To think well is to impose discipline and restraint on our thinking-by means of intellectual standards — in order to raise our thinking to a level of "perfection" or quality that is not natural or likely in undisciplined, spontaneous thought.
The dimension of critical thinking least understood is that of "intellectual standards." Most teachers were not taught how to assess thinking through standards; indeed, often the thinking of teachers themselves is very "undisciplined" and reflects a lack of internalized intellectual standards.
All thinking, in short, is a creation of the mind's work, and when it is disciplined so as to be well-integrated into our experience, it is a new creation precisely because of the inevitable novelty of that integration.
And when it helps us to solve problems that we could not solve before, it is surely properly called "creative".
In this interview for Think magazine (April ’’92), Richard Paul provides a quick overview of critical thinking and the issues surrounding it: defining it, common mistakes in assessing it, its relation to communication skills, self-esteem, collaborative learning, motivation, curiosity, job skills for the future, national standards, and assessment strategies.
Paul: First, since critical thinking can be defined in a number of different ways consistent with each other, we should not put a lot of weight on any one definition. With this qualification in mind, here is a bit of scaffolding: critical thinking is thinking about your thinking while you’re thinking in order to make your thinking better.
How are districts to deal with the full array of needs?
How are they to do all of these rather than simply one, no matter how important that one may be? Everything essential to education supports everything else essential to education.
The result was, by the way, that a flagrantly mis-graded student essay was showcased nationally (in ASCD's Paul: I don't think so.
Let me suggest a way in which you could begin to test my contention.