Thinking Critically About Numbers Makes My Head Hurt . . .


I love it when important and interesting things coincide . . .

Breanne Harris of Pearson’s Critical Thinkers group has done a great job with a post about Critical Thinking and Statistics.  Click on the brain image to read her articulate and dead-on thoughts.

Consider these three connected ideas from this one post:

1)   Critical Thinking is possibly the most important business
skill for these times
.

Unfortunately, it’s also one of the skills in shortest supply.  A recent
University of Missouri at St. Louis report places it at the top of both the
needs list and the gap list.  I know that higher education has similar concerns about students who do not learn to think critically while in college.

In a world of sound bytes, tweets and instant information, the tendency to avoid the hard work of researching, analyzing,  and evaluating often complex subjects is a real and very dangerous issue.

In simple words, we desperately need critical thinking and we don’t
know how to do it.

2)  Statistics represent important data which is too often
misinterpreted
.

The graphic in this post makes this point with an error that I could easily
make . . . and probably have.  For further proof that statistics are open to
interpretation, misinterpretation, and just plain old “fudging”, read through
the transcripts of any recent political debate or speech, then go look up the
numbers and claims for independent verification.

Numbers are important, but easily misconstrued.  We leave ourselves at the mercy of those who would do so, when we do not understand basic mathematics and statistics.

After all, that 40% chance of rain always includes a 60% chance of not rain:)

3)  Pictures ARE worth a thousand words, if you choose the right
words.

I am a visual learner, so this comes easier to me.   Combine easy to understand pictures with the right words and you’ve just may  have learning.    The image can spark thinking and the words guide the mind toward insight.  The result of insight is often motivation and action, in that order.

The one-panel cartoon which accompanies this post is clear, very reflective of the corporate world, and funny . . . sorta.  1.00 FTE is one of my favorite sources of insight into the  corporate mindset.  Sample a few of these daily treats and I’ll bet you will be hooked.

Critical thinking, statistics, and visual images  . . . powerful stuff, when used correctly:)

Thinking critically in the Heartland . . .

John

3 thoughts on “Thinking Critically About Numbers Makes My Head Hurt . . .

  1. Pingback: Studysync – literatura com tecnologia | Blog do Enio de Aragon

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  3. Pingback: Conexão TE » Blog Archive » Studysync – literatura com tecnologia

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