Critical thinking at its most basic is defined as "the awakening of the intellect to the study of itself" by CriticalThinking.org. Using your experiences, asking relevant questions, researching and using reason to gather an intelligent conclusion about the world is critical thinking.
Critical Thinking and Writing
Critical thinking in writing allows for more completely developed thoughts. Organization of thought is one of the easiest critical thinking skills to recognize and also one of the most important. When you write, you have to organize your thoughts if you intend for your piece to be coherent.
You are called upon to use critical thinking in writing constantly throughout your education. You must keep an open mind when exercising critical thinking. Do not be afraid to ask questions in your writing for the purpose of answering those questions before you are done. Abstract ideas will become clear the more you analyze them in writing. You will gain better understanding of the subject matter using written assessment rather than exercising thought alone.
Writing initiates critical thinking more than speaking or reading. Writing is a response; a reaction to thought and feeling about a particular subject. Writing has a linear and logical flow making the self-correction of critical thinking a more natural step in the process. Writing combines subject and object. It is a natural process and as such goes hand-in-hand with critical thinking.
Writing to Learn
The outcome of thinking and writing is a more polished product. You tend to acquire a greater understanding of a subject when writing about it. Not only do you think more deeply about the subject, but you learn about it. This is critical thinking in its simplest form. Writing to learn often means that you are collaborating with prior learners and the information produced from their thoughts on a subject. Writing to learn is generating you own thoughts and conclusions based on this information.
Is Critical Thinking Necessary?
Critical thinking is innate to the human condition. Critical thinking is necessary to education, and writing is an essential way to develop critical thinking skills. When writing, you draw from what you already know, seek relevant information about a main idea, and develop new concepts regarding that idea. That is critical thinking at its best. Knowledge and learning are not possible without critical thinking and writing is the best way to develop a mind that thinks critically.