How to be a lifelong learner

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Nurturing a Lifelong Learning Mindset – Part 3

The cultivation of a positive critical thinking or lifelong learner mindset is both easier and yet more difficult than one might at first believe. Here are specific recommendations about ways to exercise the seven positive thinking attributes discussed in Part 2 of this series. Strong critical thinking skills depend on a strong critical thinking mindset. These recommendations should be practiced daily.

The Lifelong Learner Mindset in Action

1 – Truth-seeking 

Ask courageous and probing questions. Think deeply about the reasons and the evidence for, and against, a given decision that you must make. Pick one, or two, of your own most cherished beliefs and ask yourself what reasons and what evidence there exists for, and against, those beliefs.

2 – Open-mindedness

Listen, patiently, to someone who is offering opinions with which you do not agree. As you listen, show respect and tolerance toward the person offering the ideas. Show that you understand (not the same as “agree with”) the opinions that are being presented.

3 – Analyticity

Identify an opportunity to consciously pause to ask yourself about all the foreseeable and likely consequences of a decision that you are making. Ask yourself what this choice, whether it is large or small, will mean for your future life and behavior.

4 – Systematicity

Focus on becoming more organized. Make lists of your most urgent work, family, and education responsibilities and projects. Make lists of the most important priorities and obligations as well. Compare the urgent with the important. Budget your time to take a systematic and methodical approach to fulfilling your obligations.

5 – Critical Thinking Confidence

Commit to resolve a challenging problem by reasoning it through. Embrace a question, problem, or issue that calls for a reasoned decision, and begin working on it, yourself, or in collaboration with others.

6 – Inquisitiveness

Learn something new. Go out and seek information about any topic of interest (but not one that you must learn about for your job) and let the world surprise you with its infinite variety and complexity.

 7 – Judiciousness

Revisit a decision that you made, recently, and consider whether it is still the right decision. See if any relevant new information has come to light. Ask if the results, that had been anticipated, are being realized. If warranted, revise the decision to better suit your new understanding of the current state-of-affairs.

To learn more about critical thinking and lifelong learning, you can find the entire essay Cultivating A Critical Thinking Mindset (Peter A. Facione, Carol A. Gittens and Noreen C. Facione) as well as the seminal white paper, Critical Thinking: What it is and Why it Counts, in the Insight Assessment Resources library.

Ralph Waldo Emerson quotation about the impact of new ides

We are passionate about the impact of growing, measuring and promoting good thinking worldwide.  

Insight Assessment provides assessment programs validated research based tools such as the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory, which measures each of these seven critical thinking habits of mind, and the California Critical Thinking Skills Test which reports on overall thinking and five components of critical thinking skill. Our comprehensive array of critical thinking skills and lifelong learning mindset products are calibrated, specifically, to provide objective insights for use in numerous industries.  

Contact us to discuss your critical thinking assessment and development needs. 

Looking for more about critical thinking and how to be a lifelong learner?

Be a lifelong learner.  Be sure you exercise your thinking skills today. 

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