26 Why It Matters: Thinking and Analysis

April Ring

Decorative image.In college, Gerald applies the same work ethic and attitude that he did in high school. He completes all his assigned readings and maintains his study schedule in order to remember important concepts and definitions. When he gets his first essay assignment back, however, there is a note explaining that he needs to dig deeper into the material. Even though he remembers all the concepts and definitions for his tests, he is unable to answer the questions. How is it possible that Gerald, who was a great student in high school, cannot seem to learn in college?

In high school, the goal was to build foundational knowledge on which to understand the world. Like Gerald, you may know a lot of information, but how often do you explain it through a metaphor; reimagine it through a different perspective; identify bias or missing information; or draw a connection to other, seemingly unrelated concepts? Most importantly, are you actively questioning the information you receive and reflecting on your own understanding of the world around you?

In college, the goal is not just to learn new facts about the world, but to integrate knowledge across different domains—from the natural sciences to the humanities—into how one understands the world and oneself. In college, professors use assignments, discussion, and exams to challenge students to consider information in new ways. Rather than simply remembering information, students must question the significance of the information, how it might relate to other concepts, whether it is accurate, or how it might challenge their own beliefs about the world. In short, college is the business of learning how to think.

This chaptersets the framework for how your thinking will develop in college by exploring how we think about concepts from recognition through creation, deep learning study techniques, as well as the strategies to develop critical and creative thinking skills.


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Why It Matters: Thinking and Analysis Copyright © 2023 by April Ring is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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