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Critical Thinking: tool for a concrete judgment.

Critical thinking could simply be defined as – evaluation of a problem to find the solutions
rationally but with novelty. It is what is applied to all forums despite of its nature of tasks and
execution, educational fields and employment settings. Preparing our students for future
employment, World Economic Forum has identified “Critical Thinking” as world’s important
dimension to promote futuristic learning and innovation. Hence it is mandatory to necessitate
the inclusion of this component.
The most challenging and debatable question in the present world is whether or not our
students are tuned to give logical judgments and critical solutions that are developed through
reasoned course of action. Quite contrary to what is expected the easiest way chosen by
students nowadays is to provide and subside for readily available solutions to problem
without scratching their creative minds. This could be either because of their inability or lack
of positive engagement to enable them to tap on their critical mind thus deterring them to
think of multiple solutions to arrive to a problem which is otherwise answered by them in a
singular pre existing manner.
All this makes the importance of brushing critical thinking component in the young mind
most vital. Fostering creativity, innovation, exploration can further lead to the nurturance of
critical thinking which can help them arrive at multiple solutions to the problem and then
evaluating while arriving at the best solution.
Many education institutions are constantly ensuring to brush upon this component by actively
engaging and encouraging students to think out of box, promoting and recognizing creativity
via projects and assignments tapping novelty. Recognizing the importance of the component
in employment world, higher education bodies are tuning the students and preparing them
well for futuristic job which involves the component of critical thinking along with leadership
skills, interpersonal skills with sound technical knowledge all making up to desirable
“Employability skills” looked by the employers during recruitment and promotion time
periods.
Why critical thinking is important?
APA defines critical thinking as- “ purposeful, self-regulatory judgment that uses cognitive
tools such as interpretation, analysis, evaluation, inference, and explanation of the evidential,
conceptual, methodological, or contextual considerations on which judgment is based.”

While we all agree that change is the only constant element of the world, it is not wrong to
say that with every minute change in the existing element new complexity arises and when
new complexity arises it is important to attend to it differently. If we were to attend to it in
the same manner then newness, creativity, exploration and innovation will be hindered. Thus
it is very important that we constantly switch directions, rethink and adopt creative problem
solving strategies to ensure that we enable divergent thinking to reach to convergent way of
reaching to solutions.
It is increasingly essential for Young minds who are also the future nation builders to explore
their creative minds and develop diverse strategies to apply new knowledge to current
complex situations of the world with the prerogative of coming to the finest of solutions.
Where knowledge institutions promotes critical thinking and suggests students to engage in
problem solving technology has massively created a constant stoppage by readily providing
the pre existing knowledge and solutions resisting students to think beyond the limits and
come up with novel ideas. While this seems to be challengeable issue, teachers in present
century are devising curriculums that promote critical thinking and are taking immeasurable
steps to prepare the futuristic nation builders to act purposefully. Not critical thinking is being
included in all courses where students are encouraged to use their problem solving ability to
identify, analyze, evaluate and derive solutions using their competencies. Teaching pedagogy
is now essentially incorporating it in the study plan through projects to ensure it gets
manifested in students while preparing them for professional world.
Following teaching strategies have been adopted to help promote critical thinking amongst
students:
1) Assessing the students on the basis of the learning outcome after every class either in
written or oral form so as to understand the extent of their learning and
comprehending the same in their own words.
2) Promoting group learning by presenting problems and helping them to argue ,
brainstorm and come out with multiple ways of arriving at solutions to the presented
problems.
3) Using the discussion oriented method students are encouraged to discuss and reach to
a potential viable solution of the case presented which is led by the student.
4) Utilizing peer group interaction to come up with innovative project inducing novelty,
team work and collaboration

Hence critical thinking is important in today’s world as it helps us in the process of reaching
conclusion. While it is important for all to harvest this trait to logically arrive at solutions
involving low to high risk matters.

Questions to reflect upon:
 Can students really benefit from strategies listed above to imbibe critical thinking?
 What are different unidentified errors that can bring inconsistencies in reasoning?

ADOPTION OF A NEW – AGE TRANSFER OF LEARNINGS

As India becomes the country with the world’s largest workforce in 2020, there is a need to implement a robust, well-developed and modern education system.  We know that the thinking and temperament of our current generation is rather different from what stems through a traditional system of education. Teaching through textbooks and knowledge that is classroom-confined are not acceptable by the current generation. In the next 20 years, an educational institution will be a very different place. The decision-makers and those who think about reforming education have already worked on new learning techniques and a pedagogy that focuses on liberal education and a multi-disciplinary approach to move away from traditional teaching that encourages only remaining confined within stifling boundaries.

Higher education in India has been regarded and appraised for its multi-disciplinary approach. The objective is to foster learning and growth amongst the student population so as to nurture its roots well. With a mission of adopting, adjusting and adapting, the education system is expected to move forward with an inclusive approach thus providing flexible boundaries, so as to ensure that the young minds be equipped with the sort of immunization that can help them deal easily with the world’s changing and progressive demands.

Teaching patterns have now become more structured than they were earlier. Rather than train students massively with a collective approach that negates individual needs, the education system today is expected to moderate and modify teaching methods to make it students-centric that will obviously aid all competency levels of students. Advanced teaching methods have enabled students to not only procure a degree in the respective area of choice but have also enabled them to earn credits in other areas of interest. Facilitators or teachers have now become far more compassionate and professionally trained to anticipate student-specific demands and concerns early enough to bring into existence changes in teaching patterns. Thus, adopting asymmetric teaching patterns makes learning more interactive and experientially relevant. Students have a chance to engage experientially and practice what they have learned.They are able to observe the application of the theoretical concepts in practice, process that application and make learning relevant.  Experiential learning provides a deeper understanding of subject matters, an ability to engage in a life-long learning and makes handling ambiguous situation critically and electively so much easier and effective.

Even breaking through the conventional means of evaluation and teaching methods, the unconventional system of grading, recurrent assessment through practical & internship, frequent professional visits and training session by experts has facilitated the practical shift of education system. The idea is to prepare them to become a professional right from the beginning and be intuitively close to the society they will be serving.

The base of the education system lies in the idea of providing sound and good quality education to the entire student population so as to produce excellence in professional and research fields and to ensure that the future nation-builders are enabled to contribute efficiently in sustainable growth of the world. Adding on to this is the report on Gross Enrolment Ratio which has seen steep increase from 20% to 24.5% in 2016.

The vision of Indian higher education system is to decrease disengagement and produces commitment and dedication toward careers so as to provide reciprocity in learning. Professionals who can help in nation building are what the new trends in education aim to create. Regardless of the challenges afore-mentioned, it is vital to look for solutions that can analyse the threads of disconnect by connecting threads by praising and communicating the efforts and methods of all institutes and colleges that have students claiming to benefit from these new forms of learning and engaged teaching. Institutes contributing to provide sound higher education need to join hands with all other institutes that think on similar dynamic lines and have a shared vision and mission to take education to new heights.

The challenge for liberal educators is to design learning environments and instruction so that students will be able to use what they learn in appropriate new contexts, that is, to enable a relevant and new-age transfer of learning.