By Jasmine Bradley
CCC Journalism Program
CAMDEN – A critical thinking workshop took place at noon Dec. 3 on the Camden campus of Camden County College.
Critical thinking is a mode of thinking about any subject, content or problem in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully taking charge of each step in the process of thinking and the conclusions reached as a result of that thinking, according to the Foundation for Critical Thinking, http://www.criticalthinking.org, whose information was presented at the workshop.
The essentials of a critical thinker require an extended period of development, said workshop presenter Ellen Davis. Development in thinking requires a gradual process requiring plateaus of learning and just plain hard work.
“It takes time to be a critical thinker. People don’t just wake up and be a critical thinker. It’s a process,” Davis said. People don’t want to take the steps to become a critical thinker; they think it will just happen over night. “Critical thinking requires us to do some things and look at things differently,” Davis said.
Davis also projected a slide saying “critical thinking is unlikely to take place in the absence of a conscious commitment to learn.”
People tend to zoom right by things and can sometimes miss the things that are very important. They have to take a look at their problems much closer and think much deeper. “Stop, take time and break stuff down,” Davis said.
Davis also presented an equation, E+R=O, in which E represents the event, R represents the reaction/response and O represents the outcome. An example is if you have a big project, you worked very hard on it but you still get a bad grade. You should stop, sit back and take a look at the things you did wrong the first time and do things differently the next time so you will get a better outcome. This can be an ongoing cycle that can be repeated until you are satisfied with what you have done.
The workshop also focused on self-reflection and the importance of putting the time and energy into getting things done.
Critical thinking can happen anywhere but it usually happens when people are by themselves and their brain thereby allows them to think critically without distractions.
“Too often … we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought,” President John F. Kennedy said.