Common critical thinking errors

Mark Tyrrel wrote a great article about how to avoid common thinking errors and develop your critical thinking. These errors are as follows:

  1. Misjudging risk
  2. Seeings things as black and white
  3. Assuming others think like you
  4. Proof by select examples
  5. Trance logic

I find with my students that their critical thinking is typically hindered by the fourth error. For example, when teaching my class how to create a formula to solve a problem in Excel, many students create a formula that generates the correct answer. However, the formula may only generate the correct answer for that specific case or a select few. Not all cases. The false confidence and understanding from thinking this way is why I always encourage my students to change the numbers in their spreadsheets or create alternate examples to test their formulas.


About simoncrothers

I am an Australian who moved to British Columbia, Canada with my family in 1998. After completing my undergraduate degree in mathematics and computing science at Simon Fraser University, I moved back to Australia for several years. During this time I completed a Masters in Computational Mathematics and began my teaching career in mathematics at the University of New South Wales. In 2010, I moved back to Canada and taught computer science at Douglas College for three years. I am currently regular faculty in the Computer Business Systems department at KPU. I have also taught some courses in the Business and Quantitative Methods department at KPU. In my spare time I like to spend time with my wife Jami, who I met in Australia, our three year old daughter Lillian, and our newly born son Aiden. I also like to indulge in the occasional video game and I am involved in various self-employed web development projects.
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