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In our introductory session to Applied Communication, we were asked to think about our current stance in activism, and how as students sitting in a classroom we could make a difference. We were also asked to consider the point of critical thinking in an institutional context structed by a very specific ideology.

According to the Oxford Dictionary (n.d.) to think is quite simply “to have a particular belief or idea”. As humans it is within our nature to think. We think throughout the day, and throughout the night. We think about what matters and what doesn’t; what’s positive and what isn’t. Yet thinking from a critical point of view does not come naturally to us. Critically thinking or analysing is using your innate ability to reason and not blindly accepting what is presented to you.

In the common context of a student-teacher relationship, it is quite often observed that the student does not criticise the ideas and concepts presented by the teacher and simply accepts them. Particularly in developing countries like India, the student is taught to listen and obey to his teacher. There have even been unfortunate incidences where the student has been reprimanded for being a critique.

It is a very conflicting state of mind for an individual in a learning institution to be able to balance between being an obedient student and a criticising one. On the one hand by thinking critically he may offend his teacher, or come across as disrespectful. On the other hand, by not analysing and critiquing he is limiting his ability to think outside the box.

The same concept can be also lined with activism. By not stepping outside onto the field one is unable to see the world from a critical perspective. The possibility of development is somewhat suppressed.

So, in order to truly be a successful rational individual, one needs to bring intellectual discipline into their thinking, while simultaneously taking their thinking apart.

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