Journals

Introduction
The journal is an essential assignment that is meant to sum up the conclusions you come to after having reflected on the readings in the text, the online lecture, discussion posts, including your own and those of your peers, and any outside material you consult. You will probably find that you do as much or more thinking than you do writing in responding to the journal prompts – and that is perfectly okay. In general, the weekly journal should meet the noted length requirement – not including the space needed for the prompts.

You may feel the need to write out longer reflections – and that is also okay. If you do feel the need for longer reflections, then, once you have written them out, try to edit them, reducing them to their essence.

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Part of this course is process – training ourselves to think critically. Part of it is learning to understand how we think and why we think or believe what we think or believe. While the journal prompts will occasionally address the process, it will more often ask you to reflect on the hows and whys of what you know and believe – or what you think you know and believe.

Instructions
For this journal assignment, briefly answer each of the following prompts:

Critical Thinking
After reading the required resources for this week and participating in the discussion, how do you define critical thinking? You will want to carry this definition with you, so keep it brief – perhaps 4 to 6 lines. You will find many definitions online – don’t be tempted to just quickly copy one; try to form your own so that it is meaningful to you.
Heart of the Matter
Considering just what is in this weeks’ readings, why do you think the authors (looking forward in the text) see Chapters 12, 13, and 14 as the “heart of the matter”?
What do you think they mean by that?
What two concepts do the authors say these chapters emphasize?
How do you define these concepts?
Why do you think the authors find these concepts important to critical thinking?
Challenges & Insights
What do you see as your greatest challenge for this session in general? For this class in particular?
How do you think you can use the concepts in these first three chapters to help you meet these challenges as well as challenges in your personal life as a member of your family and your community?

If you include references to outside sources (beyond the textbook), make sure you cite them properly.

Writing Requirements (APA format)

Length: 2-3 pages (not including title page or references page)
1-inch margins
Double spaced
12-point Times New Roman font
Title page
References page (as needed)

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