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Nurturing a Lifelong Learning Mindset – Part 2

A mindset that supports strong critical thinking results from the interaction of key attributes and mental disciplines.  Seven measurable aspects have been identified by researchers within the overall disposition toward critical thinking. Based on this research, we can describe someone who has all seven positive habits of mind as possessing a positive critical thinking or lifelong learning mindset.

Seven critical thinking habits of mind metrics:

  • Truth-seeking—display intellectual integrity and a courageous desire to actively strive for the best possible knowledge in any given situation. A truth-seeker asks probing questions and follows reasons and evidence wherever they lead, even if the results go against his or her cherished beliefs.
  • Open-minded—tolerant of divergent views and sensitive to the possibility of his or her own possible biases. An open-minded person respects the right of others to have different opinions.
  • Analytical— habitually alert to potential problems and vigilant in anticipating consequences and trying to foresee short-term and long-term outcomes of events, decisions, and actions. Another word to describe this habit of mind might be “foresightful.”
  • Systematic—consistently endeavors to take an organized and thorough approach to identifying and resolving problems. The systematic person is orderly, focused, persistent, and diligent in his or her approach to problem solving, learning, and inquiry
  • Confident in reasoning—trustful of his or her own reasoning skills to yield good judgments. A person’s or a group’s confidence in their own critical thinking may or may not be warranted, which is another matter.
  • Inquisitive—habitually strives to be well informed, wants to know how things work, and seeks to learn new things about a wide range of topics, even if the immediate utility of knowing those things is not directly evident. The inquisitive person has a strong sense of intellectual curiosity.
  • Judicious—approaches problems with a sense that some are ill structured and some can have more than one plausible solution. The judicious person has the cognitive maturity to realize that many questions and issues are not black and white and that, at times, judgments must be made in contexts of uncertainty.


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Internalizing a disposition toward using critical thinking 

In Nurturing a Lifelong Learning Mindset – Part 1, you completed the Evaluate Your Own Mindset for Critical Thinking (Self-Rating Form). If you answered honestly, you have a rough idea if you are consistently applying critical thinking skills to problems, questions, or issues, at hand.

The good news is that it is possible to strengthen your lifelong learning mindset and your critical thinking.  Positive critical thinking habits of mind can be nurtured by internalizing the values, that they embody, and by reaffirming the intention, daily, to live by those values:

  • Be Alert for Opportunities. Each day we should watch for opportunities to make decisions and solve problems reflectively. Rather than simply reacting, take the time to be as thoughtful, as possible, in addressing at least one of the many problems or decisions of the day.  See  10 Positive Examples of Critical Thinking.
  • For a thinking process to be successful, it must be accomplished with the habits of mind that have been identified as supporting strength in critical thinking. To learn more, see  Cultivating A Critical Thinking Mindset (Peter A. Facione, Carol A. Gittens and Noreen C. Facione) from the Insight Assessment Resources library.

Critical thinking mindset attributes can be objectively measured. 

Many educational and professional programs use Insight Assessment’s validated research based test instruments such as the California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory (CCTDI), which reports on each of the seven critical thinking habits of mind for lifelong learners and the California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST) which gives scores on overall thinking and the 5 components of the critical thinking skillset.  Additionally, INSIGHT solutions are available for numerous industries to assist with hiring, promotion, training and development, at all levels, of an organization

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