Critical thinking is a skill desired by many organizations of their employees.
Most people recognize the value in reasoning competently, reliably and open-mindedly to reach accurate conclusions and make sound decisions. But how does one develop the traits associated with critical thinking in a business or workplace context?
Tim Kenyon, Brock University’s Vice-President, Research, will be speaking about ‘Learning and enabling critical thinking’ on Wednesday, July 8 at 11 a.m. as part of the next Business Breathers webinar.
The free weekly webinar series is facilitated by the Goodman School of Businesses’ Goodman Group and features 30 minutes of live industry and faculty expert-led discussions, followed by a 15-minute question-and-answer period. Topics focus on leadership, management and innovation, as well as the financial and social impacts of trending topics.
“Critical thinking is sometimes wrongly identified with skeptical thinking or freethinking,” said Kenyon, who researches critical thinking pedagogy and has written a book and papers on the subject. “These notions often connote a kind of rugged intellectual individualism, the unchained and independent mind at a wise remove from the errors of other people. But critical thinking depends crucially on socially mediated phenomena like trust, expert consensus, deference and reliable information channels.”
Kenyon said that although it’s important for leaders to set good examples of critical thinking, for example, by seeking out information, deferring to evidence and sound process, offering reasons and admitting ignorance and error, he emphasized the importance in recognizing the underlying social and organizational infrastructure in critical thinking.
“If you want people to be sensitive to reasons, make reasons and evidence available to them,” he said. “If you want decision processes to reflect critical thinking, design and conduct them in a way that will allow sound ideas to be raised and to make a difference in the process. If there are things people should bear in mind when reasoning or acting in a professional context, then design the context to keep those things in the foreground during reflection and action.”
In addition to discussing how leaders can learn, teach and implement critical thinking in an organization, Kenyon will identify some of the social and emotional habits individuals can practise to develop critical thinking skills and make themselves and others more reliable and effective in reasoning.
Everyone is welcome to attend Business Breathers webinars. Interested participants are asked to register online. A confirmation email will provide a Lifesize link to access the webinar at the date and time it is planned.