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Academic Leadership Journal

Abstract

Critical thought has been taught to students in varying degrees over the years, but employers believe that critical thinking skills are still lacking in employees (Braun 2004). Some of the barriers between employer expectations and academia concerning critical thought arise from a lack of congruity regarding the meaning of critical thought. However, nearly all researchers agree teaching critical thinking skills is a desirable aim of education (Hemming, 2000). According to Cheung (2002), critical thinking covers four dimensions: (1) cognitive, (2) motivational, (3) ideological, and (4) behavioral. However, other definitions of critical thought range from critical thinking originating from the left hemisphere of the brain to critical thinking involving higher level thought (University of Phoenix 2007). Cognitive theorists also believe logic skills are not attainable until age six or seven (University of Phoenix 2007). Piaget (2007) stated cognitive development theory is comprised of four stages: (1) sensorimotor stage, (2) pre-operational stage, (3) concrete operational stage, and (4) formal operations stage. According to Piaget (2007), higher level thinking is attained at level four; however, according to Riegel (2007), higher level thinking is not attainable at stage four, and he has “postulated a fifth stage called Dialectical Reasoning” (para. 10-11). Critical thinking skills are critical for analytics due to the increasing amount of information dispersed to individuals and analyzing the credibility of the data. According to Lunney (2003), individuals have difficulty analyzing data, because critical thinking abilities vary from high to low; however, Lunney (2003) believes critical thinking skills can be learned through further education. The following further analyzes critical thinking definitions as critical thinking relates to education and how the analysis of critical thinking relates to thinking critically and further developing metacognitive awareness.

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