Critical thinking is one of the most essential soft skills a person can develop over their lifetime, as it enables individuals to come up with viable and unique solutions to common and not-so-common problems. Unfortunately, schools’ curricula today emphasize standardized testing and uniform teaching measures over critical thinking exercises. This in and of itself is a major barrier to helping individuals develop and utilize their analytical thinking skills. However, it is not the only barrier. Below are four of the most common obstacles that keep even the most intelligent individuals from exercising their thinking capabilities.
One of the barriers to critical thinking that is most difficult to overcome is the tendency to view everything in relation to oneself. Many people have a propensity to only consider their own interests, a deficit that makes them unable to sympathize with anyone else or any differing viewpoints. Analyzing various perspectives to evaluate their validity and to find the best aspects of each is an important part of critical thinking. The reason this barrier is so difficult to overcome is because most egocentric people are unwilling or unable to identify this characteristic within themselves.
Critical thinking by its very nature questions popular ideas, opinions, and thoughts. When people “think” as a group, not much thinking is actually being done. This is an especially challenging barrier to overcome as it requires individuals to stand apart from the group, something many people are very unwilling to do. More than that, however, analytical thinking requires people to question their own beliefs, something that almost no one is willing to do.
Social conditioning is what leads to stereotyping and unwarranted assumptions. By definition, stereotypes and assumptions require absolutely no individualistic thinking or analysis of the facts. Social conditioning can also prevent people from recognizing and therefore accepting that they are making assumptions and judging based on stereotypes, causing it to be another one of the more complicated barriers to overcome.
It is easy for even the most open-minded individual to fall into a routine, and while routine is not necessarily a bad thing, it can hinder one’s analytical thinking skills. Think about it: if you were to do the same thing day after day, week after week, and month after month, you would forget how to respond to new situations. Moreover, you would begin to shy away from new situations and challenges for the sake of ease. While convenience is great, it can take a real toll on your critical thinking capabilities.
There are dozens of barriers to critical thinking about which you, as a parent and a human, should be aware. However, if you can help your child overcome the most challenging of those barriers, you can give them an advantage. Learn how a Best in Class Education program can help by visiting our website or calling us at 1-888-683-8108.