Paul and Elder critical thinkingThe Elements of Thought and Intellectual Standards are the basics for the Paul and Elder critical thinking model. Choose three of each (the Elements of Thought and...

Paul and Elder critical thinking

The Elements of Thought and Intellectual Standards are the basics for the Paul and Elder critical thinking model. Choose three of each (the Elements of Thought and Intellectual Standards) and explain why you think they are integral to the critical thinking process.

4 Answers

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marbar57 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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I personally like the Intellectual Traits branch of the Paul and Elder Critical Thinking Model.  My favorite three are:  Perseverance, Integrity, and Humility

Perseverance is the ability to stick to something and see it through to the end.  When a person develops this attribute, they become better critical thinkers because they push themselves to think deeper, longer, and stronger.  Integrity is the attribute of doing something even when someone isn't looking.  It's a type of honesty and truthfulness that we must possess to be a better person.  As applied to critical thinking--we have to think for ourselves even when no one else is around.  Humility is the attribute of modesty and submission.  It is a strong virtue and serves us well as critical thinkers.  If we can't reason something out ourselves, we often turn to others to get their views on a subject.  Their input adds greatly to ours, many times being the final push for an answer. 

When discussing the Elements of Thought (Reasoning), my three favorite items are:  Points of View, Inferences, and Assumptions

People's Points of View add greatly to critical thinking as they add to and enrich our minds.  They give us a broader perspective and enable us to "see the whole picture" about a subject.  Inferences are suggestive phrases or words that point others towards an idea or subject in a subtle way, without coming right out and saying it.  They are the gentle nudge in the direction of a thought.  Many times an idea will "pop" into someone's mind simply by the off-handed suggestion of someone else!  Assumptions are things that are logical and practical--sort of "taken for granted."  They aid in the critical thinking process because they are the "givens" that give stability and foundation to all the other steps of the thinking process.  Another comparison would be to building blocks. 


kplhardison's profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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One of the most interesting--and in some ways most difficult--Elements of Thought (Reasoning) is Point of View. As Paul and Elder say, "all reasoning is done from some point of view." The tricky part is that, at times, when applying the Questions to figure something out, solve something, etc., there is no guarantee that the appropriate, most successful point of view is one's own point of view. There are times when Critical Reasoning requires one attempt to take on another person's point of view (as seasoned parents and teachers may well attest) in order to understand concepts and ideas and to make inferences and form interpretations etc.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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For me, I think humility has to be the most important element in the critical thinking process, as a truly humble person will never be so arrogant as to believe that their conclusions are infallible and cannot be doubted or gainsaid. The humble critical thinker will always be open to the possibility that their conclusions could be erroneous in some ways.

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I personally like the concept of intellectual standards. Accuracy, fairness, and clarity particularly speak to me. You cannot just accept what you read or what you are told at face value. You have an obligation to make sure that you think through the content.