Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Critical Thinking Skills - In Defense of Reality - A Student Resource

©2019 Peter Miesler

Considering my Case For Reality project is all about striving to develop a valuable resource for students who want to defend serious fact-based science against frauds using pseudo-science masquerading as fact - a formal consideration of Critical Thinking & Reading Skills is a must.

The way towards success is by studying and learning to recognize the patterns of deceptive rhetoric.  That way you become prepared for those tricks and find yourself ready poised with effective responses.  

Don't ignore the lies, use those lies to your advantage.  Namely by intelligently and confidently coming right back with the counter-story, the one that explains the facts in a way that makes clear why said claim is a fraud, and why the facts make more sense anyways.  Remember there's always an audience to consider, so try making a teaching moment out of every interaction.

Replace misinformation with honest information and evidence along with a narrative of the story behind the science, enabling people to form a better understanding.  Easier said than done, but unless we are changing minds we are losing.  

Consider the philosophy of Jiu-Jitsu, which besides being about the mental discipline of a warrior, is a philosophy about winning by yielding to an opponent's force, instead of trying to oppose force with force.

Rather than playing by the contrarian script, why not develop some intellectual rhetorical jiu-jitsu skills.

It starts with sharp Critical Thinking and Reading Skills, and for developing that we have clearly defined strategies.  Below I share from five sources;

Critical Reading and Reading Strategy


The Foundation For Critical Thinking


Critical Thinking


The SQ3R Method of Studying

Francis Pleasant Robinson - RememberEverything.org

21 Century Middle School Guide Student’s Guide to Study Skills



Critical Reading and Reading Strategy

What is Critical Reading?


Reading critically does not, necessarily, mean being critical of what you read. …

Critical reading means engaging in what you read by asking yourself questions such as, ‘what is the author trying to say?’ or ‘what is the main argument being presented?

Critical reading involves presenting a reasoned argument that evaluates and analyses what you have read.  Being critical, therefore - in an academic sense - means advancing your understanding, not dismissing and therefore closing off learning.

To read critically is to exercise your judgement about what you are reading – that is, not taking anything you read at face value. 

When reading academic material you will be faced with the author’s interpretation and opinion.  Different authors will, naturally, have different slants. You should always examine what you are reading critically and look for limitations, omissions, inconsistencies, oversights and arguments against what you are reading. 

In academic circles, whilst you are a student, you will be expected to understand different viewpoints and make your own judgements based on what you have read.

As a critical reader you should reflect on:

  • What the text says:  after critically reading a piece you should be able to take notes, paraphrasing - in your own words - the key points.
  • What the text describes: you should be confident that you have understood the text sufficiently to be able to use your own examples and compare and contrast with other writing on the subject in hand.
  • Interpretation of the text: this means that you should be able to fully analyze the text and state a meaning for the text as a whole.  Critical reading means being able to reflect on what a text says, what it describes and what it means by scrutinizing the style and structure of the writing, the language used as well as the content.

See also: Listening Types to learn about the importance of critical listening skills.

Read more here 


The Foundation For Critical Thinking

The Center for Critical Thinking Community Online is the world’s leading online community dedicated to teaching and advancing critical thinking. Featuring the world's largest library of critical thinking articles, videos, and books, as well as learning activities, study groups, and a social media component, this interactive learning platform is essential to anyone dedicated to developing as an effective reasoner in the classroom, in the professions, in business and government, and throughout personal life. 

Critical Thinking in Everyday Life: 9 Strategies

Developing as Rational Persons: Viewing Our Development in Stages

How to Study and Learn (Part One)

How to Study and Learn (Part Two)

How to Study and Learn (Part Three)

How to Study and Learn (Part Four)

The Art of Close Reading (Part One)

The Art of Close Reading (Part Two)

The Art of Close Reading (Part Three)

Looking To The Future With a Critical Eye: A Message for High School Graduates

Becoming a Critic Of Your Thinking

For Young Students (Elementary/K-6)

To read the full articles join the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online.


Critical Thinking - Courses.LumenLearning.com

Consider these thoughts about the critical thinking process, and how it applies not just to our school lives but also our personal and professional lives.


Critical thinking skills are perhaps the most fundamental skills involved in making judgments and solving problems. You use them every day, and you can continue improving them.

The ability to think critically about a matter—to analyze a question, situation, or problem down to its most basic parts—is what helps us evaluate the accuracy and truthfulness of statements, claims, and information we read and hear. 

Critical thinking is the sharp knife that, when honed, separates fact from fiction, honesty from lies, and the accurate from the misleading. We all use this skill to one degree or another almost every day. 

The academic setting demands more of us in terms of critical thinking than everyday life. It demands that we evaluate information and analyze myriad issues. 

It is the environment where our critical thinking skills can be the difference between success and failure. In this environment we must consider information in an analytical, critical manner. 

We must ask questions—

What is the source of this information? 

Is this source an expert one and what makes it so? 

Are there multiple perspectives to consider on an issue? 

Do multiple sources agree or disagree on an issue? 

Does quality research substantiate information or opinion? 

Do I have any personal biases that may affect my consideration of this information?

It is only through purposeful, frequent, intentional questioning such as this that we can sharpen our critical thinking skills and improve as students, learners and researchers.

Dr. Andrew Robert Baker, Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom - Courses.LumenLearning.com



  • define critical thinking
  • identify the role that logic plays in critical thinking
  • apply critical thinking skills to problem-solving scenarios
  • apply critical thinking skills to evaluation of information



The SQ3R Method of Studying – 

The Father of All Reading Methods is Alive and Kicking

December 11, 2012 by Helmut

What is the SQ3R method and why was it developed?

SQ3R (also known as the SQRRR method) is an acronym for a 5-step reading and study method originally suggested by Francis Pleasant Robinson in his book Effective Study. Robinson (1906-1983) was a professor of psychology at Ohio State University (OSU). 

During World War II, droves of army personnel were sent to colleges and universities to attend intensive training in skills relevant to winning the war. Robinson headed the Learning and Study Skills program at OSU, and based on his research devised the SQ3R method and other techniques to help military personnel to learn specialized skills in as little time as possible.

In his commentary ahead of Veteran’s Day in 2002, Dr. Thomas G. Sticht (Harvard) called it “The reading formula that helped win World War II”.

How does it work?

SQ3R stands for

  1. Survey (the book/a chapter to get an overview)
  2. Question (ask one or more questions for each section in a chapter)
  3. Read (and mentally answer the questions)
  4. Recite (recall the answers to a section’s questions from your memory and write them down)
  5. Review (a complete chapter, by answering the chapter’s questions from your memory)

LINK for the details


I'm hoping a few visitors might this helpful, it’s a wonderful lesson plan geared towards middle and high schooler students.  There’s a whole bunch of useful information, conveyed in plain English, along with illustrations by Zapp, to help convey the details:

Tween Publishing’s 

21 Century Middle School Guide Student’s Guide to Study Skills

By Susan Mulcaire,  MiddleSchoolGuide.com

Lesson 1: What are Study Skills

Lesson 2: Metacognition: The Self-Aware Student

Lesson 3: A Bit About Brainy

Lesson 4: Mental Throwdown: Effort vs. Intelligence

Lesson 5: What’s in Style

Lesson 6: Learning Resources and Multimodal Learning

Lesson 7: There’s More Than One Way to Be Smart! 

Lesson 8: That’s My Routine and I’m Stick’n to It!

Lesson 9: The Organized Workspace

Lesson 10: Syllabusted!

Lesson 11: Getting Your Schema On!

Lesson 12: Active Learning in a Passive Learning World

Lesson 13: Battle Plan SQ3R

Lesson 14: Hey, are You Listening?

Lesson 15: Navigating Notes

Lesson 16: Cornies, and Indies, and Hybrids, Oh My!

Lesson 17: The Hidden Benefits of Outlining Your Textbook

Lesson 18: M.N.E.M.O.N.I.C.S.

Lesson 19: Meeting the Anti-Cram: Time-Spaced Learning

Lesson 20: Short Answers and Essay Test Tips

Lesson 21: So Many Choices, So Little Time!

Lesson 22: How to Trick Out Your Presentation

Lesson 23: Taming Test Anxiety

Lesson 24: So Close, Yet so Far… Distance Learning

Lesson 25: Ouch My Brain Hurts! Critical Thinking Skills

Lesson 26: Ramp Up Your Research Skills

Lesson 27: Good Citizens, Perfect Participants

Lesson 28: The Benefits of Failure

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