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Reflective Inquiry and Critical Thinking

Education has played a big role in the liberation of man from his primitive nature. It has enhanced better appreciation of man’s better understanding of his past and the forecasting his future. Quality education however, has always been a cause of a heated debate from time to time. This debate gained momentum in the twentieth century with the evolution of internet services. Availability of internet services have had mixed effects on the standards of education, especially on higher education. Research is a key element of higher education; students who develop good research skills are usually emerge as better graduates. With the surge of information through internet, it is important that students develop analytical skills that will enable them to model their own thinking.

This paper explores an article by Garrison (2004) in order to establish the relevance of the following skills in higher education: enquiry, reflection and critical thinking. According to the article, higher education professors have to find better means by which they can teach the students to develop reflective enquiry as well as critical thinking throughout their academic life. The process of enquiry enhances formulation of questions in an individual’s mind. The process is usually self directed and enables one to come up with various responses for each particular question set that was set in the mind. One then synthesizes the ideas running in the mind. In order to come up with a particular decision, he/ she reflect on the various options that exist in his/her mind. A decision or solution arrived at through the process of reflective is a product of one’s own thinking. The solutions are usually full of creativity and innovation.

If these skills are employed by students in institutions of higher learning, they will be able to easily comprehend whatever they are taught and also respond to effectively respond to problems in their line of profession. The ability of one to make independent decisions heavily lies on his/ her ability to think for himself by avoiding the influence or the input of other people. Critical thinking enables one to challenge the source of existing knowledge. Skepticism is an element of critical thinking; it gives one the hunger for more information on a given subject. It arises from the desire of an individual to assess an object from a different perception. For students pursuing higher education, critical thinking is a vital tool for analysis of information. A student that develops this skill will find it easy to access information from the internet. He/she is able to quickly go through the vast information posted on the internet and critically analyze it for suitability.

Students lacking this skill many at times succumb to plagiarism as a result of their ability to analyze texts and later pick only what is relevant, they resort to copy pasting instead. Critical thinking enhances logical thinking and is therefore multidisciplinary. It is not limited to any field; science students as well as art students will always find critical thinking to be an asset. The ideas in the article have served to prove that the ideas about reflective inquiry and critical thinking are similar across different academic levels. What is important is the student’s ability to learn the skills and then use them to better his/ her approach to the thinking process.

In regard to my work, curriculum development is a dynamic process. It requires those in charge to always make necessary changes from time to time. Through reflective enquiry and critical thinking, I will be able to make an input towards improvement of curriculum in order for it to serve students better. Similarly, as an instructor, selection of what to present is very important. I will always use reflective inquiry and critical thinking not only in the choice of what to offer to my audience but also in response to their questions.

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