The Thinker's Guide to the Art of Asking Essential Questions (Thinker's Guide Library)

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9780944583166: The Thinker's Guide to the Art of Asking Essential Questions (Thinker's Guide Library)
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The quality of our lives is determined by the quality of our thinking. The quality of our thinking, in turn, is determined by the quality of our questions, for questions are the engine, the driving force behind thinking. Without questions, we have nothing to think about. Without essential questions, we often fail to focus our thinking on the significant and substantive. When we ask essential questions, we deal with what is necessary, relevant, and indispensable to a matter at hand. We recognize what is at the heart of the matter. Our thinking is grounded and disciplined. We are ready to learn. We are intellectually able to find our way about. To be successful in life, one needs to ask essential questions: essential questions when reading, writing, and speaking; when shopping, working, and parenting; when forming friendships, choosing life-partners, and interacting with the mass media and the Internet. Yet few people are masters of the art of asking essential questions. Most have never thought about why some questions are crucial and others peripheral. Essential questions are rarely studied in school. They are rarely modeled at home. Most people question according to their psychological associations. Their questions are haphazard and scattered. The ideas we provide are useful only to the extent that they are employed daily to ask essential questions. Practice in asking essential questions eventually leads to the habit of asking essential questions. But we can never practice asking essential questions if we have no conception of them. This mini-guide is a starting place for understanding concepts that, when applied, lead to essential questions. We introduce essential questions as indispensable intellectual tools. We focus on principles essential to formulating, analyzing, assessing, and settling primary questions. You will notice that our categories of question types are not exclusive. There is a great deal of overlap

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Dr. Linda Elder is President of the Foundation for Critical Thinking and Executive Director of the Center for Critical Thinking, a leading international institute that promotes critical thinking in every domain of human life. An educational psychologist, she has developed an original stage theory of critical thinking development and coauthors a column on critical thinking for "The Journal of Developmental Education," She is highly published and has done original research into the relation of thought and emotion and into the stages of critical thinking development. She is a regular keynoter at the International Conference on Critical Thinking, is highly sought after as a presenter, and is a recognized leader in critical thinking. Dr. Richard Paul is Director of Research and Professional Development at the Center for Critical Thinking and Chair of the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking. He is an internationally recognized authority on critical thinking, with nine books and more than 200 articles on the subject. His views on critical thinking have been canvassed in the "New York Times," "Education Week," "The Chronicle of Higher Education," "American Teacher," "Reader’ s Digest," "Educational Leadership," "Newsweek," and "U.S. News and World Report," The works of Linda Elder and Richard Paul have been translated into Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Chinese. Translations are underway in Russian, Malay, and Korean. The growing demand for translations into increasing numbers of languages testifies to the emerging international recognition of the importance of critical thinking in human life and work and of the authoritative nature of the contribution ofPaul and Elder in the field. The Foundation for Critical Thinking seeks to promote essential change in society through the cultivation of fair-minded critical thinking, thinking predisposed toward intellectual empathy, humility, perseverance, integrity, and responsibility. In a world of accelerating change, intensifying complexity, and increasing interdependence, critical thinking is now a requirement for economic and social survival. Contact the Foundation for Critical Thinking at www.criticalthinking.org.

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