Before you read
1. What are critical thinking skills?
Critical thinking skills examples
- Analytical thinking.
- Good communication.
- Creative thinking.
- Ability to solve problems.
- Asking thoughtful questions.
- Promoting a teamwork approach to problem-solving.
- Self-evaluating your contributions to company goals.
2. How do critical thinkers solve the problems? Guess the steps they follow while tackling a problem.
Critical thinking is the act of analyzing facts to understand a problem or topic thoroughly. The critical thinking process typically includes steps such as collecting information and data, asking thoughtful questions and analyzing possible solutions.
About the Essay
This is an excerpt taken from a fiction ‘Wonder’ by R. J. Palacio. Wonder, a story about a ten-year-old boy who lives in Manhattan and who has a rare physical deformity, was published in February of 2012 and was author R.J. Palacio‘s first novel.
Palacio was inspired to write Wonder after taking her son to buy ice cream one day and witnessing him cry when a girl with facial birth defects sat next to him. She tried to move her son away so as not to upset the girl and her family, but an ice cream spill occurred and the situation only got worse. Later, while listening to Natalie Merchant’s song “Wonder,” Palacio reflected on the situation and began writing the novel, hoping that a tense scene from her own life could turn into a valuable lesson.
The novel is told from the points of view of multiple characters: primarily the deformed Auggie himself, but also his sister, his friends, and his supposed enemies. Such an array of perspectives allows readers to understand how Auggie’s entire community struggles to learn compassion and empathy. While interacting with someone who looks different from them on the outside, these other characters discover that Auggie has so much to offer on the inside.
About the fiction ‘Wonder’
August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a severe facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school.
Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, Auggie wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past his extraordinary face. Wonder begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include the perspectives of his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These voices converge to portray a community as it struggles with differences, and challenges readers, both young and old, to wonder about the true nature of empathy, compassion, acceptance, friendship, and—ultimately—kindness. Auggie is a hero for the ages, one who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.
Wonder has been a New York Times bestseller for over 5 years in a row (with over 140 weeks as #1). It’s received numerous national and international awards, including being one of Time magazines 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time (January, 2015), and USA Today‘s Top 100 bestsellers. The movie Wonder is scheduled to be released on November 17th, 2017.
Read the following text and do the given tasks.
There was a lot of shuffling (walking by dragging feet) around when the bell rang and everybody got up to leave. I checked my schedule and it said my next class was English, room 321. I didn’t stop to see if anyone else from my home room was going my way: I just zoomed out of the class and down the hall and sat down as far from the front as possible. The teacher, a really tall man with a yellow beard, was writing on the chalkboard.
Kids came in laughing and talking in little groups but I didn’t look up. Basically, the same thing that happened in homeroom happened again: no one sat next to me except for (Comprehension-a. Ans) Jack, who was joking around with some kids who weren’t in our homeroom. I could tell Jack was the kind of kid other kids like. He had a lot of friends. He made people laugh.
When the second bell rang, everyone got quiet and the teacher turned around and faced us. He said his name was Mr. Browne, and then he started talking about what we would be doing this semester. At a certain point, somewhere between A Wrinkle in Time and Shen of the Sea, he noticed me but kept right on talking.
I was mostly doodling (drawing/ scribbling) in my notebook while he talked, but every once in a while I would sneak a look (glance) at the other students. Charlotte was in this class. So were Julian and Henry. Miles wasn’t.
Mr. Browne had written on the chalkboard in big block letters:
“Okay, everybody write this down at the very top of the very first page in your English notebook.”
As we did what he told us to do, he said: “Okay, so who can tell me what a precept is? Does anyone know?”
No one raised their hands.
Mr. Browne smiled, nodded, and turned around to write on the chalkboard again:
PRECEPTS = RULES ABOUT REALLY IMPORTANT THINGS!
“Like a motto (saying, proverb)?” someone called out.
“Like a motto!” said Mr. Browne, nodding as he continued writing on the board. “Like a famous quote. Like a line from a fortune cookie. Any saying or ground rule that can motivate you. Basically, a precept is anything that helps guide us when making decisions about really important things.”
He wrote all that on the chalkboard and then turned around and faced us. “So, what are some really important things?” he asked us.
A few kids raised their hands, and as he pointed at them, they gave their answers, which he wrote on the chalkboard in really, really sloppy handwriting:
RULES. SCHOOLWORK. HOMEWORK.
“What else?” he said as he wrote, not even turning around. “Just call things out!” He wrote everything everyone called out.
FAMILY. PARENTS. PETS.
One girl called out: “The environment!”
He wrote on the chalkboard, and added:
(Comprehension-b. Ans)“Sharks, because they eat dead things in the ocean!” said one of the boys, a kid named Reid, and Mr. Browne wrote down
“Bees!” “Seatbelts!” “Recycling!” “Friends!”
“Okay,” said Mr. Browne, writing all those things down. He turned around when he finished writing to face us again. “But no one’s named the most important thing of all.”
We all looked at him, out of ideas.
“God?” said one kid, and I could tell that even though Mr. Browne wrote “God” down, that wasn’t the answer he was looking for. Without saying anything else, he wrote down:
(Comprehension-c. Ans) WHO WE ARE!
Isn’t that the kind of question we should be asking ourselves all the time? “What kind of person am I?
(Comprehension-d. Ans)“Did anyone happen to notice the plaque (sign) next to the door of this school? Anyone read what it says? Anyone?”
(Comprehension-e. Ans)“I thought we were here to learn English,” Jack cracked, which made everyone laugh.
“Oh yeah, and that, too!” Mr. Browne answered, which I thought was very cool of him. He turned around and wrote in big huge block letters that spread all the way across the chalkboard:
MR. BROWNE’S SEPTEMBER PRECEPT:
WHEN GIVEN THE CHOICE BETWEEN BEING RIGHT OR BEING KIND, CHOOSE KIND.
“Okay, so, everybody,” he said, facing us again, “I want you to start a brand-new section in your notebooks and call it Mr. Browne’s Precepts.”
He kept talking as we did what he was telling us to do.
“Put today’s date at the top of the first page. And from now on, at the beginning of every month, I’m going to write a new Mr. Browne precept on the chalkboard and you’re going to write it down in your notebook. Then we’re going to discuss that precept and what it means. (Comprehension-f. Ans)And at the end of the month, you’re going to write an essay about it, about what it means to you. So by the end of the year, you’ll all have your own list of precepts to take away with you.
(Comprehension-g. Ans)“Over the summer, I ask all my students to come up with their very own personal precept, write it on a postcard, and mail it to me from wherever you go on your summer vacation.”
“People really do that?” said one girl whose name I didn’t know.
“Oh yeah!” he answered, “people really do that. I’ve had students send me new precepts years after they’ve graduated from this school, actually. It’s pretty amazing.”
He paused and stroked his beard.
“But, anyway, next summer seems like a long way off, I know,” he joked, which made us laugh. “So, everybody relax a bit while I take attendance, and then when we’re finished with that, I’ll start telling you about all the fun stuff we’re going to be doing this year—in English.” He pointed to Jack when he said this, which was also funny, so we all laughed at that.
As I wrote down Mr. Browne’s September precept, I suddenly realized that I was going to like school. No matter what.
– R.J. Palacio (excerpt from Wonder)
Working with words
A. Find the words from the text that match with the following meanings.
- .…………… walking by dragging one’s feet along or without lifting them fully from the ground
- …………… drawing pictures or patterns while thinking about something else
- …………… a piece of flat metal with writing on it
- …………… a general rule intended to regulate behaviour or thought
- …………… move or go in a furtive (secret) or stealthy (silent) way
Answers: a. shuffling b. doodling c. plaque d. precept e. sneak
B. Consult your teacher and define the following thinking skills.
- convergent thinking
- divergent thinking
- critical thinking
- creative thinking
- Convergent thinking is the process of finding a single best solution to a problem that you are trying to solve. Many tests that are used in schools, such as multiple-choice tests, spelling tests, math quizzes, and standardized tests, are measures of convergent thinking. A critical aspect of convergent thinking is that it leads to a single best answer, leaving no room for ambiguity. In this view, answers are either right or wrong. The solution that is derived at the end of the convergent thinking process is the best possible answer the majority of the time.
- Divergent thinking is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. It typically occurs in a spontaneous, free-flowing, “non-linear” manner, such that many ideas are generated in an emergent cognitive fashion. So, divergent thinking concentrates on generating a large number of alternative responses including original, unexpected, or unusual ideas. Thus, divergent thinking is associated with creativity.
- Critical thinking is that mode of thinking— about any subject, content, or problem — in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully analyzing, assessing, and reconstructing it. Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking.
- Creative thinking is a skill which lets you consider things from a fresh perspective and different angles. It’s an inventive thought process which results in surprising conclusions and new ways of doing things. Creative thinking can be aided by brainstorming or lateral thinking to generate ideas.
Answer the following questions.
- Who was Jack? How did he make children laugh?
- Why are “Sharks” important to Reid?
- What does Browne think about the most important thing?
- What is that has not been noticed by the student?
- How did Jack make fun of the English class?
- What were the students going to do at the end of the month?
- What particular act of students surprised a girl student?
Note: Answers of each questions are underlined with question number in the passage. Please go through the passage, paraphrase the underlined sentences and write answers.
- Have you made your own precept after you read this lesson? What is it? Share it with your friends.
A precept is a rule or direction, often based on religion that tells a way you should act or behave. Precepts are little life lessons that are usually passed down to children by authority figures such as parents, teachers, or religious figures.
After reading this lesson, I, too, have made my own precepts. Some of them are as follows:
- One should be honest, humble, friendly and kind.
- Time is money.
- Respect the elders, love the juniors.
- Practice makes a man perfect.
- Always keep positive vibes.
- Act in the same way as you expect to be acted from others.
- Health is the greatest wealth.
(You are encouraged to write your own precepts like the above.)
- According to Josh Lanyon, “If there was one life skill everyone on the planet needed, it was the ability to think with critical objectivity.” Justify this statement with your logic.
Josh Lanyon says that the ability to think critically is very important life skill. Human beings are by birth rational creature. The only difference between human and animal is that human beings have thinking capability. They can analyze, synthesize, and/or evaluate information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. They have the ability of complex reasoning, solving difficult problems, and introspection (this means describing your own thoughts and feelings). Others also feel that the ability for creativity or the feeling of joy or sorrow is uniquely human. Humans have a highly developed brain that allows us to do many of these things.
Write an email to your friend explaining an interesting class you had.
Format and structure of formal email
There are five elements to consider when formatting your email. Here is a breakdown of each:
1. Subject line
This is a short phrase that summarizes the reason for your message or the goal of your communication. It is important to include a subject line when sending a professional email so your audience knows exactly what to expect and is able to locate the message easily if needed. For example:
“Follow Up: Product Presentation”
This is the first line of your email and generally acts as the greeting. For example:
“Hi Mr. Samson,”
Just like the body of a letter, this is where you’ll share your full message. For example:
“Thank you for attending the new product presentation this afternoon. I’ve attached a video file of the full recording so you can share it with your team. Please let me know if you have any questions.”
This is the last line of your email before your signature and should wrap up your message. This is also where you may reiterate any requests you’ve made in the body of your message. For example:
“I look forward to speaking with you on Wednesday. Thanks again!”
The signature is where you identify yourself by name, title and any other information relevant to your communications. Most email programs allow you to set a fixed signature that’s automatically added to the end of every email you send.
Senior Software Engineer
ABC Company, Inc.”
Subject Line: UX Research Contract Opportunity
I hope this message finds you well. I’m reaching out today because I’m managing an application redesign project here at ABC Company and seeking a skilled UX research contractor to help analyze several sets of usability testing data.
This is a three-month project beginning February 1st, and we estimate it will take roughly 15 hours per week. All work can be completed remotely, but you’re welcome to use our workspace.
Please let me know if you’re interested in this project and we can set up some time to discuss the details further. I look forward to hearing from you.
User Experience Director
ABC Company, Inc.
A Model Answer of Textual Question
Write an email to your friend explaining an interesting class you had.
Subject: My Online Class
Hey! I hope you are fine; I am also doing absolutely well.
I am having online classes these days, and I was a bit free as well. So, I thought I would write something to you.
All our school classes are being digitalized on the next level. Our classes are either conducted on zoom or on Google Meet, depending upon which platform is easier to conduct a class. All the subjects are taught as in the offline class. The teachers come on their respective periods, take class and leave.
We are supposed to create an environment that is calm and noise-free so that when we have to converse it is easier for the listener to communicate. Plus, at the same time, we get homework also. We are supposed to finish our homework at the given time and we have to submit it by uploading at google classroom.
We have somehow learned how to use a computer well and how to use it effectively. I would love to teach you about the same. Waiting for your experience. Keep posting me.
Add the tag questions: (Extra Questions)
- She is from a small town in China, _______________?
- They aren’t on their way already, ________________?
- We’re late again, _________________?
- I’m not the person with the tickets, _______________?
- Julie isn’t an accountant, _________________?
- The weather is really bad today, ___________________?
- He’s very handsome, __________________?
- They aren’t in Rome at the moment, _________________?
- You aren’t from Brazil, ___________________?
- John’s a very good student, __________________?
- I like chocolate very much, _________________?
- She doesn’t work in a hotel, _________________?
- They need some new clothes, ________________?
- We live in a tiny flat, ________________?
- She studies very hard every night, ________________?
- David and Julie don’t take Chinese classes, _________________?
- I often come home late, _________________?
- You don’t like spicy food, _____________?
- She doesn’t cook very often, _______________?
- We don’t watch much TV, ________________?
1. isn’t she, 2. are they, 3. aren’t we, 4. am I, 5. is she, 6. isn’t it, 7. is he, 8. are they, 9. are you, 10. isn’t he, 11. don’t I, 12. does she, 13. needn’t they, 14. don’t we, 15. doesn’t she, 16. do they, 17. don’t I, 18. do you, 19. does she, 20. do we
- He wrote a letter,……………….?
- My brother sings a song,…………..?
- Sarita and Ravi dance in the concert, …………….?
- I’m a student,…………?
- I’m not a teacher,…………………?
- He’s a student, …………………….?
- He’s been to Kathmandu several times, ………………………….?
- People have got a lot of duties,……………..?
- You have to work hard,………………….?
- Please come here,……………?
- Don’t make a noise,……………….?
- Let us play,…………….?
- Let’s play, ……………….?
- You’d better go, …………….?
- You’d rather not go,…………..?
- Nobody works hard, ………….?
Answers: a. didn’t he, b. doesn’t he, c. don’t they, d. aren’t I, e. am I, f. isn’t he, g. hasn’t he h. haven’t they i. don’t you, j. will you, k. will you, l. will you, m. shall we, n. hadn’t you, o. would you, p. do they
Question tags are short questions at the end of statements.
They are mainly used in speech when we want to:
- confirm that something is true or not, or
- to encourage a reply from the person we are speaking to.
Question tags are formed with the auxiliary or modal verb from the statement and the appropriate subject.
A positive statement is followed by a negative question tag.
- Jack is from Spain, isn’t he?
- Mary can speak English, can’t she?
A negative statement is followed by a positive question tag.
- They aren’t funny, are they?
- He shouldn’t say things like that, should he?
- You play the guitar, don’t you?
- Alison likes tennis, doesn’t she?
If the verb is in the past simple we use did.
- They went to the cinema, didn’t they?
- She studied in New Zealand, didn’t she?
When the statement contains a word with a negative meaning, the question tag needs to be positive
- He hardly ever speaks, does he?
- They rarely eat in restaurants, do they?
Some verbs / expressions have different question tags. For example:
I am – I am attractive, aren’t I?
Positive imperative – Stop daydreaming, will / won’t you?
Negative imperative – Don’t stop singing, will you?
Let’s – Let’s go to the beach, shall we?
Have got (possession) – He has got a car, hasn’t he?
There is / are – There aren’t any spiders in the bedroom, are there?
This / that is – This is Paul’s pen, isn’t it?
When we are sure of the answer and we are simply encouraging a response, the intonation in the question tag goes down:
- This is your car, isn’t it?
(Your voice goes down when you say isn’t it.)
When we are not sure and want to check information, the intonation in the question tag goes up:
- He is from France, isn’t he?
(Your voice goes up when you say isn’t he.)
- Study the following examples.
- You are tired, aren’t you?
- He left Kathmandu, didn’t he?
- Your father never touched alcoholic drinks, did he?
B. Rewrite the following sentences adding appropriate question tag.
- Gill does not know Ann, does he?
- I’m very patient, aren’t I?
- They’d never met me before, had they?
- Listen carefully,will you?
- Let’s have a break, shall we?
- Let us invite them, will you?
- Hari used to live in France as a boy, didn’t he?/ usedn’t he?
- You’d better not take a hard drink, had you?
- Sheep eat grass, don’t they?
- Pande can speak nine languages, can’t he?
- She’s finished her classes, hasn’t she?
- She barely managed to reach the goal, did she?
- Don’t let him swim in that pond, will you?
- There are lots of people here, aren’t there?
C. Read the following situations. What do you say in these situations? Use question tags.
- The sky is full of You can see lightning and hear thunder. It’s going to rain soon, isn’t it ?
- You want to pay the taxi fare but you are short by 100 Shyam, you should lend me some money, shouldn’t you?
- You have met a stranger at a party and you want to have a chat with him/ Let’s have a chat, shall we?
- You came out of the film hall with your friend. You enjoyed the film. The film was very nice, wasn’t it?
- You and your friend listened to a comedian on the stage and felt spellbound by his/her performance.
He gave an excellent performance, didn’t he?
- You think your friend’s father has arrived from the US but you are not sure. Your father has arrived from the US, hasn’t he?
- You think Susan will join the new job tomorrow but you are not sure Susan will not go to work tomorrow, will she?
- Your friend’s hair looks too short.
You have got very short hair, haven’t you?
- You want to go for a picnic with your friends in Let’s go for a picnic, shall we?
- You want permission from your father to go for a walk. Let me go for a walk, will you?
- This is your car, isn’t it?