This critical thinking course will:
- Define critical thinking and its workplace value.
- Highlight situations where critical thinking is needed.
- Offer a model and questions for encouraging critical thinking.
- Outline common fallacies.
- Explore ways in which language influences thinking.
Despite the plethora of data employees are asked to consider and problems they are required to solve, few people have received any formal training in critical thinking in the workplace. This fast-paced workshop introduces the critical thinking skills necessary for considering workplace problems and striking a balance between open-mindedness and skepticism. During this program, we will define critical thinking and consider its value, look at the types of decisions that require critical thinking, explore the steps critical thinkers usually follow, craft a list of questions to improve critical thinking, consider language and its role in argument, and explore a range of fallacies and how to spot and avoid falling prey to their use.
At this program’s conclusion, participants should be able to:
- Define critical thinking.
- Explain the value of critical thinking at work.
- Identify situations requiring critical thinking.
- Recognize barriers to thinking critically.
- Follow a critical thinking process.
- Ask meaningful and relevant questions.
- Recognize how language can be used to manipulate thought.
- Identify common fallacies and avoid falling prey to their use.
- Define terms clearly in their efforts to ensure common understanding.
The following outline highlights some of the course’s key learning points. As part of your training program, we will modify content as needed to meet your business objectives. Upon request, we will provide you with a copy of the participant materials prior to the session(s).
Decisions Decisions: Business Judgement
This workshop opens with a basic logic review and four questions: what is critical thinking? what is the value of critical thinking in your role? how does critical thinking differ from creative thinking? and what are common barriers to thinking critically? Following that discussion, we will look at a myriad of workplace situations that require people to employ critical thinking in order to make business judgments.
Let’s Think!: Working Through a Model
In this seminar segment, we will examine a process for critical thinking. Using an airplane manufacturing exercise, participants will work through the process of thinking critically during group problem solving. The activity will require the teams to document each aspect of the process as they move toward a solution. After that exercise, we will discuss critical thinking that occurs outside of a production arena.
Stay Within the Lines: Steps to Improve Critical Thinking
The next part of this course looks at eight guidelines for improving critical thinking. During this part of the course, participants will consider Richard Paul’s and Linda Elder’s Elements of Reasoning and craft a list of appropriate questions associated with each guideline that they could ask as they consider the workplace problem of having five projects to choose from and the capacity to only work on three.
Advertising and Influence: How the Pros Do it
Billboard, radio, television, and social media advertisements challenge our critical thinking many times each day. They use a number of “tricks” to short-circuit rational decision making. This part of the course looks at arguments that use humor, jingles, weasel words, emotive language, puffery, fine-print disclaimers, sex appeal, feel-good messages, and celebrities to make their case. We will discuss how these approaches are used in advertising and how similar tactics are employed to influence thinking outside of the product-promotion world.
Fallacy: Recognizing Failures in Reasoning
Arguments are often made for the purpose of winning, not in the pursuit of the truth. For that reason, critical thinkers must be aware of and prepared to confront a multitude of fallacies designed to help their users come out on top. This portion of the program looks at common fallacies and examples of each. Working in teams, participants will identify those that are most often adhered to in their workplace and examples of those occurrences. Next, we will discuss tactics for responding to others’ use of fallacies and diplomatic methods for addressing flawed logic.
Words Words Words: Language and the Critical Thinker
Language can conceal the truth, mislead, confuse, or deceive. This final part of the workshop looks at language and the skills critical thinkers must master in their quest for clarity and understanding. During this seminar segment, we will explore vagueness, ambiguity, the dangers of “spin,” and the importance of precise definitions.
By the conclusion of this interactive workshop, participants should understand what critical thinking is and how to apply it in their workplace.