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Critical Thinking for Continuous Improvement

Quality management offers a variety of tools to achieve continuous improvement: Pareto Charts, Root Cause Analysis, Failure Modes Effects Analysis,  to name a few. So what is behind the successful use of these quality tools?  Critical thinking!

According to the Foundation for Critical Thinking, critical thinking also requires continuous improvement to avoid irrationality, prejudice, bias, self interest and conflict of interest, etc.

“The important thing is not to stop questioning.” Albert Einstein

Critical thinkers seek better ways of doing things. At the same time, critical thinking does not happen on its own.

Standards for Thinking

There are intellectual standards that can be applied to critical thinking. The Critical Thinking for Children series provides a clear and simple version of these standards.

These standards are: be clear, be accurate, be relevant, be logical and be fair.

Part 3 of this series for children “Standards for Thinking” explains these standards and the questions that can be used to ensure that the standards for critical thinking are met.

Part 3: Standards for Thinking:

Critical Thinking for Children also enables us to take apart our thinking to find the problems in our thinking patterns.

Parts of Critical Thinking

Parts of thinking breaks critical thinking down into eight parts and provides questions to ask for each of these parts

Part 4: Parts of Thinking:

Without good critical thinking, quality tools may bring the right process but not necessarily the right content. Critical thinking skills provide the rigour necessary for continuous improvement in quality management. Although for children, these YouTube videos provide simple instructions on how to apply and enhance the critical thinking skills required for good decision making and quality improvement.

About the author:

Ruth Stanley

Ruth Stanley is the Chair Elect 2017, Ottawa Valley Section.

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