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9 Putting it all together

We have covered a wide range of aspects of thinking, particularly those concerned with clear and critical thinking. At this stage, you may find it useful to consider how ideas like these can be put together in ways that will help you when you engage in activities such as reading, writing, speaking and listening. Here is a checklist to use when making judgements about things that you hear, see and experience.

  • Who is speaking or writing?

  • <
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8.2 Broadening perception

Particular perspectives and points of view underpin speaking and writing. Being successful at many academic tasks, including balanced argument, often requires us to be conscious of and to try to break away from our usual perspectives and ways of thinking, and to attend to things we might not normally notice. The challenge is often to be more open-minded and broad in our thinking, to consider more than one point of view in the way that the caffeine article did. It can be useful to have strateg
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8.1 Balanced argument

In many instances, we are not just concerned with arguing a particular case or taking a particular point of view, we are interested in looking at all sides of an issue and producing a balanced argument. This can be helpful in drawing conclusions on an issue.

3.1 Thinking in a higher gear

While we can all think, it is important to recognize that the thinking skills we have looked at so far are not all required or equally valued in academic work. Common to all subjects and levels is the concept of higher and lower order thinking skills. Higher order skills are considered to be more complex than lower order skills. The triangle model (Author(s): The Open University

Introduction

This Unit is designed to take you on a journey of understanding. You will be introduced to a variety of thinking skills and ways of extending and developing your thinking. You will begin by looking at why thinking skills are important in education, and what kinds of skills are valued. You will then move on to some practical strategies and ideas for further activities and reading.


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5.1 Introduction

You have almost reached the end of Learning to change and we hope that you will continue to use learning to achieve change in your life. This section is an opportunity to reflect on what you have learned as a result of doing the unit. ‘Reflecting backwards’ is an important part of learning because it helps you to be clear about what you have learned. Looking back also enables you to hold on to what you have learned after the unit finishes. This means that you can ‘reflect
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4.4.4 Specific

You need to be quite clear what you are setting out to do. If you are not clear, your goal may be open to different interpretations and you may become unsure of what you intended. For example, suppose you chose a goal like ‘to get better at giving people feedback’. This could be interpreted in at least two ways:

  1. To improve your self-confidence about giving feedback, so that you no longer get nervous about having to do i
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4.2.2 Human capital theory

This theory argues that the development of people as a resource (human capital) is as important in creating an internationally competitive country as the equipment to make things (industrial capital), or the money to set up new enterprises (financial capital). The need to develop the right sort of human capital can be seen to underpin many social, as well as economic, policies – education and training are prime examples of policy areas where human capital thinking is used to highlight the i
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3.3.1 Why it might be useful

The main similarity between using academic theory and getting feedback is that both can offer you a perspective that may be different from your own. We have already seen how additional perspectives can be valuable in rounding out the understanding that you have about yourself. One possible big advantage with academic theory is that this additional perspective can come from someone who has become recognised as an expert or authority. Drawing on theory opens up the possibility of building on th
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3.2.2 What problems might you have with getting feedback?

Only you can answer this. However, you might think that you will not find it easy to ask someone else to be a mentor and give you feedback about your own qualities, knowledge or skills. There may be all sorts of reasons for this. You might not feel that you know anyone that you would trust to give you feedback in a way in which you would find helpful. Acting as a feedback giver can put someone in such a powerful position that you might feel uncomfortable. You might feel that you do not know a
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3.1 Introduction

This section is the second step in using learning to help you achieve your own personal goals for change and development. This second step is really about developing additional ways to build on the evidence you gathered about yourself in Section 2. In particular it considers how other people can help you change. There are two main aspects to this. The first is about involving other people so that you can get feedback from them and increase the depth of your own self-understanding. The second
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References

Adair, J. and Allen, M. (1999) Time Management and Personal Development, London, Hawksmere.
Allen, D. (2001) Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, London, Penguin Books.
Bennett, A. (1910) How to live on 24 Hours a Day [online], http://www.web-books.com/Classics/AuthorsAD/Bennett/How/Home.htm (Accessed 18 October 2006).
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2.4.6 Your communication skills

The next activity is an opportunity to reflect on your own communication skills. Recognising which skills you already have and use is an important first step towards being able to value and develop them. If you are considering embarking on significant change then you will need to communicate with other people at some point. You may need to explain to people who are close to you what changes you are thinking about. Or you may need to use communication skills to enlist the help of other people.
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2.4.5 Reflecting on communication skills

Communication can be approached in terms of the skills needed to get a hoped-for response. By seeing communication in terms of skills, it is easier to focus on what skills you already have and use. Once you have a reasonably clear picture about this, it is much easier to see where you might want to act to increase your communication strengths and decrease any weaknesses.

It can be useful to try assessing what you see as someone else’s communication skills before you think about your o
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2.4.3 Skills

When it comes to thinking about using learning to achieve personal change, this is often couched in terms of acquiring skills that are useful for work. As we suggested in Section 1, this can lead to a rather narrow definition of change which translates as ‘getting a better job’. The importance of secure and satisfying work cannot be denied. But there are many other important aspects to life that do not involve paid work. These include relationships with family and friends, voluntary activ
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2.1 Introduction

This unit is about using learning to bring about personal change. This assumes that learning can help achieve such change. Section 2 aims to be the first step in showing you how this is possible. This section has three separate but related aspects:

  1. Section 2 looks at what the word ‘learning’ includes. This turns out to be a very wide ranging idea that suggests that human beings learn all the time. What we learn has impo
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Acknowledgements

All materials included in this unit are derived from content originated at the Open University.

1. Join the 200,000 students currently studying with The Open University.


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5.2.1 When to look at the question

At what stage do you look at the title of your next assignment?

Activity 8

Note down what you think are the advantages and disadvantages of looking at the title before and after starting to work through the relevant section of your c
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8.4 Carrying out research

During this stage you get down to the business of analysing and interpreting the meanings of all your primary and secondary source material (documents, reports, newspaper accounts, books and articles), in the ways outlined in the previous sections of this unit. As you do so you will be making notes towards your project report. In this connection, it is very important to write down full references for all the material you use as you read each item. Then you can easily find partic
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2.1 Reading

Before you begin your interrogation of a text, though, you have to get to know it in a general way. In a sense, you can ‘see’ visual texts (such as paintings, sculptures and buildings) all at once; there they are before you. You can move around them, looking at them from different angles. But with written, aural and moving image texts – in which words, sounds or images follow on from one another – you cannot become familiar with the whole thing until
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