As a Core Learning Outcome, NOVA encourages critical thinking and self-awareness. Critical thinkers gather relevant information, ideas, and arguments in order to make sense of complex issues and solve problems. To embrace critical thinking, a person must develop their analytical skills, have a sense of creativity, be open-minded, and solve problems. Critical thinkers possess:
Analytical Behaviors: Analytical thinkers ask thoughtful questions and carefully examine information and data presented to them. Critical thinkers seek to use analytical behaviors to reach well-researched conclusions.
Creativity: Creative thinkers exhibit critical thinking skills. Thinking creatively allows us to spot patterns in information or create novel solutions to old problems. Creative thinkers consider multiple concepts simultaneously. They make abstract connections: synthesizing and conceptualizing information, making inferences, and predicting outcomes.
Open-Mindedness: Open-Minded people analyze information with as little bias as possible. They reserve judgement and analyze information using reason, rather than relying on preconceived ideas. Individuals who are open-minded embrace cultural differences and a variety of perspectives from a wide range of people, avoiding ageism, sexism, homophobia, racism, etc.
Problem Solving Skills: Problem solvers analyze a concern, generate and implement a solution, and assess the success of the action. Problem solving is considered crucial to critical thinking, because it involves systematically viewing information and coming up with a practical solution. Good problem solvers tend to pay attention to detail, successfully make decisions, evaluate information, and perform logical reasoning. Problem solving skills lead to innovation.