Knowledge Update

Critical Thinking as a tool for Self Discovery in the 21st Century

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As one of the greatest challenges in life is discovering oneself, the labour market has passed the era of paper qualifications to the era of critical thinkers who can use logical reasoning and critical thinking skills to contribute to the growth and development of their organizations. Critical thinking refers to an ability to analyze information, determine the relevance of information gathered and interpret the information in solving problems (Gagné, 1988). It requires high-level thinking, analysis, evaluation, reasonableness and reflection (Jeevanantham, 2005). As future intellectual capital, university students must develop strategic thought and problem-solving skills, as this is what companies look for when recruiting new employees. Unfortunately, previous surveys and news reports have shown that the majority of university graduates are still deficient in this skill. According to a study by Manpower Group (2012) employers are dissatisfied with graduates' problem-solving skills and willingness to cope with uncertainty or confusion. 

If this dilemma is not resolved, the number of unemployed graduates will rise to an alarming rate in the nearest future and this can be reduced to the barest minimum through the teaching of logical critical thinking. For example, in the classroom, teaching and learning processes that prioritize rote learning and are too dependent on content allow students to memorize rather than interpret and analyze the actual interpretation of the information. Since they lack a thorough comprehension of the material covered, they are unable to think objectively and solve complex problems (Shakir, 2009).

However, they claimed that when assigned a challenging mission with little time and with unknown people, their emotions clouded their judgment. In other words, they are uncomfortable discussing with new people and work excellently under time constraints, their capacity to make effective judgment can suffer, leading to tension at work. Students must be well educated to interact with a variety of individuals and cope with unpredictability (such as time constraints) in the real world. These skills are important for future career.

In view of the above issues, Skyline University Nigeria mandates critical logical thinking as a core course for all its students to churn out skilled and value-based graduates. It also encourages all its lecturers to provide clear instruction and conduct interesting activities in the class to influence students’ logical thinking processes. Instead of concentrating on rote learning, the university's lecturers prioritized offering students practical challenging task and assignments that enable them to think critically.

Finally, students must concentrate in class by comprehending the subject matter so that they can do well in tests, exams, and deliver high-quality assignments. Other activities such as co-curriculum, training and camp, related to critical logical thinking and problem-solving skill should be promoted. This will aid students in solving social, political and entrepreneurship problems and enable them to work in a competitive environment where the application of critical thinking is of great importance. As one of the greatest challenges in life is discovering oneself.

References 

Gagné, R. (1988). Some reflections on thinking skills. Instructional Science, 17(4), 387-390.

Jeevanantham, L. S. (2005). Why teach critical thinking? Africa education review, 2(1), 118-129. (2012). 2012 Talent shortage survey

http://www.manpowergroup.us/campaigns/talentshortage2012/pdf/2012_Talent_Shortage_Survey_Results_US_FINALFINAL.pydf 

Shakir, R. (2009). Soft skills at the Malaysian institutes of higher learning. Asia Pacific Educ. Rev., 10, 309-315.

 

Mr. Saheed Tunde Zubair is a Lecturer II at the Department of Computer Science, School of Sciences and Information Technology in Skyline University Nigeria. He had obtained his B.Eng. in Computer Engineering and M.Engr. in Communication Engineering both from Bayero University Kano.

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