Picture of Barry Boyd
Week 1 Assignment
by Barry Boyd - Sunday, January 31, 2016, 2:12 PM

My name is Barry Boyd and I teach leadership theory and applied ethics at Texas A&M University.  My purpose for taking this class is to first improve my critical thinking skills and secondly, to better teach this important skills set to my students. It is obvious from their ethics assignments that their depth of thinking is very shallow and that they mostly settle for the most obvious answer.


b. What is critical thinking?  Critical thinking is disciplined thinking. Critical thinkers examine their biases and assumptions. They examine the information they use in making decisions in terms of its accuracy, relevancy to the problem, and completeness.


c. While Paul and Elder’s guides are how I developed by concept of critical thinking, I can see that it will be much more complex that what I have been trying to teach.


Think for Yourself: 1-4

Critique Your Thinking


Consider your thinking in these domains of your life: at work, in personal relationships, in sports, in dealing with others of your gender, in dealing with the opposite sex, as a reader, as a writer, in planning your life, in dealing with your emotions, in figuring out complex situations.  Complete these statements:


Right now, I believe my thinking across all domains of my life is of higher than average quality.  I based this judgment on my decisions vs. my observations of others’ decisions.


  1. In the following areas, I think very well:

      a) logical, data-based reasoning

      b) assessing the arguments of others

      c) ethical/moral reasoning

            d) applying old concepts in new ways (seeing new/additional uses for old ideas/concepts)

  1. In the following areas, my thinking is OK, not great, but not terrible either:

      a) identifying the implications of decisions in fields in which I’m not an expert

      b) planning out an activity to its end. 

  1. In the following areas, my thinking is probably of low quality:

      a) in the area of financial matters (makes my head hurt just to think about it)

      b) thinking about the long-term future

      c) original, new, creative thought

Picture of Paul Bankes
Re: Week 1 Assignment
by Paul Bankes - Tuesday, February 2, 2016, 5:44 PM

Thanks for the post.  Paulian Critical thinking is a simple structure on the one hand, and very complex requiring a lifetime of work on the other.   The key is to continually progress.  Do a few things and do them well and build upon that over time. 


I hope what you learn in this course will be applicable to your classroom for the benefit of students.