Peter Smith

Publications, Lectures and Other Stuff

7 Aspects of Effective Thinking

This is from: ‘Teaching Thinking Dispositions: From Transmission to Enculturation’, by Shari Tishman, Eileen Jay, and D. N. Perkins.

“Good thinking dispositions ─ the ones that normally describe productive intellectual behavior ─ can be characterized as consisting of seven broad but key intellectual tendencies (Perkins, Jay and Tishman, 1992). The following list describes these seven dispositions. Ideally, good thinking includes all of these dispositions exhibited appropriately at different times depending on the thinking situation. While other dispositions may contribute to good thinking, we believe these seven to be central; efforts to teach thinking ought to cultivate them.

  1. The disposition to be broad and adventurous

The tendency to be open-minded, to explore alternative views; an alertness to narrow thinking; the ability to generate multiple options.

  1. The disposition toward sustained intellectual curiosity

The tendency to wonder, probe, find problems, a zest for inquiry; an alertness for anomalies; the ability to observe closely and formulate questions.

  1. The disposition to clarify and seek understanding

A desire to understand clearly, to seek connections and explanations; an alertness to unclarity and need for focus; an ability to build conceptualizations.

  1. The disposition to be planful and strategic

The drive to set goals, to make and execute plans, to envision outcomes; alertness to lack of direction; the ability to formulate goals and plans.

  1. The disposition to be intellectually careful

The urge for precision, organization, thoroughness; an alertness to possible error or inaccuracy; the ability to process information precisely.

  1. The disposition to seek and evaluate reasons

The tendency to question the given, to demand justification; an alertness to the need for evidence; the ability to weigh and assess reasons.

  1. The disposition be metacognitive

The tendency to be aware of and monitor the flow of one’s own thinking; alertness to complex thinking situations; the ability to exercise control of mental processes and to be reflective.

For the whole article see:


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This entry was posted on October 11, 2014 by in Education and tagged .
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