Comprehensive Training Course for a Professional Team

“There are some real insights in the course that helped my team to ‘think outside the box’. Hopefully this change is going to be permanent!” Sinead T, London, England

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Course Overview: (PDF)

The aim of the Critical Thinking Team Course is to stimulate awareness and develop the skills of critical thinking, decision making and creative problem-solving techniques in an engaging way.

The course components are as follows:

1.0. Critical Thinking – Team Meeting 1

Materials/ activities: Pathway, Routes and Junctions worksheet (one per participant), Automatic or Considered worksheet (one per participant), Desert Island worksheet (one per 2-3 participants), Would you rather cards (one set per 3-4 participants), Habits of Good Problem Solvers sheet (one per participant), Pelmanism game (one set per 3-4 participants).

Aims: To encourage participants to think about the choices they make in more detail, and increase awareness of the sheer number of choices we make every day and how each one of them can affect our lives in surprising ways. Introduce students to concepts of choices, decision-making, consequences and the importance of memory for learning.

2.0. Critical Thinking – Team Meeting 2

Materials/ activities: Consequences cards (one set per 2 participants), Name Them worksheet (one each or per pair), Venn Diagram worksheet (for each student or pair), PMI worksheet (one each), Making a Cheese Sandwich cards (one set per 2-3 participants), Goal-Reasons Web worksheet (one per participant), Goals and Targets worksheet (one per participant), My Goals worksheet (one per participant).

Aims: To help participants understand aims, sequences and consequences of choices and why in order to improve the consequences of our decisions we must improve our decision making awareness and ability using various techniques. To increase self-belief and confidence for setting goals. To encourage effective teamwork and co-operation. To encourage participants to develop analytic thinking for sorting data and ideas into categories by using Venn diagrams and De Bono’s PMI (Plus Minus Interesting) creative brainstorming tools.

3.0. Critical Thinking – Team Meeting 3

Materials/ activities: Beef or Chicken Tub sheets (one per 2-3 participants), Emotive Language sheet (one per participant), Defending and Testing Arguments (one per 2-3 participants), Perspectives sheet (one per participant), Perspectives cards (sufficient for the team size).

Aims: To introduce the importance of logical thinking to participants, along with supporting one’s claims by providing evidence. To develop debating skills based on logical arguments. To help participants understand how to use critical thinking techniques to distinguish between reliable and unreliable sources of information (fake news) using logical skills.

4.0. Critical Thinking – Team Meeting 4

Materials/ activities: 6-3-5 Brainwriting worksheet (one per participant), The Wise One Whispers worksheet (one per participant), Wise Cards (one set per pair), coloured pencils and A4 card for the artworks, Lateral Thinking cards (one set per pair).

Aims: To develop creative thinking and problem solving skills using techniques including brainstorming, brainwriting and lateral thinking. To develop creative thinking processes for role playing and simple problem solving by using the lateral thinking cards as a way to solve business issues in an exciting and unique way.

5.0. Critical Thinking – Team Meeting 5

Materials/ activities: Moral Dilemmas card game (one set), What Would You Do? Sheet (one per participant).

Aims: To develop participants’ abilities to deal with moral dilemmas and other difficult decisions, including using explication and diagramming to make the implicit explicit. To encourage participants to solve ethical puzzles and situations. To study how the Golden Rule can inspire us to become responsible global citizens and business leaders by having decent moral principles. To study ethical leadership characteristics.

6.0. Critical Thinking – Team Meeting 6

Materials/ activities: Electricity worksheets (for every participant, ideally printed onto a 4-page booklet), Cue Cards (one per pair, ideally to be printed on card and also to be used as and when the trainer thinks it may help a group), blank A4 paper for planning, Using the Wisdom worksheet (one per participant), all bonus material sheets (one per participant, if not already used).

Aims: To bring the course to a close with a team meeting in which participants can use many or all of the skills and techniques studied over the previous 5 lessons and finally prepare introductory critical thinking material for other colleagues or friends and family.

Duration: 12 hours. Each of the 6 team meetings lasts approximately two hours but, in order to make the material of benefit in as a wide a range of contexts as possible, there are multiple ways that each lesson can be extended or contracted. There also are optional tasks for participants to complete in their own time.

The commonest context for the use of this series is an office in which most students have a native level command of the English language and where there is sufficient technology available to be able to watch Powerpoint presentations, use a board or flipchart for notes, and go online for research purposes. However, once again we have made things as flexible as possible to allow for the widest possible use of the contents of the meetings.

By the end of the course, participants should be able to explain their ideas and decisions well to other people, understand other perspectives and accept criticisms, demonstrate knowledge of creative problem solving and have an enhanced understanding of social responsibility and ethics.

Extra materials included:

The following materials are included for use in conjunction with the main course materials. They will be useful when completing tasks (particularly in the 6th Team Meeting) and also as something to come back again after completing the course or as a way into more specialized study.

Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Brainstorming Basics.

Critical Thinking Quick Reference Guide.

Important Critical Thinkers from Ancient History to the Present Day.

Qualities of a Critical Thinker.

  • Learn effective decision making and problem solving skills
  • Increase self-belief, awareness and co-operation
  • Gain insights into creativity and innovative thinking
  • Implement ethical choices as responsible global citizens
  • Use key analytical tools to boost business growth and success

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“We thought the activities were thought-provoking and useful for thinking from different perspectives in a team.” David H, Gateshead, England