Critical thinking plays a vital role in an individual’s learning process. This is an active process that involves examining different situations without bias, evaluating consequences of a decision, and eventually making a rational conclusion (Ellis, 1997). Before one agrees with an idea, questions ought to be asked about it, a thorough analysis be done and possibilities be exposed. In critical thinking, everything is taken as an assumption. In effect, critical thinkers believe that applying a critical thinking analysis is able to help in coming up with the comprehensive truth of situations. Critical thinking also seeks to find out differences between truths and fallacies.
Critical thinkers try to be resourceful by using creative options that will help in coming up with the most effective option. The application of creativity in critical thinking is essential in keeping flawed human thinking in check. Ellis (1997) writes that brainstorming is one of the techniques that help in critically analyzing a situation before making a conclusive decision. It helps in coming up with as many solutions as possible for that situation. Some of the solutions may at first look foolish, but analyzing them leads to making a sober choice. It is important to look into all the solutions written down and question them.
Critical thinkers have distinct qualities that make them stand out. These qualities help them in their main mission of finding the truth in a given situation. In this case, the first quality is acceptance. This makes them always accept all other opinions that may sometimes be against their thinking. To find the truth, they are all the time guided by the evidence. Another important quality that distinguishes a critical thinker from a non-critical thinker is the open-mindedness. A thinker values the diversified opinions of different individuals. They therefore see to it that they do not give opinions that appear biased. Due to this, they are able to make better choices than non-critical thinkers who only rely on their own opinions. The final quality is analytical ability. This helps a critical thinker in formulating a possible outcome that may arise when an opinion is adopted. This comes from the hunger for more information. With these qualities, a critical thinker is able to apply this technique to find the most effective option.
To acquire the above qualities, a person should be willing to admit lack of knowledge in a given situation. This allows one to get more opinions and ideas that add into the knowledge. Being quick to criticize is also not a positive path towards being a critical thinker especially when the critics are negative. This is only possible if one recognizes the differences that exist in every individual. In fact, no one is the same as the other. Questioning is also an important aspect of being a critical thinker. This is the real art of thinking critically. It widens the understanding of an individual to be able to make rational choices.
Finally, it should be noted that learning entails acquiring knowledge of new things. Critical thinking is very essential to this process because it opens one’s scope of understanding. Learning and critical thinking processes both require finding new ideas, analyzing them and eventually drawing comprehensive conclusions out of them. It should also be noted that in learning, observations are made, questions are asked, and evidence is unraveled to come up with concrete points. Critical thinking helps in opening the mind to this fact. It therefore greatly contributes to the learning process (Ellis, 1997). Thinking critically helps to build relativism in learners. The learner is able to develop the analysis out of the opinions from the others. By doing this, reasoning plays a major role in coming up with conclusions rather than engagements in negative criticism (Kurfiss, 1988). This means that when people are reasoning they are not offering negative options, instead they are searching for options that will build the conclusion.