July 14, 2020 marked part 10 of Dr. Jim White’s live Critical Thinking series, which airs every Tuesday at 6:30 pm EST. With two episodes left to complete the series, White reviewed last week’s episode which included topics like problem solving, identifying inconsistencies in the critical thinking process, trusting your instincts, the importance of asking why, and evaluating solutions.
Critical Thinking, Part X.
This week, White invited his loyal viewership to imagine a virtual conference room, where viewers would learn to combine all of the new skills they’ve accumulated in the Critical Thinking series. “A skill is only beneficial if it’s easy to apply,” White told his audience Tuesday. In this session, viewers learned how to retain new skills, how to reflect and learn from mistakes, how to practice critical thinking, and ask rich questions.
1. Retaining new skills
2. Reflect and learn from mistakes
3. Understanding the critical thinking process better
4. Asking rich questions
5. Practicing critical thinking
Dr White’s fifth book, The Next Big Thing in Politics, will be released around Labor Day, just in time for our critical election season.
Now that we have learned many new critical thinking skills, the next challenge is to retain them. There are many methods to help retain new critical thinking skills including developing a schema for developing and organizing new information and practicing critical thinking skills regularly.
During a virtual exercise, Dr. White asked his audience to write down the method they use to retain information. Possible answers to the exercise included: keep learning more about the skill, learn more about how you think and your thinking process, learn more about how the mind processes information, and teach someone how to become a critical thinker. White noted that becoming a teacher is one of the best ways to reinforce your skills.
A problem is a gap or barrier between where an individual is and where they want to be. The problem is the initial state from Point A to the goal. All possible solutions are passed leading to the goal and are in the problem space. White warns that many people accidentally work on the symptom of the problem, rather than the problem itself.
As a virtual exercise, White had the audience write down their reflections in a SWOT analysis, adding that he regularly likes to reflect on his own strengths and weaknesses.
The more you engage in critical thinking, the more the process will come automatically. Practice, practice, practice, and identify different ways to solve a problem. In this section, Dr. White referenced a 2008 health study that indicated medical errors cost the US economy 19.5 billion dollars.
He noted that in 2020, trillions of dollars are wasted due to a lack of critical thinking decision making. Displeased with many politicians, White revealed the release of his upcoming book, The Next Big Thing in Politics. White’s ten principle guide to restoring America will publish in early September 2020 and will have its own webinar series.
The importance of being inquisitive cannot be emphasized enough in the process of critical thinking. One contribution that Socrates made to civilization was that he advocated the questioning process during debate. Learning is the process sparked by the desire to know more.
In a virtual exercise, Dr. White encouraged viewers to ask as many generic questions as they could to get more information.
He provided the following generic questions:
- What is an example of X?
- How could X be used to do X?
- What would happen if?
- How do you think X would see this issue?
The best way to improve your critical thinking skills is to practice. White recommends grabbing your partner, child, or friend to make a game of it and ask questions. Critical thinking and creative thinking support each other.
In the thinking process, you have to be able to use all of your senses and synergy to pull together the parts that appear to be separate. A special mark of a creative person is the ability to find problems, while also being open minded.
Next week, Dr. White will start wrapping up the Critical Thinking series and bringing it all together. While these sessions are coming to a close, White hopes this is just the beginning of your critical thinking journey. He gave his viewers a bit of homework.
For next week, viewers should put together an action plan of something they might want to accomplish, maybe a new goal or career path, and start using these tools. The following week, White will conclude with a high-level review. A new webinar series on The Next Big Thing in Politics will premiere in early September. In the thinking process, you have to be able to use all of your senses and synergy to pull together the parts that appear to be separate. A special mark of a creative person is the ability to find problems, while also being open minded.