Albuquerque, New Mexico
June 24, 2001
June 24, 2001
June 27, 2001
6.314.1 - 6.314.9
Critical Thinking, Communications, and Teamwork
Terrence L. Freeman St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley
The last quarter of the twenty-first century has witnessed a time of accelerating change and increasing complexity. One of the complexities is the change in demographics that employers and academic institutions are experiencing. Another complexity is the changing nature of work. Today’s graduate can anticipate several job and/or career changes before retirement. Beyond technical competence, employers consistently rank communication skills, teamwork, creative thinking, and problem solving as the primary skills that they seek in prospective employees1. Beyond employment, these traits could be defined as critical success skills for a rapidly changing world. Collaborative education is one approach that institutions of higher education can utilize within the curriculum to develop and reinforce these skills. The study habits of team members and how they are assigned to functional teams have a strong impact on skill development. Effective high performing teams have a clear mission, are results driven, are committed to team success, operate in a climate of trust and collaboration, maintain standards of excellence, and demonstrate good communication skills2. In order to help students progress in the “buzz word” areas of critical thinking, communication and teamwork, it may be helpful to explore related topics such as coping with change, establishing interdependent relationships, valuing diversity, managing stress, overcoming negativity, thinking creatively, sustaining motivation, and maintaining resilience.
Beyond Critical Thinking Most activities do not require creative thinking or application. Habit and routine are generally more than sufficient to accomplish day-to-day tasks and challenges. Too many people accept the notion that they are not creative, and that the best ideas belong to other people. Sometimes, creative thinking is equated with intelligence. Intelligence alone, however, does not assure good thinking. Intelligence may be more aptly associated with the capacity for creative thought rather than the extent to which that capacity is utilized. Knowledge may be the foundation of the creative thought process, but knowledge is not what makes a person creative. Critical thinking is emphasized frequently as a goal in education, but the ability to think critically is only one dimension of the creative thought process that students should develop. Creative thinking requires an attitude and an approach to manipulating knowledge and experience that facilitates the development of new ideas. The key is thinking about knowledge in new ways. Creative thinking can be taught and reinforced, but the process demands more from students and teachers than memorization and regurgitation of facts and formulas.
Debono (1995) describes a dozen diagnostic, analytical, and evaluative processing skills that contribute to creative thinking3: (1) recognition, (2) interpreting clues, (3) concept formation, (4) generating possibilities, (5) judgment, (6) developing alternatives, (7) comparison & choice, (8) analysis, (9) perception, (10) values & feelings, (11) design, and (12) problem solving. “Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2001, American Society for Engineering Education”
Freeman, T. (2001, June), Critical Thinking, Communications, And Teamwork Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. https://peer.asee.org/9058
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