This summary is based on Allen’s chapter ‘Smart Thinking’ in his book ‘Smart Thinking: Skills for Critical Understanding and Writing’ (1997). The main focus of this chapter is ‘Smart thinking” Allen attempts to provide the reader with an explanation on how to hone the skill of thinking and how it is beneficial to the student by breaking down what it actually consists of rather than just telling students to think critically.
Allen explanation of smart thinking first addresses what is Smart thinking and how it can help you.
Smart thinking is not something we are born knowing how to do it is actually a skill and lecturers often encourage students to think critically or logically without actually teaching students what is actually required of them. In order for students to successfully communicate their ideas and convince their audience with their arguments they need more than just logical thinking. They need Reasoning. Allen emphasizes Reasoning as one of the key components of smart thinking. Reasoning enables us to get beyond a world of innumerable separate events, and objects and ideas. Reasoning enables students to realize that all things are connected with the connection sometimes being apparent and other times being of a subtler nature. Reasoning is in simple terms finding and expressing the connections between separate ideas and how each event is influenced by another event. In an example Allen makes a connection between an orange and an apple. Both are fruits and both will sate the hunger of the person who consumes them. This is just a few of the connections people make every day. Without connections people would be in continuous state of confusion with every action feeling like a new experience. People already use reasoning as the main method of processing information on their day to day lives without truly thinking about it.
The improvisation of reasoning is what turns a person into a smart thinker. People already reason but very few people improve their reasoning skills. Being aware of the diagnostic process involved in Reasoning. This allows for deeper analysis of complex issues, better understanding and more effective process of information and overall a more convincing way of communicating ideas.
Attitude is an essential part of the productive use of reasoning. Smart thinkers must ask themselves questions about their own reasoning and their own amassed knowledge in order for them to grow. Unexamined answers are not reliable and the key to having all the right answers in not believing that one person has all the answers but if a person is asking the right questions they will receive the right answers.
A few of the many reasons why we need to think smart is that it will help improve how a person works with knowledge and information.it is useful academically for students because academics use reasoning to allocate marks for assignments. The work place is largely about adapting to change and making informed decisions which is where smart thinking plays a huge role because workers have to make use of their own reasoning. We should never assume that there can be only one right view; we should not, in turn, presume all views are right.
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