Dispositions for Critical Thinking

It is not enough to teach students to perform thinking operations and tasks. They should also be disposed to carrying them out on their own, unasked.

Critical Thinking Dispositions
by Robert Ennis

Seek a clear statement of the thesis or question

Seek reasons

Try to be well informed

Use and mention credible sources

Take into account the total situation

Try to remain relevant to the main point

Keep in mind the original or basic concern

Look for alternatives

Be open-minded

Take a position (and change a position) when the evidence and reasons are sufficient to do so

Seek as much precision as the subject permits

Deal in an orderly manner with the parts of a complex whole

Use one's critical thinking abilities

Be sensitive to the feelings, level of knowledge, and degree of sophistication of others

Source: Robert H. Ennis. "A Taxonomy of Critical Thinking Dispositions and Abilities" in Teaching Thinking Skills: Theory and Practice; eds. Joan Boykoff Baron and Robert J. Sternberg. Freeman, 1987.

Back to PGCC annotated list of documents

Back to MCCCTR Homepage