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Evaluating Thinking Aptitude

ASCDBrought to you by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Are you a good thinker - or a poor one? Take a look at the general traits associated with each category and assess yourself. (Remember, a good thinker is willing to be critical about herself!)

The Good Thinker

  • Welcomes problematic situations and is tolerant of ambiguity.
  • Is sufficiently self-critical; looks for alternate possibilities and goals; seeks evidence on both sides.
  • Is reflective and deliberate; searches extensively when appropriate.
  • Believes in the value of rationality and that thinking can be effective.

The Poor Thinker

  • Searches for certainty and is intolerant of ambiguity.
  • Is not self-critical and is satisfied with first attempts.
  • Is impulsive, gives up prematurely, and is overconfident of the correctness of initial ideas.
  • Overvalues intuition, denigrates rationality; believes that thinking won't help.

Source: Developing Minds Volume 1: A Resource Book for Teaching Thinking, edited by Arthur L. Costa. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. 1991

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