Chapter 8: Thinking, Communicating & Problem-Solving

Chapter 8 Activities & Resources

Key takeaways for review

  1. What is Bloom’s Taxonomy? Why is it important for college students to know about it?
  2. Define logic and critical thinking. What can you do to develop your critical thinking skills?
  3. What is cultural competence? How can it help you communicate effectively?
  4. What are some strategies to use to enhance communication while speaking and while listening?

Is ignorance bliss?

In “The Story of the Good Brahmin,” French philosopher and writer Voltaire describes a very successful and learned man who is revered for his wealth and his knowledge. Although he has everything in life, the man is very unhappy because he realizes that the more he knows, the more he understands how much he doesn’t know. The more he learns, the more he realizes how much there is to know, so he can’t answer questions such as: Why are we here? How did the world form? Is there a god? What happens after death? His lack of answers to these and other questions tortures his mind. 

Next door to the Good Brahmin lives an old, poor woman who has very few possessions, no money, and no education. Unlike the Brahmin, however, this illiterate woman is very happy with her life, doesn’t question her purpose, and has faith in what she’s been told about the afterlife. Although she is noticeably happy and content with her life, which is what the Brahmin says he wants, if given the chance, the wise man would not be willing to trade places with her or give up his knowledge for happiness.

What are your thoughts about these two characters? What are your thoughts about knowledge and thinking? Would you trade knowledge for happiness?

The domains of learning

Consider for a moment the domains of learning. Even without learning about them by taking a psychology or education class, you’re already using all the domains. Provide examples and instances when you have used each of the domains of learning listed below.

  • Cognitive domain (what you should know)
  • Affective domain (what you should care about)
  • Psychomotor domain (what you should be able to do)
  • Metacognitive domain (thinking about thinking)

Applying critical thinking questions

  1. What is happening? Gather the basic information and begin to think of questions.
  2. Why is it important? Ask yourself why it’s significant and whether or not you agree.
  3. What don’t I see? Is there anything important missing?
  4. How do I know? Ask yourself where the information came from and how it was constructed.
  5. Who is saying it? What’s the position of the speaker and what is influencing them?
  6. What else? What if? What other ideas exist and are there other possibilities?

Respond to quote

Read the following quote and explain what it means to you in your quest to become a more critical and creative thinker.

Critical thinking is a desire to seek, patience to doubt, fondness to meditate, slowness to assert, readiness to consider, carefulness to dispose and set in order; and hatred for every kind of imposture. —Francis Bacon, philosopher

Resources for critical thinking

Examine one of the critical thinking resources below and analyze its usefulness to college students today.


Apply the problem-solving steps described below to an academic struggle or other challenge you are experiencing. Describe the problem in detail, then explain how you could apply each step to helping you solve this problem.

  • Define the problem. Provide examples and/or all the factors contributing to the problem. If it is helpful, organize the information logically, such as order of importance or chronologically. You may also need to narrow down the problem to the most important/relevant elements.
  • Identify available solutions. List all your options. Use logic to identify your most important goals in terms of solving the problem. Identify the facts of your situation to eliminate opinions or worrying about the future, which can distract you from solving the problem. Compare and contrast possible solutions (pro verses cons of each solution). Identify the consequences of each solution.
  • Select your solution. Use gathered facts and relevant evidence to commit to an appropriate course of action.

Communication self-assessment

This communication skills assessment measures several dimensions of interpersonal communication, including non-verbal communication, listening and your understanding of some key communication concepts.  The communication skills test relies on self-report. While highlighting our own communication weaknesses can be tough, answering honestly rather than providing the answer you hope is true will give you the most accurate results. Accurate test results can then help you determine specific steps for improvement.

Take the communication self-assessment here:

MCC Libraries

This chapter in your textbook covers important topics like thinking and learning, critical thinking skills, effectively communicating, and problem-solving.

Follow this link for additional resources:

Library Services, Monroe Community CollegeIf you have questions or need help accessing MCC Libraries, let us know at or 585-292-2303.


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