Does Work Improve a Student Individual’s Critical Thinking? 

Charlotte Miller

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Many students work part-time or full-time while they attend college. Being employed has many benefits for students, particularly in terms of financial independence and work-related skills. Work helps develop leadership, communication, decision-making, and critical thinking skills. The latter is a valuable skill for both academic and professional life. In this article, the write essays for me team discusses the effects of work on students’ critical thinking and determines the long-term benefits of developing this essential skill.

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How Work Affects Students’ Critical Thinking 

What is critical thinking? Integrating, examining, and assessing information collected through individual experience, observations, contemplation, and communication is an intellectually complex process. It can also be understood as sound judgment and the ability to assess information fairly, accurately, and consistently to inform beliefs and actions. 

Work develops all the mentioned aspects of critical thinking. Irrespective of the position, employed students are expected to learn new information and understand how to apply it in their work. They do not merely apply their skills to complete specific tasks but also exhibit complex thinking patterns to address ambiguous and complex situations. When students work, they learn to collect and evaluate information and experiences and, more importantly, make conclusions and learn from their mistakes. Work develops rational thinking and self-guidance, which are also aspects of critical thinking. 

Furthermore, working students gradually obtain experience and knowledge to avoid the failures of critical thinking, such as prejudices, bias, irrationality, etc. They learn to recognize the complexity of the social world and avoid simplistic, narrow-minded thinking. These work benefits are explained by the fact that students communicate with diverse colleagues and clients and are exposed to different social situations and settings. Let’s outline some of the main areas of critical thinking that students can develop through work:

  • Self-awareness. Work encourages students to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses, understand their values and beliefs, and determine ethical and moral standards guiding their actions.
  • Awareness of mental processes. Work also invites students to reflect on how they obtain and process information. For example, it can help students determine that they are good listeners or that they can quickly memorize visual information.
  • Developing foresight and planning. Work also allows students to evaluate the consequences of their decisions and predict how their actions will affect themselves and other people in the future. 
  • Evaluating existing information. Students are exposed to a large body of new information that they learn to process and apply effectively at work. 

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How to Stimulate Critical Thinking at Work 

However, to develop advanced critical thinking skills, students need to make some conscious effort. The following tips will help you ensure that your work positively affects your critical thinking abilities:

  • Ask for a mentor. Mentors make workplace experiences more purposeful and meaningful. They can provide additional resources for self-growth, support decision-making and learning, and provide feedback. As a result, students have more opportunities to develop and apply their critical thinking skills.
  • Embrace leadership opportunities. Leadership may be scary, especially for young workers, but it exposes employees to more complex social and work-related situations. Students taking on leadership responsibilities can thus have more opportunities for practicing their critical thinking.
  • Ask for feedback. Make sure you grow as an employee and use feedback as guidance for further development. 

Benefits of Developing Critical Thinking Skills 

You probably wonder why students need critical thinking in the first place. Well, there are many benefits of having excellent critical thinking abilities, both study- and career-wise. For example, critically-thinking students are generally considered to be more independent and self-reliant learners. They know their strengths and weaknesses and can set goals accordingly. Critical thinking also helps evaluate, synthesize, and analyze information. Students are exposed to an immense body of new information, so it is essential to filter it and generate theoretically and practically valuable knowledge. 

Next, critical thinking can improve language and presentation skills. Students thinking critically can formulate their thoughts and ideas clearly and systematically. Conversely, those who cannot assess and structure information in their mind cannot express themselves. In the academic setting, the lack of presentation skills can adversely affect grades. 

In addition, critical thinking makes students more creative. Creativity, in turn, is essential for thinking out of the box and coming up with unconventional ideas and solutions. As a result, students can contribute significantly to academia and advance knowledge in their selected fields. 

Finally, critical thinking is vital for self-reflection. Without this skill, students cannot evaluate their progress and learn from their mistakes. Self-reflection can also support professional life after students graduate, making them more self-aware employees approaching each task and experience meaningfully.