Modern day society has put strong restraints on critical thinking development in many areas including the educational world and work force. To begin the discussion on critical thinking and the resolutions, we must first figure out why it is such a sought after attribute. Does this skill set always make the best and hardest worker? Is it something a company or college needs to recruit for? It is not necessarily the case that a highly educated person will carry this skill set into the business world.
A student may perform unbelievable on an ACT or SAT test but it is important to be careful and consider what this implies. These tests are based off of memorized information. There are several reasons for the overall different levels of critical thinking skills in employees in the business and education sector and it is related to standardized tests, courses taken and personality of students. Before even diving into large amounts of data and research papers, there is a common belief that education level and critical thinking have a direct correlation.
Before reading many resources, I believed this to be nonfictional myself. However, there is a growing concern with the way students are taught and the effects it will have with critical thinking skill development. Starting as early as high school, students are put through a rigorous outline of information in what are called Standards of Learning (SOL’s). These standards can be both good and bad for students. They are taught the necessities that it outlines but are limited in the other facets of education. Teaching is not just done with a chalkboard and group work and projects are limited by these SOL’s.
Teachers are limited in what they can teach because they have to stick to these SOL’s and time is of essence to meet the rigorous requirements. Fast forward to the end of the academic year and students understanding of the data required for the SOL’s will directly correlate to higher grade point averages. According to a study performed by Borg and Stranahan, there is little to no correlation to GPA scores and critical thinking skills. Now if you continue this trend, the higher GPA students will go on to colleges of their choosing and eventually into the work force.
I believe this is a root cause for the lack or delay of critical skill development later on. Many people choose the majors in college that are most appealing or will allow them to find superior employment afterwards. However, there is evidence regarding critical thinking abilities and course work taken. Borg and Stranahan found a correlation between a basic economic course at a university and a higher level in critical thinking gained after the course. I think that there is much to be said regarding this information. The course work had a lot of group work and electronic discussion group projects.
This supports my idea that there is a drastic improvement in critical thinking skills with group work starting in a secondary public school. The levels of critical thinking could reach a higher threshold if it is implemented at an earlier age. And again continuing this trend, it could greatly increases the abilities of the entry level worker. When we look at a student in an undergraduate degree, some safe stereotypes we can place on them is they are young and full of energy and proud of where they are attending college.
I am guilty of the same infractions. Other than that we have no safe bets because we are all different and come from different places and lifestyles. One thing that concerns me about the entry level workforce is the way the personalities have developed. There seems to be a large portion that have not developed cognitive skills and are just full of useless trivial information. This could potentially lead to conflict at work and at home. Lacking of the group work and projects can increase the gap between information and viewpoints.
This failure occurs because of their inability to separate facts from opinions, examine an issue from different perspectives, make rational inferences, withhold personal biases, question information given to them, go beyond surface meaning to discover the deep meaning, etc. ” (Nazmi Al-Shalabi, page 41). The business sector could be shaken if we cannot mainstream some more ways to teach critical thinking to students. I do not believe my findings are an accurate description of the entire workforce.
There are plenty of highly educated individuals that are highly capable of being placed in critical thinking situations and excel. However, I do believe the numbers will continue to skew and support my opinions if we continue down this path. There are many ways to implement and increase critical thinking skills, but the first step is for us to recognize that there is truly an issue. If we cannot make minor changes to the education system, increase course requirements with group work projects, and alter the strong personalities of entry level workers, we could be in trouble my friends.