The essay is about the significance of critical thinking in tertiary education. Critical thinking is important in tertiary education for students to get good marks, not depend too much on the textbooks and teachers, enhance knowledge skills and be efficient enough in challenging, evaluating and changing the structure of the society. Students in the tertiary section of education need to have the sufficient skills in interpreting, reasoning and analyzing.
Critical thinking is the term referred to the ability to of thinking logically and clearly. It involves thorough observation on the principles of sensible thinking and making it a habit to apply them in the daily life. It is not as easy as it requires careful and diligent practice. This essential skill is something that is lacking in most of the students going for tertiary education. It has been caused because of overlooking this necessary skill in the elementary, middle or high school level. These are lacking among the students not only in practice but also in concept. So it becomes a problem for these students in the higher education and corporate level (Arnett, 2014).
1.Critical thinking is a process that includes several steps. It is an agile and cognitive process where an individual will perceive, apprehend and scrutinize a phenomenon and try to mix it with their relevant understanding. It is applicable in various kinds of learning situations like, writing, reading and discussing. An individual will become an adept in the art of critical thinking only when he will have the characteristics like, open- mindedness, interrogating, honest, analytical, compassionate and judicial. Critical thinking has different variations as put forward by some authors. According to Robert Ennis, critical thinking is reasonable, reflective thinking that is focused on thinking what to believe or do. Matthew Lipman defined that critical thinking is skillful, responsible thinking, relies on criteria, and is self correcting. Richard Paul said that critical thinking is thinking about thinking, while thinking in order to make thinking better. All the definitions appropriately reflect on the aspect of what critical thinking actually is. Critical thinking is far different than normal thinking (O'Flaherty & Phillips, 2015). It is the process of thinking about own thinking. It involves standards and measures to think accurately or inaccurately. Relevant or irrelevant evidence or somewhere in between those two, can be used. Actually critical thinking is to think about the real problems. The essence of critical thinking is best understood when real problems and actual questions are concerned rather than fake ones (Fairclough, 2014). It involves thinking or doing what is actually believed. Critical thinking not only involves asking questions but also believing in the total sense.
2.Tertiary education is very important when it comes to referring the national agendas. It has become more important due to the increasing recognition where tertiary education plays an important role in the financial competency in the rapid increasing global economy. The motto of the countries is to increase their employability in order to remain in the run of ever increasing global competition of research and to modify the spread of knowledge for the advantage of the society. Tertiary education has four important missions which contribute to the economic and social development- forming human capital, creating firm base for knowledge, utilizing and spreading knowledge and maintaining that knowledge (Savery, 2015). There has been a significant change in the opportunity and usefulness of tertiary education. Around forty years ago, tertiary education was known as higher education, used to happen in universities. This huge arena of teaching and learning required sufficient rational and theoretical skills in the area of science, humanities and social science. Students were prepared for entrance to a minimum amount of profession like law, engineering and medical and other fields of scholarship and research. But in the recent days, tertiary education has evolved to much more diversified fields like, colleges, universities, polytechnics and technological institutes. These innovations are created for developing a bond between the educational institutes and the external world which will cater to the needs of the labor markets, upgrade the social and geographical accessibility to the tertiary education, offer high quality professional preparation in a more practical and less theoretical way and give space to the increasing diversity of demand and qualification of the students (Goetsch & Davis, 2014).
3.The art of calculation is one of the major tools in critical thinking which is used in the field of tertiary education to cope up with the survival challenges. People faced decision making skills which included reasoning, logical thinking, evaluating, understanding and interpreting information. The process of tertiary education involves critical thinking as it would enable an individual to take decision with reliability and validity, act ethically and have an ability to adapt to any change in the environment (Johnson et al., 2015). The complex process of critical thinking involves rational skills and emotional disposition which has affected the teachers to impart knowledge and concepts to the students. It might be difficult for some teachers to inculcate the concept into their teaching so that it allows the students to learn about critical thinking and it becomes difficult for them to analyze the concept and they perform below the average level. This process of thinking requires an individual’s effort to evaluate, analyze, collect and interpret information to arrive at a valid, reliable and authentic inference (Kong, 2014). Critical thinking should be positively integrated in the course curriculum to teach students the required skills and its application in the practical field for improving the reasoning ability and performance. If it is on the part of the teachers to inject critical thinking on tertiary education, then more courses should be allocated in the courses of the teacher education which will make it easy for the students to understand the subject. It is an energetic process of to encourage the students to perform better in their schools (Nicol, Thomson & Breslin, 2014).
4.Tertiary education has an important part to play for an individual both in his student life and when he grows up to be a part of the society in which he lives. It can be considered as the key factor in the development of a student as an individual for a better life time. The society is also benefitted from tertiary education institutions or TEI as they get such individuals who help in the contribution towards society (Dwyer, Hogan & Stewart, 2014). It is not possible for a school student to get the experience of life. When they are admitted to college, they get separated from their family life which makes them independent and they learn to be on their own. In the tenure of their college years, if they possess the right attitude of learning and studying properly, then they have ample amount of scope. Reading numerous books and attending the important lectures of experts can help them gain knowledge. College life is also that phase which teaches students the lessons of life. They get the scope to discover and seek new things about themselves as well as about the world. Having extra skills in addition to the college degree will help a student to become more competitive in the job market. It is a well known fact that people, who know more, earn more. Therefore, it is said that people with good educational background and a high earning jobs tend to live a better life as compared to others (Kirkwood & Price, 2014).
So it can be concluded that the skill of critical thinking is tremendously important with the diversification of classes and global course curriculum. The importance of critical thinking must be taught to the students by the teachers in such a way that they do not find it incomprehensible. They can offer activities on active learning to guide students about the importance of critical thinking. They need to practice how to identify problems and categorize the information for taking intelligent decisions. One of the remarkable goals is to transfer these skills from one class to another. It is not an easy activity as it requires constant observation, comprehension, examination and application of the theoretical situation in the practical field.
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