quality.
  • If it’s on the news, it must be true.
  • If it’s in my textbook, it must be true.
  • It must be good (true) if everyone is buying it (believes it).
  • Everything was better/safer/more moral/etc. in the good old days.
  • Science doesn’t change.

Now, think about the following questions:

  • Do you purchase more than you need?
  • Do you purchase things you do not need and/or cannot afford?
  • Do you compare yourself to models and actors in magazines and on TV/Movies?
  • Do you base your political decisions (e.g. votes, beliefs) on what your news commentators say/On what the candidates tell you/On what your friends say?
  • Do you compare your looks, your job, your life, and your life satisfaction to others?
  • Critical thinking is learned, not inherent.  To be as successful as possible academically and in making important life decisions, one needs to be able to think critically.  When we are aware that we can choose and direct our thinking, we have the ability to better control the circumstances of our lives.

With our world changing more rapidly than ever before in history due to innovations in technology and medicine, as well as upsets in economic markets and political stability, employers need employees with critical thinking skills.  In fact, the majority of employers surveyed by The Association of American Colleges and Universities want educators to do a better job of teaching ethical decision-making skills (Raising the Bar, 2010).

Critical thinkers are better able to sort out the massive amount of information that we receive from the media, work, school, and from others, and keep a clear head.  Critical thinkers are better able to control their personal biases and emotion when considering information and are less likely to fall for scams.  Critical thinkers are also better problem solvers and more likely to determine the quickest solution to a problem.  Critical thinkers are highly coveted by employers!(What Are the Benefits of Critical Thinking Skills?, 2011).

The goal of this module is to point out how we can easily be misled by the media, authority figures and organizations, and our own failures to think critically about what we see, read, and are told.  It is not that authority figures are not right, that your text book is not correct, or that the media is not delivering honest information.  However, failure to think for ourselves to judge the correctness of what we are told, see, and read – and whether it is correct for us – is a disservice to our own mind and prohibits us from making the best decisions for ourselves.

         Upon completing the Critical Thinking module you will be able to:

  • understand how the media can mislead us and why we need to critically examine marketing campaigns and ads;
  • think about what artists say about society, the media, and the individual and decide what you think about how others should affect your thoughts and decisions;
  • make better decisions for your own life regarding purchases, politics, and how you feel about the world and your place in it.

 

   

1)  What Is Critical Thinking?  It’s not so much the ‘what’ as the ‘why.’  Always ask the question(s)!

View this Prezi on Critical Thinking:

 

Watch this critical thinking video: 

2)  Be Skeptical and Curious!

Watch this critical thinking video:  

3)  Media Distortions: Do you agree, disagree; confused; or do you just find him funny?

Watch this video on media bias:  

4)  Can You Believe Your Eyes?  What is real?

Watch the following video on extreme photo retouching and reflect on what it means to you:  

5)  Self-image

Watch the videos below, then:  

1) Draw yourself; 2) Draw yourself as you would like to be; Think:  Why the difference?  Think about it…. 

Killing us Softly4:  

The Perfect Lie: 

6)  What does it matter?

Watch the videos below and reflect on the ideas of good and evil.  Why do we do what we do?

The Colbert Report – interview with Philip Zimbardo - click on link:

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/149094/february-11-2008/philip-zimbardo


Philip Zimbardo – The Lucifier Effect:  

7)  Learn about and use deductive and inductive reasoning – the sensible way to make sense of the world and make decisions…

 

  

Assignment 1)  Discover what ‘they’ mean and what ‘you’ think:

Using both the song quote below and a song of your own choosing, write a paragraph on what you believe the artists are talking about.

Step 1: Look up the song and examine the lyrics quoted below in the context of the song.  Think about what the artist was trying to say.

Step 2: Write a paragraph on each song lyric (the one assigned and the one you choose).  Be sure to identify the song title and the artist or group of each.

Step 3: Access Your eFolioWorld Account @ https://login.efolioworld.com/Login.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2fOwner%2fAdminUI.aspx&ui=mouse

Step 4: Create a New Content-Basic and call it "Critical Thinking in Music."

Step 5: In the Basic Content box, briefly answer these questions for each song lyric provided:

  • What do you think about these lyrics?
  • What do you believe the song writer was saying/thinking?
  • Do you agree or disagree with the song writer?  Both?  Explain
  • If you could add a line to the song, what would it be?

NOTE:  There are not right or wrong answers – just your answers!

Step 6: Drag and drop your "CRITICAL THINKING IN MUSIC" Basic Content onto your GROWTH page.

Lyrics for assignment:

1)   “And when you trust your television
What you get is what you got
Cause when they own the information, oh
They can bend it all they want” - From, Waiting On The World To Change - John Mayer

2)  Lyrics of your own choosing (be sure to cite song title and artist(s)

Assignment 2)  What is your body image?  Why?  Think about it, look back on your body imagine drawings and write one paragraph on what you believe about body image after watching the videos under Modules 4 & 5.

Assignment 3)  In a paragraph, tell what you believe about good and evil.  Are people inherently good or evil?  What makes people do good; what makes people do evil?

Assignment 4)  Answer this question in a couple sentences:  What is the difference between Inductive and Deductive Reasoning?

Assignment 5)  After watching the videos above under Module Content, write one page on how you specifically can do a better job of thinking critically regarding.

  • Your purchasing decisions;
  • Your voting decisions;
  • Your body image beliefs; and
  • Your decisions on what to think, what to believe, and how to make major life decisions.

 


Media Links in Order of Viewing:

Page last updated: January 2, 2012