Furthermore, critical thinking, because it involves our working out afresh our own thinking on a subject, and because our own thinking is always a unique product of our self-structured experience, ideas, and reasoning, is intrinsically a new "creation", a new "making", a new set of cognitive and affective structures of some kind.If we are trying to foster quality thinking, we don't want students simply to assert things; we want them to try to reason things out on the basis of evidence and good reasons.Often, teachers are unclear about this basic difference.For example, one of the major programs asks teachers to encourage students to make inferences and use analogies, but is silent about how to teach students to assess the inferences they make and the strengths and weaknesses of the analogies they use. The idea is not to help students to make more inferences but to make sound ones, not to help students to come up with more analogies but with more useful and insightful ones. The State Department in Hawaii has just such a long-term, quality, critical thinking program (see "mentor program"). In addition, the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking Instruction is focused precisely on the articulation of standards for thinking.I am hopeful that eventually, through efforts such as these, we can move from the superficial to the substantial in fostering quality student thinking.In this interview for Think magazine (April ’’92), Richard Paul provides a quick overview of critical thinking and the issues surrounding it: defining it, common mistakes in assessing it, its relation to communication skills, self-esteem, collaborative learning, motivation, curiosity, job skills for the future, national standards, and assessment strategies.Paul: First, since critical thinking can be defined in a number of different ways consistent with each other, we should not put a lot of weight on any one definition. With this qualification in mind, here is a bit of scaffolding: critical thinking is thinking about your thinking while you’re thinking in order to make your thinking better.The making, shaping, testing, structuring, solving, and communicating are not different activities of a fragmented mind but the same seamless whole viewed from different perspectives.Paul: Some communication is surface communication, trivial communication--surface and trivial communication don't really require education.(See "The assessing teachers and testers did not notice that the student failed to respond to the directions, did not support his judgment with reasons and evidence, did not consider possible criteria on which to base his judgment, did not analyze the subject in the light of the criteria, and did not select evidence that clearly supported his judgment.Instead the student: The assessing teachers were apparently not clear enough about the nature of evaluative reasoning or the basic notions of criteria, evidence, reasons, and well-supported judgment to notice the discrepancy.