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eSchool of Graduate PME - Resources: Thinking Skills

Thinking Skills

Critical Thinking

Why Critical Thinking? (~41 min)

The ability to think critically about any information you take in is essential to doing well in this course, but much more importantly, to being an effective senior leader and frankly just a plain good citizen. Occasionally, we have PME students who complain to us about some of the different perspectives here in the curriculum. One individual actually complained that we didn't simply provide the Air Force answer. If you are in this course to simply be fed an "Air Force answer" then you will likely be disappointed. We strive here to present both sides of every argument. This might mean some of the readings could make you angry, but our hope is for you to expand your viewpoint and understand different perspectives so that you can better understand where you yourself stand on an issue, and how you might deal with it if (and when) you are running things.

Critical Mind

The Critical Mind is a Questioning Mind (Website)

While we give you plenty of questions to think about when you look at the scope sheets with their lesson objectives and discussion questions, there are many things you'll want to ask yourself as you read through the readings and view the supporting videos. We strive as much as possible to provide several viewpointssince we need you all to think critically about how to solve any problem you might face in the future.

The Critical Mind is a Questioning Mind article gives great ideas on how to ask powerful questions. Becoming familiar with these concepts before you start to read will help prepare you to deal with different viewpoints, and to ask questions about what you are reading instead of just passively being in receive mode.

Problem Solving

Problem Solving (2 pages)

The Air Force uses a basic 8-step problem solving model which provides good guidelines for critical thinking. Too often, practical problem-solving methodologies such as these are separated from the theoretical types of problems you'll encounter here in the readings. Specifically, the methodology for Root Cause Analysis (step 4) can give you some new perspectives for looking at any problem. This 2-page excerpt from the AFSO21 Playbook provides an overview of the 8-step model

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