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Critical Thinking and Problem Solving


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"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." -Albert Einstein
Train your brain to look at situations and problems differently, open your mind to new ideas, and use scientific reasoning on your problems.

Published in: Career
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Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

  1. 1. Sponsored in part by the Workforce Development Agency, State of Michigan, Michigan Works!, through your local Workforce Development Board and Muskegon County Board of Commissioners. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities EEO/ADA/Employer/Programs -TTY# -711. CRITICAL THINKING AND PROBLEM SOLVING
  2. 2. In a recent study, CRITICAL THINKING was identified as one of the most important skills needed for job success, and one that is lacking inthe new workforce. “Are They Ready to Work? Employers Perspective on the Basic Knowledge and Applied Skills of New Entrants to the 21stCentury US Workforce” Conducted by The Conference Board, Partnership for 21stCentury Skills, Corporate Voices for Working Families, and Society for Human Resource Management
  3. 3. “Critical Thinking is reasonable reflectivethinking focused on deciding what to believe or do.” “Critical Thinking is best understood as the ability of thinkers to take charge of their ownthinking.”
  4. 4. Think of going into the dressing room when you’re shopping. How many times do you twist and twirl in front of the three-sided mirror before deciding whether or not to buy? Critical Thinking is the three-sided mirror of decision making; letting you look at all the angles to make the best possible choice. Another way of looking at it…
  5. 5. “With workplaces so complex and rapidly changing, combined with the recession, it’s important that newly hired employees have critical thinking skills.” By Pearson’s TalentLensGroup
  6. 6. Like most skills, critical thinking can be improved! “Critical thinking is harder than people think, because it requires knowledge.” - Joanne Jacobs “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.” - Henry Ford
  7. 7. THE PROCESS OF CRITICAL THINKING Critical Thinking Inform & Describe Discover & Explore Negotiate & Cooperate Test & Revise Integrate & Apply
  8. 8. Inform & Describe •Clarify •What you need to know •What you already know •Information you have about the issue THE PROCESS OF CRITICAL THINKING
  9. 9. Discover & Explore •Look at your issue more closely •Start to be more directed and purposeful in seeking information THE PROCESS OF CRITICAL THINKING
  10. 10. Negotiate & Cooperate •Consider different perspectives •Engage in discussion THE PROCESS OF CRITICAL THINKING
  11. 11. Test & Revise •Weigh the evidence •Test out different ideas THE PROCESS OF CRITICAL THINKING
  12. 12. Integrate & Apply •Bring together various ideas •Consolidate and articulate new understandings THE PROCESS OF CRITICAL THINKING
  13. 13. Improving Your Critical Thinking •Seek out ideas—old and new •Read books, periodicals, articles, etc. •Experiment, brainstorm, have discussions, attend exhibits •Take action •Dare to be different! •Be open minded and flexible •Apply ideas to every facet of your life •Alwaysask, “How can this be done better?”
  14. 14. •Study innovation, change, and creativity •Be curious and observant •Look at situation through the eyes of a child •Keep asking, “why” •Ask good questions •Constantly reflect on each aspect •Who, what, where, when, why, how, if, etc. Improving Your Critical Thinking
  15. 15. •Develop your reflective thinking skills •Daydream about the situation •Jump between logical, imaginative, and wild thinking •Build your knowledge and intuition base •Learn how to research and visualize •Use triggers •Find the time and place that help you think best Improving Your Critical Thinking
  16. 16. •Focus on the most relevant information •Ask the right questions •Separate facts from opinions and assumptions •Make sound decisions •Set priorities •Learn quickly •Apply what they learn to new situations Good Critical Thinkers:
  17. 17. Problem Solving There is a difference between Critical Thinking and Problem Solving. Critical Thinking is an intentional and reflective way of looking at things or circumstances, while Problem Solving focuses on a specific situation.
  18. 18. Let’s face it! In the business world, we will always have problems that need to be solved.
  19. 19. Any question or matter involving doubt, uncertainty, or difficulty. A matter about which it is difficult to decide what to do. But first…what exactly is a problem? Any negative situation, issue, or matter that is unresolved.
  20. 20. “Problem Solving is a mental process that involves discovering, analyzing, and solving problems to overcome obstacles and find a solution that best resolves the issue.” “Don’t find fault…find aremedy!” -Henry Ford “Problems are only opportunities in work clothes.” -Henri Kaiser
  21. 21. The Decision Making Process 1 2 3 4 5 6
  22. 22. The Decision Making Process 1 •Try and figure out exactly what your problem is, and write a problem statement •It helps to think of what you havebut don’t want, or what you want but don’t have 2 •Brainstorm all possible causes of the problem •Attempt to get to the very root cause •Use your inner child; keep asking “why?” 3 •Once you’ve found the cause, think of all possible solutions
  23. 23. The Decision Making Process •Using your list of possible solutions, evaluate all the possible consequences of each solution •Choose the best solution based on what is most practical •Look at effectiveness •How much risk does the proposed solution carry? •Does it fit within your budget? •Always check back to see how your solution is working, •Revise your plans as needed 4 5 6
  24. 24. Decision Making Checklist Do I have all the information I need? Have I considered all possible solutions? Will my decision help me meet my goals?
  25. 25. Does it violate any of my values? Have I considered all the consequences? Can I live with the consequences? Decision Making Checklist
  26. 26. LEARNING FROM YOUR DECISIONS: Think about: •What went well? •What did not go well? •What could be done differently?
  27. 27. “You are free to choose, but the choices you make today will determine what you will have, be and do in the tomorrow of your life.” —ZigZiglar
  28. 28. Final Thoughts •Be objective—think critically •Use your tools •Think both short-term and long-term •Check with others when decisions may affect them •Stay focused •Use your values and goals as a compass
  29. 29. “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.” -Albert Einstein
  30. 30. We hope you found this information helpful. Check us out at •Give us any questions/comments/concerns •See our workshop schedule •Learn more about Michigan Works! Muskegon-Oceana Like what you saw?
  31. 31. Sources Cited: Goodwill Industries International, Inc. Critical ThinkingDeveloping Your Decision Making SkillsPublished: December 2009 Critical-Thinkers.comThings That Make You Think: Critical Thinking Quotes By Breanne Harris, Sept. 20, 2010 Mysuperchargedlife.comMaking Positive Choices: Ideas and Thoughts about Forming Good Habits for a Good Life –Jeff, Jan. 22, 2010 About.comWhat is Problem-Solving? By Kendra Cherry Leadershipnow.comLeading Thoughts Quotes on Problem Solving