Skill in Thinking: Most challenged thinkers have very limited skills in thinking.
However like unreflective thinkers, they may have developed a variety of skills in thinking without being aware of them, and these skills may (ironically) serve as barriers to development.
Prejudices and misconceptions often undermine the quality of thought of the unreflective thinker.
Some Implications for Instruction: We must recognize that in the present mode of instruction it is perfectly possible for students to graduate from high school, or even college, and still be largely unreflective thinkers.
Skill in Thinking: Unreflective thinkers may have developed a variety of skills in thinking without being aware of them.
However, these skills are inconsistently applied because of the lack of self-monitoring of thought.
Unreflective thinkers lack the ability to explicitly assess their thinking and improve it thereby.
Knowledge of Thinking: Unreflective thinkers lack the knowledge that high quality thinking requires regular practice in taking thinking apart, accurately assessing it, and actively improving it.
We make the following assumptions: (1) that there are predictable stages through which every person who develops as a critical thinker passes, (2) that passage from one stage to the next is dependent upon a necessary level of commitment on the part of an individual to develop as a critical thinker, is not automatic, and is unlikely to take place “subconsciously,” (3) that success in instruction is deeply connected to the intellectual quality of student learning, and (4) that regression is possible in development.
It is important to recognize that on this view, persons are critical thinkers, in the fullest sense of the term, only if they display this ability and disposition in all, or most, of the dimensions of their lives (e.g.