CRITICAL THINKING AND DECISION MAKING

THE HUMAN MIND
 Unlimited

possibilities and capabilities

Module 1
STEP 1
Begin with an exercise that triggers the thought process of the students

PUT YOUR THINKING CAPS ON
A

Dwarf lives on the 20th floor of a sky scrapper. Every morning he goes into the lift, pushes the correct button, and is taken to the ground floor; he goes off to work and comes back in the evening. He enters the lift, pushes the button, and goes up to the 10th floor; he then walks up the rest of the stairs. The question is: Why doesn’t he go up to the 20th floor in lift?

The Dwarf and the Elevator

The Follow-up
 Explain

the logical thinking that is required in this question.  Now introduce them to critical thinking

THE NEXT STEP
 What

is critical thinking?  In simple words - it is logical and analytical thinking

IN OTHER WORDS….
 It

is the process of carefully considering every aspect of a question / situation/ problem  Leads you to workable solutions as the mind engages itself in various ways to solve a unique problem.  The neurons in the mind work like a big, complicated hard disc and deconstruct a theory / a problem / a situation in a logical manner.

Step 2
 After

the definition, go to your illustrations which translate and connect the definition to real life

EXAMPLE 1

This illustration explains how the human brain can outwit a computer through a process of critical thinking.

ILLUSTRATION 1

We are all aware that computers work on logical premises. So, a computer does not commit any errors. Since it is programmed to function in a particular way, if the end user follows the instructions step by step, answering / ticking all questions / answers, nothing goes wrong. When something goes wrong, our critical thinking helps us to set things right – critical thinking here refers to one’s ability to think rationally.

Rohit and critical thinking
 Rohit

is a dept. head in a non-IT company. There are about 15 people who are working in the company at his level. All of them share three systems, which connect them to the internet. The systems are periodically checked by the Systems Department. More often than not, one of the three is dead, not working, goes into a coma, or behave a in an eccentric manner; the non IT managers are all endusers, but think very logically and critical thinking is their forte.

Why did Rohit use his critical thinking

One of the systems in Rohit’s department crashed, was reformatted and brought back to life. Rohit and his colleagues enthusiastically started to use it. When they got connected to the net, it was quite successful. But, the second time when they keyed in their user name, there was an unexpected development. The computer automatically remembered their password too! Oh, God, how did this happen? None of them had ticked the tick sign in the box that says Remember this password. Some did not bother. Others were worried. Rohit did not want to give up. It is only a machine, why can’t there be a logical solution to the problem?

The Human Brain VS The Computer

How did Rohit use his critical thinking

Rohit arrived at a clever solution. Confuse the computer, he thought to himself. The next time, he got connected, he typed in his username, deleted the password – the real and genuine password – and keyed in a cooked up password. The computer naturally told, the username and password do not match! He keyed in the real password now, ticked the box not to remember it and …. The trick worked!! He then went to settings, and instructed the computer not to remember the passwords and from then on, the computer did not come up with any of their passwords!

Critically think!
 That

is what we call as critical thinking, wherein, you delve into a problem logically and decide and implement it successfully.

STEP 3
 Move

on to a different kind of critical thinking process  The purpose – to make the student to think of a critical situation and explain how it is solved

ILLUSTRATION 2
 It

is an age of borrowed money - be it credit cards, or loans from banks for big projects like buying a house. Rishabh is just 35 and works in a multinational company, and his compensation package includes a company- leased accommodation and his eligibility for this is Rs. 25,000 per month. The company also takes care of the advance amount that is normally paid ( that is, 10 months of rent )

Rishabh, who is living in one such Company leased accommodation , is advised by his auditor that he should buy his own house, give it for lease to his company and stay there. So Rishabh applies for a loan of 50 Lakhs, for which he has to pay an EMI of Rs. 25,000 for a period of 20 years. (This EMI would be taken care of, through the rent that the company pays for his house) The flat finally costs him 60 lakhs.

 Rishabh’s

dream home (of course, on loan!!)

Rishabh is armed with critical thinking
 Besides

the loan amount of Rs. 50 lakhs, Rishabh invests Rs.10.5 lakhs, which he has saved over the years. The day after he moves in, he gets a bill for Rs.3 lakhs from the builder. Rishabh's wife panics because they do not have the amount, but he does not. .And he is able to pay the amount. How? Think logically, from reallife-point-of-view.

Critical Thinking Exercise
 Probe

into this critical thinking process  The answer stems from common sense.

ILLUSTRATION 3
 This

can be used for commerce and management students, and for others, the trainer has to explain the terms balance sheet, assets, liabilities etc, how they are calculated to be equal in a balance sheet.

INFOSYS WAY – HOW?
 We

all have heard of the success story of Infosys Technologies. They have innovated everywhere, even their Balance Sheet was innovative in its own way. .

Around 15 years ago, Infosys Technologies had put in their human resource in the column for assets in their balance sheet. In business world, this was the first time that a company considered their employees as the biggest assets and defined their value in monetary terms. How did they calculate this value in terms of crores of rupees?

The Infosys Innovation
 Let

the students think for a while and get the answer

STEP 4
 Other

aspects of Critical Thinking:  Assumptions, Fallacies, Inferences  The trainer can take up one of these and explain with an example

Exercise : Situation
A man is lying in the gutter

Assumption 1: Only drunkards lie in the gutter Inference 1: He must be a drunkard

Assumption 2 : He must have slipped accidentally Inference 2: He needs help

Assumptions that affect

Let us take the case of Sukanya; she is educated, sociable and friendly. She has a small embroidery unit and is quite talented. She is very close to her neighbor, who is separated from her husband. Sukanya is pretty, smart and young. But she wants to remain single and her parents are apparently worried.

Sukanya’s case
A

concerned cousin talked to Sukanya to find out the real reason; she could draw out the truth; Sukanya's friend has told her that all men are bad and ill-treat their wives. This fallacy or assumption that all men are bad had to be removed logically; the cousin counseled her about it and pointed out examples of other happy couples with caring and loving husbands. It took some time, but it worked.

Module 2: Decision Making
 Who

doesn’t have trouble in making decisions?

Decision making
 STEPS  Knowing

oneself  Analysis of the situation  Examining and evaluating alternatives  Prioritizing  Deciding on the best solution  Convert the decision into effective action

Decision making example

Let us take the case of Pushpa, a final year student of BCom. Her father was not keeping well and was working in a public sector unit. In spite of the family's concerted efforts to give him the best medical treatment, he passed away. On compassionate grounds, Pushpa was offered a job in the organization, since her mother was not educated. Pushpa, being a good student, was in a dilemma. As the eldest daughter of the family, she could take up the mantle of the income -earner, or could continue her studies with the financial help of relatives. But she had to say yes or no to the organization.

PUSHPA’S DECISION…?
 Pushpa

thought about the options; she could complete her degree and get a job, or start working, leaving College. She knew that even after completing the course, the salary she would get would be the same as she was being offered now. What did Pushpa decide?

MODULE 3 – THE ACTIVITIES
 The

trainer can throw open some dilemma situations that involve critical thinking and decision making and ask the students to work out the solution in groups and present the same to the class.  The trainer can also conduct a written test

Activities – Dilemma situations
 Rajat

is a BCA 6th semester student and has got placement in a call center; the salary is good and he needs to have a job to support his family; he has also got a scholarship to do his higher studies, which he had always been dreaming about. What should he do?

Activities – Dilemma Situations

You are on your way to Pune to attend an interview and the fellow traveller suddenly has a heart attack. He is also travelling alone, like you. What would you do?

ACTIVITIES – DILEMMA SITUATIONS
Naveen and you have been working on a project in a company and you are the Project leader. Naveen’s father falls sick and he has to be with him. Would you insist on Naveen’s being with you and finishing the project, or dump him from the project or help him in the crisis?

Activities – Decision making
 Knowing

yourself can make the decision making process earlier.  The following exercise can be used to help you decide and also discover what you consider to be the most important in your life.

Exercise 1
 Prepare

slips of paper in 5 different colors – and give 15 slips to each participant. (These slips of papers represent different aspects of life)

Ask the students to fill in the details in the following manner:  3 slips of pink – people who are important to you  3 slips of blue – activities that you enjoy doing  3 slips of yellow – positive perception of yourself  3 slips of green – ways in which you administer others  3 slips of white – hopes, beliefs, or dreams that you have for your life The slips can also be marked A,B,C,D and E)

Now read the instructions to the entire class
 You

are travelling to Delhi with all your papers packed, by train. Your train costs you one blue slip and one other color.  Take 2 slips, one of them blue, crumple them, and throw them into the center of the room – and then pause..  The journey continues.. You are now hungry. A companion invites you for dinner.. In exchange for 2 slips of paper

 At

Delhi, your friend provides you a place to stay for free. The next day, you go out and get lost.. The ride back costs you 2 more slips..  On your return, you want to call home.. The recorded message on the answering machine says.. 2 more slips please..  You have to shift to a hotel, which is expensive… the cost? 3 slips!

 Now,

take the remaining slips that you have, turn to the person at your left, ask him/her to pick one slip…  This leaves you with just 3 slips of paper

Analysis of the exercise
 At

every point you are giving up things.., which are the ones you gave first?  Did it seem progressively difficult to choose between people and other things of importance to you?  What were the things that you wanted to hold on till the end?

SUMMING UP
 Involve

your trainees in every step of critical thinking and decision making  Throw hints, Give clues  Your clues should lead them to logical conclusions

THANK YOU!

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