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Critical Thinking Skills


are important for life - clear thinking, decision-making and personal growth. How do we construct robust arguments, and destruct shoddy reasoning? Critcal thinking skills provide the tools for us.

Uses of Critical Thinking Skills in Education


We are presented with all manner of texts (images, music, and character-based), and present all manner of texts - we need effective tools to read, analyse, and critique those texts. Critical Thinking Skills provide those tools by allowing us to examine a contention/proposition/thesis, identify and evaluate the reasons and evidence underlying the contention, and evaluate rebuttals and their evidence as well.
A mastery of these skills also provides a deeper understanding of planning for our own presentation of contentions.

A very rewarding train of research and software development is argument mapping - a way of providing visual representations of the structure of argument. The original impetus for this comes from Stephen Toulmin, The Uses of Argument (1958). For a sophisticated mapping of the topic "Can Computers Think", see here.

Recently much of this work has been built into various software packages, many open source, some commercial. Worthy of special note are the resources gathered and presented on austhink.

What Critical Thinking Does for Students


The assimilation of critical thinking skills allows students to become independent thinkers, and so achieve one of the key aims of liberal education.

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