Critical Thinking Characteristics and Enhancing Personal Learning

Critical Thinking Characteristics and Enhancing Personal Learning
Essay 1:
Identifies examples of critical thinking
Identifies aspects of critical thinking utilized
APA format and under 300

Essay 2:
Identifies predominant personal learning style
Discusses strategies for study based on the predominant learning style
APA format & under 300

This assignment contains activities to help you understand the role of critical thinking.
1. Review the critical thinking characteristics outlined in the module. Identify a character in a film or television show that uses critical thinking. Give examples of critical thinking characteristics. Identify key aspects of critical thinking characteristic found in the character’s thought process. Write a short essay (no more than 300 words) about your findings in APA format including citation of sources.

2. Use the Learning Style Survey from Odessa College attached in files to identify your predominant learning style and strategies which will enhance your style. Discuss in essay form (no more than 300 words) in APA format, how you will personally use these strategies to enhance your learning while progressing through your program.
Learning Styles
In order to learn effectively and to learn to think critically, it is important to identify how you learn. While you are studying in the nursing curriculum, you will be presented with a great deal of information. It is important for you to recognize your learning style and to recognize what motivates you to learn. This will enhance your ability to use content information effectively. It will become your frame of reference for critical thinking. Two important factors determine whether you can improve your ability to think and learn. You must:
1. Believe in your ability to be a good thinker and learner.
2. Be willing to work at strategies that can help you think and learn more efficiently in your own way.
It is very important in the beginning of the learning process to know how you learn most effectively. Do you learn more effectively with a hands-on approach, do you need to observe first and read later? Is it easier for you to remember what you read if you listen to someone else read it first? People often exhibit traits from two or more styles. It is important to identify your style and those strategies which will enhance that style of learning. In your activities for this lesson, you will identify your predominant learning style and strategies which will enhance your style. Are you visual, kinesthetic, auditory, or combinations of these? What’s your thinking style? How you were raised and the culture you grew up with also has a great impact on how you think.
Personality Styles
Our individual personalities affect how we learn. It is important for you to have an understanding of your personality, especially during the process of critical thinking, because it provides an understanding of how you make decisions (remember the characteristics of critical thinkers). Individual personalities determine what information will become important and remembered, how decisions are made, and why you think the way you do. Examples of personality indicators include the Jung/Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Hartman Personality Profile and the Keirsey Temperament Sorter.
While identifying your learning and personality styles, remember:
• No one style is the correct style.
• All styles have positive and what you may consider not so positive aspects.
• Recognize how to use these styles in order to enhance your learning. You need to be honest with yourself.
• Consider what areas need to be enhanced.
• Consider what areas need to be redirected.

Factors Affecting Critical Thinking
Critical thinking can be influenced by personal as well as situational factors. These factors may enhance or impede the process, and some factors may do both.
Factors Usually Enhancing Critical Thinking Factors Usually Impeding Critical Thinking
Personal Factors Personal Factors
• Moral development
• Age (older)
• Self-confidence *
• Emotional intelligence
• Knowledge of problem solving, decision making, and research principles
• Effective communication and interpersonal skills
• Habitual early evaluation
• Past experience, upbringing, culture *
• Effective writing skills
• Effective reading and learning skills • Dislikes, prejudices, biases
• Lack of self-confidence
• Poor communication skills
• Limited early evaluation
• Limited knowledge of problem solving, decision making, and research principles
• Poor writing skills
• Poor reading and learning skills
Situational Factors Situational Factors
• Adequate knowledge or related factors
• Awareness of resources
• Awareness of risks *
• Positive reinforcement
• Presence of motivating factors • Anxiety, stress, or fatigue
• Evaluative or judgmental styles
• Lack of motivation
• Limited knowledge of related factors
• Lack of awareness of resources
• Time limitations *
• Environmental distractions
Adapted from Rosalinda Alfaro-LeFevre (2004).
*These factors may enhance critical thinking or impede it and are situational in that regard.

Barriers to critical thinking include:
• Self Focusing
• Mine-Is-Better
• Tunnel Vision
• Choosing-Only-One
• Face-Saving
• Resistance-to-Change
• Conformity
• Stereotyping
• Self-Deception


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