As the result of the great progress in science especially, the pure and applied science and modern technology, there is necessity to teach the skills of critical thinking in our schools so, the research will discuss the definition, the importance through the theories of critical thinking.
I will try to talk about to what extent the hindrances of applying the skills of critical thinking in Egypt and how to overcome these problems. The research will offer how can we appreciate the value of critical thinking and how can we apply some skills to make use of its benefits.
Critical thinking means the ability of discrimination between assumptions and generalizations or between facts and claims or revised and unrevised knowledge .Critical thinking forms the mental processes and the strategies and the represents which people use in solving problems and in making decision and learning new concepts. Critical thinking is the ability to evaluate the validity, value and purity of things that may be information or mathematical sum; this means critical thinking is very accurate and objective. In other words it is the ability to give judgment only in case of completing evidences, also it is evaluating according to exact criteria. It is a mental process which includes a group of thinking skills that can be used individually or collective. There are some skills that can be as indicators for critical thinking for example, discrimination between facts which can be proved and making sure of its validity and self assumptions. The ability to differentiate between information and causes which related or do not related to the matter .Identifying the validity the knowledge source. Realize the assumption and mysteries arguments .Identifying the assumptions which are invisible or that are involved in the text. Investigating the bias or the prejudice .Realizing the logic fallacies.Realising the contrast or inconsistency in the reasoning process .Identifying the power of proof and the claim.
The critical thinking has become very necessary for preparing citizens who will face a lot of challenges next ages. Sometimes some people see the critical thinking in education not important. They can not understand that the pure and applied sciences for the people in recent world gift and require critical thinking. It is very important for the teachers to realize this fact and they should do their best to teach it for the pupils from their early ages .There is a strong relationship between the judge on the teachers and if they have the quality of critical thinking. It is required these days to increase the skills of crititical thinking for the teachers during their preparing in institutions and university. To grantee the improving of educational outcomes, it is very important for the teachers to use the models of divergent thinking during their lessons to lead their pupils to think critically .To my mind, I think the teachers who use the styles of divergent thinking is better than those who use the models of reporting and remembering in their teaching .In educational process when the speech of the teachers including higher cognitive processes ,the pupils, performance will be better in the tests of critical thinking .The critical thinking happens when the pupils form the meaning ,they will have to explain,analyse and process the information towards the problems so, the person should capture the following qualities to acquire the skills of critical thinking for example, the skills of concentration, collecting data, remembering,organizing,analysis,production and the integration. Teaching the skills of critical thinking in curriculum help the pupils to participate strongly in the processes of analysis and making assumptions and the activities of solving problems. The skill of critical thinking involves seven abilities, they are, Mathematical ,Verbal,Spatial,Kinetic ,Musical, intrapersonal and social.
Critical thinking means the ability to reflect judgment about what to think. It is good thinking almost the opposite of illogical; irrational thinking. Critical thinking is a part of creative thinking. People who think critically are usually in need to express about their observation, experience, verbal or written expressions or arguments. They have ability to think clearly and rationally. It is a kind of independency in thinking which leads to solve problems.
It is not necessary for pupils who think critically to have good memories and know lots of facts are good at critical thinking .Critical thinkers are able to deduce consequences through what they know and they are able to employ and make use the different information to solve problems and to seek relevant sources of information to inform themselves.
As I mentioned before the skill of critical thinking needs stimulation and motivation to encourage pupils to think critically-to my mind-that can be achieved through good curriculums, fit environment inside and outside school, skillful teachers, modern technology in teaching, making use of theories and educational researches and valuable methodology .Let's analyze these elements of success through the educational process in Schools in Egypt and how we can apply the skills of critical thinking in our schools but firstly there is an important question, what are the hindrances that block the skills of critical thinking in our schools.
First of all there are two ways of teaching that are applied in our schools the first one is what to think, the second one is how to think so, the teachers who teach pupils what to think they -in this way-stop the skill of critical thinking because they only deal with the first mental ability that is -according to Bloom's Taxonomy-knowledge, in other words they just deal with the skills of remembering and memorizing. Pupils in this way are deprived from the high order tasks that can lead them to higher abilities in Bloom's Taxonomy such as, comprehension, application, analysis and synthesis. These last stages of thinking can lead pupils to think critically that is because the aims,activities,exercises and Methods that can lead to interpreting,describing,organizing,application,analysis will lead to think critically then solving problems finally creativity that is our prize.
We need to establish a kind of independency in thinking which lead to solve problems. There is a fact that is not necessary for pupils who think critically to have a good memories and know a lot of facts are good thinkers and this is good indicator for the teachers to help most students to think in a critic way because critical thinkers are able to deduce consequences through what they know and they are able to employ and make use of information to solve problems and to seek the relevant sources of information to inform themselves.
One of the most difficult problems that challenge applying skills of critical thinking in Egypt that is the great attention in educational process centered around the final tests and how all the responsible in education system even parents prepare for the final exams nearly since the first day of school or before the beginning the school year .The only criteria of the success is only marks and scores in the final exams even the judgment of intelligence and the gifted by the result of the exams. Imagine that the most efforts how to remember exact information to answer only in the exams as the result the information may be evaporated easly.Although the tests are very important as they reflect and evaluate the performance in educational process, there are also other activities that can improve pupils, thinking skills. As a comment for this point teachers can apply questions that enable pupils to think. For example in Science, it is not necessary for the pupils to tell the same steps for special experiment they may be asked if they can do it in another way and that is I meant- by saying before,- what to think -how to think, in this way pupils will accustom to the particular types of questions that can lead to think critically.
Another important point that may steal chances the skills of critical thinking that is the time- the period -of the lesson. If there is no enough time to give pupils spaces to think ,it will be hard to deal with complex mental processes consequently ,the pupils may not produce different critical ideas .Although there are sufficient teachers and brilliant students in Egypt, organizing the time and its limited impose either teachers and students concentrate only on basic knowledge in curriculum so, the Ministry Of Education in Egypt has taken some decisions to improve different skills for example , building special classes for who are gifted, increasing subjects, additional tests, different competions,higher marks for the students who have ability to think well, different exhibitions for students who can introduce new ideas, clubs for sience,prizes ,evening classes and celebrations for who progressed. As these fantastic steps for encouraging pupils to do their best, there is a ghost is called final exam that can break previous efforts for example, a lot of students who share in some additional activities sometimes they do not continue because they feel that they will miss their lessons ,they and their parents think their additional reading may waste time they must save for the exams. Although the Ministry Of Education launched a lot of educational channels working twenty four hours also a lot of websites on the internet, in Egypt there nothing can substitute the teachers, explanations.
One of the most important things that can develop creativity and the skills of critical
Thinking is the curriculums. If the curriculums are designed to present vital and recent cases and applied fit conditions for good matters that will help students to think in critic way. In Egypt now there is a great leap in designing curriculums, they have become more stronger than the past ,especially the government provided schools with different modern technology for instance, there are a lot of computers, labs ,Media rooms and different educational devices all these tech. to serve curriculums but the problem that can obstruct critical thinking although the curriculums give chances to scope students' mind, most students hardly to read another kinds of books except school books that is because most of them study two periods a day approximately from eight o, clock in the morning to seven in the evening may more than this so, there is no enough time to read more .I think the period of semesters are too long for the pupils to feel excited for reading .To solve this problem, there is an exciting program in Egypt is called reading for all this program is held each year in summer and there are books in all fields of knowledge , the books sometimes free or in very cheap prices but the children prefer to enjoy plying and fun because they have just little time to play and have fun.
Another serious case the speed development in technology affected on two ways, the first one is the pupils sit in front of computers and use the different sets to play, chatting, listening to music and watching movies for a long time though the using of these technology is very beneficial to develop the skills of thinking generally, it can also obstruct their studies. The second effect is for parents to get these technologies, it is much cost that leads them to work more than usual consequently parents stay long time outside houses so, children miss important source of information that lead them sometimes to depend on their limit experience in their study or ask someone else who may be useless. In this way most pupils can not improve their critical side.
One of exciting factors that can obstruct creativity in education is poverty, there are a lot of gifted and intelligent pupils have to work or do not finish their studies because of money, these pupils might have been great people in the future if they had completed their studies .Malnutrition is playing a role in lessen the ability of thinking .Pollution also affects negatively on thinking-scientists said that-heavy and poison components that resulted in pollution surround the brain and form a layer that causes a kind of mental disability.Niosy plays a role in dispersal thinking ,the schools and houses that are located in crowded places suffer from noisy and the pupils can not concentrate well.
Teachers and parents must aware of the importance of critical thinking and they must realize why they have to encourage the critical thinking and what the reasons that can make them do their best to overcome the previous problems. Critical thinking is important in extending the arguments in different cases, to generate the pupils ideas .Critical thinking enables pupils to work cooperatively especially in reasoning and constructive tasks. It helps pupils to acquire knowledge, improve their own understanding. It enhances educational processes. It helps in solving problems. It is very important in the new knowledge. It enables pupils to deal with changes quickly and effectively. It makes pupils, are flexible. It acquires pupils' intellectual skills and ability to analyze recent information. It improves and supports language and the presentation skills. It improves the way of pupils, discussion and expression especially their express about their ideas. It improves abilities of comprehension. It helps pupils to analyze the texts logically. It leads to creativity , it is not essential to get new ideas but to evaluate these ideas and how to select the best ones particularly which related to the task at hand .Critical thinking is very important factor to justify and reflect our values and decisions. It enables pupils to apply it in daily life .It enables pupils to be self evaluation. It makes pupils have careful reflections on the good principals of reasoning and make a conscious effort to internalize them. It is an important tool that can lead to meta-cognition and Meta- thinking skills.
The question now is what implication for teaching, in the research, I will try to concentrate on the important skills that fit our educational system and suitable for the problems that mentioned before, the first one is implicating the critical reading, in this method , the best tow methods that enable us to encourage critical reading is to including use Media in the class for example, newspapers , ,magazines and advertisement these things can help pupils to develop the skill of critical listening and reading. The second one is literature -it is said- the most powerful tool for teaching thinking that is because it gives the pupils chances than any other part in curriculum in evaluating the ideas, values and ethical questions, it makes the pupils interact with the book. The second skill is writing, The best method is to present in two steps , the first is called ,first-order and second-order thinking, in the first method , it is a kind of free writing, unplanned and free association type of heuristic writing that is for helping pupils to discover which topic they think. One of the benefits of this method, it makes pupils produce inner concepts. The second order is very necessary that follow-up of free writing to give them chances for logic and control. The third step is classification games .It is very important because it helps pupils to think logically and understand abstract concepts .This skill requires the identification for attributes and keeping into forms that is according to specific rules. Classify concrete objects is an appropriate activity for children also the verbal analogies are fit to a learner of any age. Application to a wide variety of environmental objects must be followed. Actually it is very appropriate to the special subjects like Math, science and inquiry approach to science but it is quite hard to apply in subject like social studies.
One of the most effective approaches in teaching critical thinking is the approach of brain storming especially it will help the pupils to access their prior knowledge about the topic they read so, classify and retain the new information.
There are several skills that teachers and parents should do to support pupils to be critical thinkers. The pupils should understand the logical connections between ideas .They should identify, construct and evaluate arguments. They should detect consistencies and common mistakes in reasoning. They should solve problems systematically. They should identify the relevance and importance of the ideas. They should be able to reflect on justification of one's own beliefs and value,
Finally, teaching skills of critical thinking in our schools has become necessary. To challenge the rapid development in our modern world, pupils should be rich in critical thinking. As the essay offers the definition of critical thinking, there are a lot of mental processes that depend on how to scope minds of pupils. Teachers should have the skill of critical thinking to be able to improve the pupils' abilities to think logically. It is argued that there are a lot of problems that face the application of critical thinking .Researches should find more solutions and new strategies to facility teaching critical thinking because it is the way to creativity. Creativity that we need to produce generations, they will be able to cope with the civilsations, conflict.