Dewey (1910: 68–71; 1933: 91–94) takes as paradigms of reflective thinking three class papers of students in which they describe their thinking.The examples range from the everyday to the scientific.“Critical thinkers” have the dispositions and abilities that lead them to think critically when appropriate.
For details on this history, see the Supplement on History.
Before considering the definition of critical thinking, it will be helpful to have in mind some examples of critical thinking, as well as some examples of kinds of thinking that would apparently not count as critical thinking.
(Dewey 1910: 6; 1933: 9) and identified a habit of such consideration with a scientific attitude of mind.
His lengthy quotations of Francis Bacon, John Locke, and John Stuart Mill indicate that he was not the first person to propose development of a scientific attitude of mind as an educational goal.
Standardized tests have been developed to assess the degree to which a person possesses such dispositions and abilities.
Educational intervention has been shown experimentally to improve them, particularly when it includes dialogue, anchored instruction, and mentoring.
My mind went back to the subway express as quicker than the elevated; furthermore, I remembered that it went nearer than the elevated to the part of 124th Street I wished to reach, so that time would be saved at the end of the journey.
I concluded in favor of the subway, and reached my destination by one o’clock.” (Dewey 1910: 68-69; 1933: 91-92) : “Projecting nearly horizontally from the upper deck of the ferryboat on which I daily cross the river is a long white pole, having a gilded ball at its tip.
Bloom’s influential taxonomy of cognitive educational objectives (Bloom et al. Ennis (1962) proposed 12 aspects of critical thinking as a basis for research on the teaching and evaluation of critical thinking ability.
Since 1980, an annual international conference in California on critical thinking and educational reform has attracted tens of thousands of educators from all levels of education and from many parts of the world.