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The Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0064| July 30, 2002
5,700 Subscribers


Self-Mastery
Skill

Critical Thinking Skill-Building for Facilitators-- Know What You Know, and What You Don't Know


The Point

Last week, Metacognition was introduced as the first tool for improving critical thinking. Assessing your knowledge-base is the first step in Metacognition.

To improve critical thinking skills, you must assess what it is you know and don't know. This does not mean counting every fact you know - it means analyzing the areas where you have a lot of knowledge and identifying the areas in which you know nothing or very little.

Example

Often we know a lot about a subject because it interests us. For example, if you like to cook you may know a great deal about food. Those who hate cooking may know little about food. You may know a lot about personal finances but next to nothing about corporate finances. No one has expertise in every area!
We may know a lot about something because we are gifted in that area. 

For example, those who have mechanical abilities know more about how machines work than those who don't. You may have a lot of knowledge about language because you are a gifted writer, but have no real knowledge about music because you have no music talent.

Having a broad knowledge-base in a subject doesn't mean you know everything about it. Even when you know a lot about a topic, it is important to keep an open, inquisitive mind in the critical thinking process! One advantage in knowing the areas in which you have some expertise is this: your confidence is legitimate when you take a position based on accurate self-awareness of your knowledge strengths.

Knowing what you don't know leads you to become a better thinker by motivating you to ask for help or to put more effort into strengthening areas of weakness. Knowing what you don't know and admitting it will make you more credible when you decide to take a position on a subject. Asking for help when you need it and looking for more knowledge can become your strengths, rather than your weaknesses.

In facilitation, an awareness of what knowledge the group brings to the process will help you facilitate problem-solving based on the strengths of the group. You can help the group tap its collective gifts! Knowing the areas of weakness in the group's knowledge will help you direct the process to the task of gathering more information in order to produce a better outcome.

The next article in the series will discuss the issues of bias, emotion, and conditioning in the critical thinking process. Stay tuned!

About the Author

Deborah Osborne is a consultant, a crime analyst, a poet, and a book author. She has a BA in psychology, worked eight years in applied behavioral analysis, holds an MA in Social Policy, and is a MENSA member. She is available to assist you in becoming a better thinker through personal coaching - write to her at daosborne@aol.com for more information about consulting and/or coaching services.


Action

This week, make three lists in your journal. List as many of the following as you can think of at the moment:
- The subjects/areas in which you know a lot.
- The subjects/areas where you know nothing or very little.
- The subjects where you know something but not enough to have any confidence in your knowledge-base.

Add to this list regularly. The point is to become aware. Don't look at this as a negative process because we never are expected to know everything. In fact, it is a serious fault if you think you do! The lists will help you recognize some areas that you may want to increase your knowledge and thus increase your thinking confidence. Self-awareness is the foundation of meta-thinking! Please email me your comments.


cartoon image of a talking man.

Reader Survey 

Please share your experiences and perspectives around the use of facilitation in relationships and family life.

We'd like to hear about your experiences as either a facilitator or participant in working with families and/or intimate relationships. What is unique about facilitation and/or the role of the facilitator in this arena? Please email me your inputs and I'll send the entire collection to those who contribute.

If you know someone who might benefit and enjoy this newsletter, please send this link to a friend.


picture of Steve Davis, editor of the Master Facilitator Journal.

About the Author: 
Steve Davis is a Business and Life Coach facilitating others to reach  their full potential in their business and personal lives. Please email your stories, comments, suggestions, and ideas. Or call me at 800-216-3854. I'd love to hear from you. If you find this newsletter helpful, please forward it to your friends. Thanks for reading! 


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Thank you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal.  Look for your next issue on August 6, 2002.   


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