A poem by T.S. Eliot (1943) says, “We had the experience but missed the meaning.” As your experience in this course comes to a close, I don’t want you to miss the meaning of the materials you have read, papers you have written, and discussions we have had throughout the session. They are more than a series of assignments and grades—the end result should be an improvement in your higher-order thinking and your ability to make connections between thoughts and ideas. You can achieve that through reflection, the art of taking charge of your own mind.
Reflection is a mental process that challenges you to use critical thinking to examine the course information, analyze it carefully, make connections with previous knowledge and experience, and draw conclusions based on the resulting ideas. A well-cultivated critical thinker (Paul & Elder, 2008):
raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely;
gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively; comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;
thinks open-mindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and
communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems.
For this discussion, take some time to reflect upon two concepts that you learned in this course. What are the concepts? What insight or ideas did you gain from learning each of these concepts as a critical thinker? Were there aspects of the concepts that you would challenge? What is the importance of these concepts to public health? How will you use this new wisdom in your current or future career as a critical thinker?
In order to earn maximum credit, the comment should be more than your opinion, and more than a quick “off the top of your head” response. Be sure to support your statements, cite sources properly, cite within the text of your comments, and list your reference(s). The response must be a minimum of 250 words.
Eliot, T. S. (1944) Four Quartets, The Dry Salvages, pt. 2. London.
Paul, R. & Elder, L. (February 2008). The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools. Foundation for Critical Thinking Press.