To the best of my understanding, Critical Thinking simply means one’s ability to painstakingly, objectively and meticulously examine a concept, position, proposition, or thought on a subject matter to either come up with new thoughts, fault some of the written propositions which might have been caused by the writer’s beliefs, or build on the established propositions based on one’s new perspective. That said, all the intention stated above must be supported with proven facts and standards or requirements of correctness, depth and accuracy (what is critical thinking? 2007). In other words, critical thinking is meditative in nature, authentic and involves required standards that must be adhered with. It is important to note that critical thinking goes beyond just solving problems: at the core of any critical thinking exercise is asking questions.
Having gone through the structured academic programs and processes in colleges and the acquisition of knowledge and skills (critical thinking and problem-solving skills) that should make graduates employable, employers are taken aback or shocked by what they see from the so called graduates. Few of these signs are what employers see and made them to make such comments:
- Graduates sometimes make some dangerous mistakes and costly errors in the performance of their duties even after being taken through the in-house orientation or training that most company offer to their new employee. Given this, employers are quick to make comments or see such graduate as half-baked.
- Graduates’ inability to bring innovative ideas to the table for the overall improvement and performance of such company. Employers want creative individuals who has something to offer as most of these companies are in one competition or the other with other companies providing the same service or producing the same product and want to bring an innovative person on board to improve their services.
- Some graduates are so rigid and not always willing to consider and appraise views of other coworkers especially where such appraisal indicate that change is indeed needed. Being resistant to change is a sign of weak critical and problem-solving skill in itself.
- As a result of not being willing to change, making repeated mistakes in the performance of their duties is inevitable. Such mistakes do sometimes cost employers fortunes, and in some cases could even affect the goodwill of the company.
- As stated above, graduates’ inability to learn, adapt and solve problems at their work place will ultimately leads to their inability to take initiative. Most employers want to employ someone that can take initiative when needed or as occasion demand for it.
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Employers are justified by these claims, and the aforementioned could be traced to few of the following factors
- Colleges are not adequately teaching the practicability and applicability of critical thinking skills but rather more concerned with curriculum and teaching of the subject at a more surface level. Students’ lack of avenue to really put to use their critical thinking abilities has led to a situation where colleges produce ‘’academically sound’’ graduates that lack the needed critical and problem-solving skills to excel outside school.
- Students’ educational background is a major factor in this regard. A student, who for long has been exposed to a system of education where all you need to do is to memorize and regurgitate all to pass test and examination will find it difficult to think critically. Getting to college where such student is expected to learn how to think critically, there are other factors that count towards their grades, and if such student is not really getting the practicability of the concept, there is always a second chance to learn, but the second chance is usually not available in a real work situation. No employer will want to take the risk. A college professor can only try to correct that faulty educational background but cannot fix it.
- Insight Assessment. (n.d.) Advancing thinking worldwide: Risk associated with weak critical thinkers. Retrieved from https://www.insightassessment.com/Uses/Risks-Associated-with-Weak-Critical-Thinkers
- Insight Assessment. (n.d.) Advancing thinking worldwide: Characteristics of Strong Critical Thinkers. Retrieved from https://www.insightassessment.com/About-Us/Insight-Assessment-News-Feed/One-of-best-education-apps-for-PC/Characteristics-of-Strong-Critical-Thinkers
- Jekins, R. (2017, March 23). Why College Graduates Still Can’t Think. The James G. Martin Centre For Academic Renewal. Retrieved from https://www.jamesgmartin.center/2017/03/college-graduates-still-cant-think/
- What is critical thinking? (2007) M01_NOSI2422_03_SE_C01.QXD. Retrieved from https://www.pearsonhighered.com/assets/samplechapter/0/1/3/8/0138132429.pdf
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