Monday, April 15, 2013

Why Should We Care About Critical Thinking? Does It Really Matter?


Hassaan Chaudhary
       
     One of the great benefits you can get from Phi Theta Kappa is that you are given this golden opportunity to attend their annual conferences. PTK usually conducts three fabulous events during the year where a lot of workshops are organized for the students. The primary goal for these workshops is to enhance students’ skills and expertise and to applaud their efforts and hard work that they have done in their campuses throughout the period. On March 1, we went to Tarrytown, NY to attend PTK Regional Conference. A slew of chapters from different colleges were there to represent their respective chapters. As expected, many workshops (including communication, team-building, networking) were also conducted for the participants where they learnt about different techniques on how to improve themselves as a student.

            I opted to go to the ‘Critical Thinking’ workshop. The main reason I chose to attend this workshop because I always wanted to participate in intellectual discussions. Such topics open your mind and compel you to see the world from a different perspective. While we just sat on our chairs, the moderator entered into the room and asked us to give him a brief introduction about ourselves. After the introduction part, the group began to discuss about the topic in great detail. Here are some key points that I learned from the workshop:

            Critical thinking is defined as reasonable, reflective, responsible, and skillful thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or do. It’s akin to analytical thinking. This type of thinking takes problems apart radically and down to their roots, in order to solve the problems. A person who thinks critically can ask appropriate questions, gather relevant information, efficiently and creatively sort through this information, reason logically from this information, and come to reliable and trustworthy conclusions about the world that enable one to live and act successfully in it.

            It is also the process of thinking as an individual, of thinking rationally. More specifically, it is the process of thinking used commonly by educated people. But you don't have to be educated to use it. You can learn critical thinking as a separate skill. However, education results in people arriving at a way of dealing with questions and issues that we call critical thinking.
             I have to concede that the discussion was profound. It was an invaluable experience that I gained during the conference. The sudden influx of great ideas from different students really surprised me. I simply wouldn’t be honest here if I say that I didn’t enjoy the workshop. In fact, the whole trip was a memorable one. Perhaps, these are the perks you get when you’re a PTK member. Overall, it was the extremely satisfying performance by our group as we grabbed six awards at the conference that really made the conference fun. We were elated mainly because we spent a lot of time on Honors in Action (HIA) and College Projects and our hard work paid off. I’m really grateful to PTK who gave me a platform to prove my abilities and this unique opportunity to attend this conference. 

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