Viewers tuned in on Tuesday night for Part 8 of Dr. Jim White’s Critical Thinking webinar series. Dr. White began his session with a reminder that his sole intent in preparing his lectures each week is to provide viewers with content they can use to improve their personal and professional lives. He continued, recapping last week’s episode which focused on the benefits of critical thinking. Briefly touching on strategies to be more persuasive, problem solve and communicate more effectively and increase emotional intelligence, White transitioned from last week’s topic to today’s – perspective.
Critical Thinking, Part VIII.
Considering this week’s topic, Dr. White addressed the following aspects of critical thinking:
1. Changing your perspective
2. Limitations of your point of view
3. Considering others’ viewpoints
4. Influences on bias
5. Receiving new information
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.
Dr. White conceded that we all have perspectives, and that their uniqueness is one of the great things about them. In previous episodes, viewers learned how important having an open mind is to critical thinking. One aspect of open-mindedness is it makes people more receptive to others’ viewpoints.
Having an open mind and bias relate to the critical thinker’s point of view. The less open minded a person is, the more bias they have. The challenge in critical thinking is to avoid limitations of your point of view and not be constrained by cognitive or mental blinders. White recommends taking off your blinders and opening your mind.
Dr. White discussed how to consider other viewpoints from his own experiences. Sometimes, when interacting with staff or coworkers, they’ll offer ideas you’re already familiar with or have had experience with. White feels like sometimes he knows what his staff will say before they’ve said it.
In these instances, it’s important to control your bias and be open to other ideas. We find it difficult to consider another person’s viewpoint because we are overly concerned with our own views and opinions. White gives the example of a graduate student working with middle schoolers. The perspectives and experiences are different, but both need to work together to find a common ground. For the more experienced party, they need to do everything they can to move ahead and provide the less experienced party with tools for success. In these instances, White recommends having an open mind and being willing to do the work – all while looking towards the bigger picture.
White detailed two influences on bias, the way the person interprets information they’re receiving and the way the presenter frames the question. In the first example, interpretations are based on culture and experience. In the second example, White acknowledges that hypothetical questions influence behavior and promote bias. His advice? Accept hypotheticals as what they are – not factual.
When critical thinkers receive new information, they should organize new information through an organizational schema.
Before the end of tonight’s show, Dr. White stressed the importance of remaining vigilant during the Covid-19 pandemic. Noting that the virus is again on the rise in the United States, White cautioned that the economy will be severely devastated if we continue to ignore social distancing orders in place. Emphasizing the importance of flattening the curve, White affirmed that this pandemic knows no boundaries or ethnic groups – and that we are in this together.
White took a few minutes at the end of the broadcast to answer questions from last week’s lecture before revealing that he will be tackling problem solving, identifying inconsistencies, trusting your instincts, asking why, and evaluating solutions next week on Part 9 of his Critical Thinking webinar series.