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Copyright D Gurney 2006

Critical Thinking
An Introduction to Situation Awareness and Decision Making

Thinking about thinking

Copyright D Gurney 2006

Introduction
This self-study guide provides advice on how to improve your thinking and introduces the associated aspects of situation awareness and decision making. These activities are essential processes in threat and error management, which must be used in daily operations. Thinking is the core skill in these activities; critical thinking involves controlling your thinking:- thinking about the quality of your thinking.
The guide is in five sections: 1. Threat and Error Management 2. Situation Awareness 3. Decision Making 4. Critical Thinking 5. Situation Awareness and Decision Making

Everyone thinks; it is our nature to do so. But much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed or down-right prejudiced. Yet the quality of our life and that of what we produce, make, or build depends precisely on the quality of our thought. Poor thinking is costly, both in money and in quality of life. Excellence in thought, however, must be systematically and continuously cultivated.

Copyright D Gurney 2006

Threat and Error Management


Threat and Error Management (TEM) is a major safety process in aviation.
TEM consists of detecting, avoiding or trapping threats and errors that challenge the safety of flight operations. Where threats and errors are not contained the resulting conditions must be managed and their adverse effects reduced.

All flight and ground operations


Threats Errors Undesired States

Detect Avoid / Trap Mitigate Resist Resolve Recover Plane Path People

Situation Awareness

Decision Making

Fly the aircraft, Navigate, Communicate, Manage

Critical Thinking - Situation Awareness and Decision Making

Copyright D Gurney 2006

Situation Awareness
Situation Awareness is having an accurate understanding of your surroundings, where you are, what happened, what is happening, what is changing, why, and what could happen.
Good situation awareness requires:
1. 2. 3.

Gathering data (sensing, perception), seeking cues in the environment Assembling information to give understanding (comprehension) and then thinking ahead (projection)

Thinking about situation awareness involves:

directing your attention to seek data; scanning a range of sources evaluating information without bias, for accuracy and relevance understanding, using your knowledge and previous experiences comparing and checking, visualising future events - what if planning ahead, considering possible outcomes

Gathering data Understanding Planning Ahead

Situation

Now

Future

Plane Path People


Critical Thinking - Situation Awareness and Decision Making

Copyright D Gurney 2006

Decision Making
Decision making is about assessment and choosing a course of action
Decision making requires an understanding of the situation and controlled thinking The situation determines the urgency of the decision, the risks, and actions

Controlled thinking:

THINK

Reduces risk Moderates behaviour Manages time constraints Uses knowledge; seeks options Judges relevance and the quality of the choice Prepares for action, evaluates the outcome of planned action OODA Observe Orient

Deduce Act

DECIDE Detect a change Estimate significance Choose a safe outcome Identify possible actions Do take action Evaluate the result

GRADE Gather Information Review Information Analyse Alternatives Decide Evaluate Outcome of Action

5D Detect Determine Decide Do Discipline

Expertise involves knowing how to decide, grade, and think how to use all of the elements
Critical Thinking - Situation Awareness and Decision Making

Copyright D Gurney 2006

Critical Thinking
Critical thinking provides the mental control and discipline required for situation assessment and decision making. It involves several skills; these can be learnt, practiced, and improved.
Control your mind by:

Seeking and understanding information, facts, and data Effective planning, briefing, and communication Increasing knowledge; gaining experience Critical Thinking is the skill of Learning within a situation (context) thinking about your thinking

Maintain discipline by:


Being aware of how you think; hazardous attitudes Evaluating your actions; having self regulation Being aware of all available resources Being sensitive to feedback

Thinking inside the box before you think outside of the box

Are you in charge of your thinking, or is your thinking in charge of you?


Critical Thinking - Situation Awareness and Decision Making

Copyright D Gurney 2006

Critical Thinking - Self awareness


Self awareness - self questioning, self monitoring
Am I biased in my thinking Have I made a plan for what I want to do Are my ideas or knowledge on this issue correct Am I aware of my thinking; what am I trying to do Am I using all of the resources for what I want to do Am I evaluating my thinking, what I would do differently next time Am I aware of how well I am doing; do I need to change my actions or intentions Monitoring is checking or testing the accuracy of a situation on a regular basis. It is keeping a close watch over parameters and supervising the outcome of planned action. It is checking for threats and errors in our thinking

Critical Thinking - Situation Awareness and Decision Making

Copyright D Gurney 2006

Critical Thinking - Knowledge


Improving your thinking with Knowledge
Knowledge of Yourself

A Commitment to safety, not following feelings or preference Positive Attitudes, persistence, resourcefulness, learning from failure Attention to detail and seeing the big picture; determining relevance, assessing risk

Knowledge about the Thinking Processes


Knowing the facts necessary to do a task by seeking information Knowing how to do a task, how to scan, understand, and think ahead Knowing why certain strategies work, when to use them, why one is better than another

Knowledge to control your Thinking


Self evaluation, assessing current technical knowledge, setting objectives, selecting resources Self regulation, checking progress; reviewing choices, procedures, and objectives Planning, choosing and evaluating a path to the objective

Planning is the process of thinking about what you will do in the event of something happening or not happening

Critical Thinking - Situation Awareness and Decision Making

Copyright D Gurney 2006

Critical Thinking - Behaviour


Improving your thinking by changing behaviour
Changing your thinking habit requires effort; clear thinking is an essential part of airmanship, which has to be developed throughout your career. Basic training only provides those skills necessary to be safe.

Safe:

Continuation training and experience enables an effective operation.

Effective: More technical knowledge, practiced skills, and more experience leads to an efficient operation. Efficient: Expert: Skilful command in controlling the aircraft and team leadership adds experience and moves towards an expert operation. An operator who has gained and who maintains a high standard of technical and non-technical skills as a result of great personal effort.

Expert thinkers Focus on relevant issues Identify essential information Consider information on merit Test and check the basis of their awareness and decisions

Critical Thinking - Situation Awareness and Decision Making

Copyright D Gurney 2006

Critical Thinking - Personal Briefing


Improving your thinking - Briefing
Before flight, self briefing reinforces memory cues and knowledge, these aid the recall of information for use in situation assessment and decision making.

Know on what, who, where, and when to prioritise you attention Always brief routine operations repetition aids memory Structure the briefing along the intended flight path Visualise your actions (plane, path, people) Consider the significant threats Recall lessons from training Refresh SOPs Questions

Do not rush: Your thoughts control your actions


Critical Thinking - Situation Awareness and Decision Making

Copyright D Gurney 2006

Critical Thinking - Personal Debrief


Improving your thinking - Debrief
After each flight consider the following points; Plus, Minus, Interesting (PMI) Plus:What was good What went according to plan

Minus:What was not so good, and why What didnt you know, find the answer before the next flight

Interesting:Have you changed the way in which you see things; threats, risks, people or procedures What did you learn, why, and where did the information come from Will you share this with others, if not why not Anything for a safety event report (ASR) Any issues for confidential reporting Did you experience:-

High workload Poor attitudes Biased opinions Mismanaged time Unanswered questions

Plus

Minus Interesting
Debriefing

Critical Thinking - Situation Awareness and Decision Making

Copyright D Gurney 2006

Thinking about Situation Awareness and Decision Making


Situation Awareness and Decision Making depend on our ability to think.
Thinking enables humans to be very successful, but this ability also enables errors, which if not controlled increase the risks in our daily activities.

Value your it wisely All flight andability, ground use operations


Threats Errors Undesired States

Senses:
See Hear Touch Smell Taste

Situation Awareness Decision Making

Feedback Action Response Monitor

Pattern recognition Comparison


Working memory Long term memory - knowledge, bias, beliefs

Choice Selection Review

Critical Thinking - Situation Awareness and Decision Making

Copyright D Gurney 2006

Critical Thinking - for Situation Awareness


Critical thinking for Situation Awareness seeking information Essential components:

Accuracy; is the information true Clarity; is the information understood Precision, seek detail to understand the situation Relevance, is the information connected to the situation Depth, does the information address the complexity of the situation Breadth, are there other points of view or other ways to consider this situation Logic, does your understanding of the situation make sense

Whenever you dont understand something, ask yourself a question for clarification

?
Critical Thinking - Situation Awareness and Decision Making

Copyright D Gurney 2006

Critical Thinking - for Decision Making


Critical thinking for Decision Making the choice of action
Essential components:

What are the immediate risks What is the time available for the decision State the objective of the decision to be made Identify information to be used in making the decision Gather the evidence and information required to make a decision Make a decision based on criteria (a safe outcome), information, and risks

Ask, what does the evidence and information mean considering the objective?

Situation
Routine
Needs

Skill

Almost automatic action; actions have been thought-through during training

Trained For

Uses

Rules

Think about which action applies to the situation, compare with training

Unusual Novel

Requires

Knowledge

Think about the situation, compare with standard actions, training, and previous experience

Critical Thinking - Situation Awareness and Decision Making

Copyright D Gurney 2006

Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is at the centre of all safety processes and human activity.

Threat and Error Management

Critical Thinking

Situation

Awareness

Decision Making

Critical Thinking - Situation Awareness and Decision Making