Critical thinking is a rich concept that has been developing throughout the past 2,500 years. In this article, we will offer a few definitions of critical thinking which together form a trans-disciplinary conception of this term.
Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, and evaluating information gathered from observation, experience or communication in order to form a judgment. It is crucial to emphasize that the development of critical thinking is a life-long process, and that it cannot be learned in a day.
Critical thinking can be seen as having two components:
1) a set of information and belief generating and processing skills
2) the habit, based on intellectual commitment, of using those skills to guide behavior.
Because of that, every good critical thinker should be able to think open-mindedly, to recognise ”fake news”, to communicate effectively with others and to provide solutions to complex problems.
Critical thinking is, in short, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It is a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism, and that is why critical thinking is one of the most important skills education should focus on to prepare students for the jobs of today and tomorrow, as well as for life in general.
One problem we have is that our education systems are not designed to actively develop critical thinking skills, and that is why the CrAL project is just the thing we need. The aim of the project is to enhance critical thinking and media literacy among young people between 14-19 years old, parents, and educational staff which will contribute to provide young people with the tools they need to understand the world they live in, stimulate their critical thinking and sense of responsibility, and help them realise the power of their voice.