MOST students in Malaysia today – whether still at school or at university - will have heard of the term “critical thinking”, but the importance of critical thinking is still not fully recognised on a day-to-day level.
Simply put, critical thinking means looking at a subject – whether it be a course module, a question someone has asked you, or a pressing global concern – and breaking it down into core components in order to understand the subject more deeply.
This might mean understanding the subject from an economic angle, a philosophical angle, a religious angle or a humanitarian angle.
It might mean researching the subject from the point of view of a sector of society and comparing and contrasting other points of view.
It might mean thinking about how to tackle a problem differently, or what certain data means for different groups of people.
Critical thinking also means researching ways people have analysed the subject in the past and ways the subject could be analysed in the future.
When thinking critically about an issue, it is also crucial to do away with prejudices and assumptions and take a more global view of a situation.
Critical thinking is not about simple accepting of a fact or a situation or a piece of learned information at face value.
It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, learning how to think critically will add a valuable new dimension to your life which could mean you enjoy your studies more, do better in your exams, get that dream job quicker and hold onto it for a lot longer.
It’s a skill that may future-proof you in a challenging job market and learning this valuable skill will improve all areas of your life.
Graduates who are looking for work today will need to be able to show their future employer at interview examples of how they have resolved problems, analysed situations, researched potential outcomes and added value in some way to the organisation.
Employers in 2012 want graduates who are able to think clearly, deeply and analytically about any situation and find effective solutions.
Why are these skills so important to Malaysian students into today’s global economy? Because competition for jobs has never been greater and the global economic crisis has forced companies to hire only the brightest and the best.
Young Malaysians are living in an exciting new world. There is no shortage of talented young people in Malaysia who are destined to become the next generation of world leaders and thinkers.
Take Eddie Law, the University’s alumni ambassador for Malaysia, who – in 2007 – set up his law recruitment website www.elawyer.com.my.
Mr Law’s business has gone on to become Malaysia’s number one law recruitment online portal with over 5000 members.
It is currently used by over 200 law firms in Malaysia. Law said the critical thinking skills he learned while studying for a degree in Law at Anglia Ruskin University’s Chelmsford campus in the United Kingdom, continue to help him grow his business and have attributed to his success today.
“As a Law student, I was trained to think critically and analytically, and this skill-set helps tremendously in the current day-to-day management of my company, be it with decision-making or business-planning.
“When I started my company, my analytical skills helped me understand the need for my business in Malaysia and to turn it into the success it is today.” Law said the experience of living and studying abroad at Anglia Ruskin University helped him gain more confidence, more perspective and enhance his problem-solving skills.
“The teaching methodology at Anglia Ruskin University trained me to be more resourceful and more independent; skills which were instrumental in helping me start my business,” said Law.
The University has over 60,000 active alumni in 140 countries across the world, which allows Malaysian students unprecedented opportunities to engage with like-minded young people internationally.
The university’s undergraduate, postgraduate and postgraduate research students benefit by studying, debating and exchanging ideas with others, developing their critical thinking skills in the process.
This critical thinking culture helps create global citizens and prepares our students for the world of work. These strong relationships among students carry on after graduation through the University’s very strong and vibrant Malaysian Alumni Association which meets yearly in Kuala Lumpur and promotes its events on its Facebook page.
Learning how to think deeply and critically about subjects should be a top priority for all Malaysian students wherever they are on their educational pathway, and the very best universities and colleges will actively promote critical thinking as a vital tool in future-proofing students in difficult job markets.
Raymond Lee is Country Development Manager at Anglia Ruskin University supporting the University’s recruitment in South East Asia. He was born in Kuala Lumpur, but has worked in the UK since 1999.
By RAYMOND LEE firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: The STAR Home Education Sunday April 1, 2012