Back to School Offer

Get 20% of Your First Order amount back in Reward Credits!

Get 20% of Your First Orderback in Rewards

All papers examples
Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)
HIRE A WRITER!
Paper Types
Disciplines
Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)

Critical Thinking Model for Use in Homeland Security, Essay Example

Pages: 11

Words: 2997

Essay

Abstract

The functions conducted by Homeland Security often require quick assessment and quicker decision-making and because of these requirements, critical thinking skills are imperative for those who perform these functions and fill the roles holding so much responsibility in Homeland Security. Because the responsibilities of those employed by Homeland Security are so filled with liability for the American people in terms of lives and property, it is necessary that a model be developed to guide the decision-making processes of these individuals. Toward this end this work will examine the ‘Elements of Thought’ of Paul and Elder (2005) as well as the book entitled “Asking the Right Questions” written by Browne and Keeley. This work will discuss combining elements from each of these models in order to combine one fully-functional critical thinking modelto be used in support of homeland security, using one historical event that might have been prevented or mitigated by using this model.

Critical Thinking Model for Use in Homeland Security

The functions conducted by Homeland Security often require quick assessment and quicker decision-making and because of these requirements, critical thinking skills are imperative for those who perform these functions and fill the roles holding so much responsibility in Homeland Security. Because the responsibilities of those employed by Homeland Security are so filled with liability for the American people in terms of lives and property, it is necessary that a model be developed to guide the decision-making processes of these individuals. Toward this end this work will examine the ‘Elements of Thought’ of Paul and Elder (2005) as well as the book entitled “Asking the Right Questions” written by Browne and Keeley.  Through this examination, a final model will be developed combining elements from these two sources in order to produce a quality critical thinking model for homeland security.This work will discuss how that critical thinking model could be used in support of homeland security, using one historical event that might have been prevented or mitigated by using this model.

Historical Event

In March of 2010, it was reported that there was a protest occurring in Gainesville, Florida due to an international graduate student from Ghana who had been shot in the face by University of Florida policeman. The incident happened due to a neighbor’s call to the police station because the individual, Adu-Brempong was heard screaming due to stress associated with his studies. The campus police are reported to have “stormed his apartment, tasered him three times and then shot him in the face with an assault rifle”. (Hamil, 2010) The injured man was hospitalized and was reported in critical condition due to having lost his tongue and jaw. It is reported that “the police action took less than 30 seconds” and stated is “incredibly, the University of Florida police charged him with a felony for ‘resisting arrest with violence’. (Hamil, 2010)

Analyzing Critical Thinking, Egocentric and Assumptions

The work of Gerras (2008) entitled “Thinking Critically About Critical Thinking: A Fundamental Guide for Strategic Leaders” states that one of the primary “impediments to the robust understanding and use of critical thinking both inside and outside the military, centers on a lack of a common definition” (p. 2). The fact is that “no one discipline owns the construct” (Gerras, 2008, p. 2).  The work of Gerras provideselements of a critical thinking model that is useful in informing the military community of a way to look at critical thinking and toward this end critical experts Paul and Elder are examined who state as follows:

“A well-cultivated critical thinker raises vital questions and problems, gathers and assesses relevant information, and can effectively interpret it; comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards; thinks open-mindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems. (Paul and Elder, 2001)[1]

This brief statement of critical thinking will be the foundational goals of our critical thinking model.  We must create a model that inherently provides its users a method to come to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions through testing and open-minded thinking processes.

The work of Paul and Elder provides a description of “several egocentric tendencies that are relatively common in military culture. Egocentric memory is a natural tendency to forget information that does not support our line of thinking.  Egocentric myopia refers to thinking within an overly narrow point of view.  Egocentric righteousness describes a tendency to feel superior based on the belief that one has actually figured out how the world works.  Egocentric blindness is the natural tendency not to notice facts and evidence that contradict what we believe or value” (Gerras, 2008, p. 2).  These are not only essential descriptions of fallacies and inaccuracies but it showcases that an individual who is a critical thinker needs to be aware of their personal egocentric tendencies when information is being presented to them and as well need to empathize with other points of view when they are relevant and as well need to apply critical thinking reasoning to the assessment.

Stated as another component to Paul and Elder’s critical thinking model is that of assumptions which is a familiar concept to military officers. An assumption is stated to be “something which is taken for granted” (Gerras, 2008, p. 3).  However, an assumption is stated to be a little different from that used to provide boundaries in the decision-making process of the military. Gerras (2008) states that as critical thinkers, military officers need to be aware “of the beliefs we hold to be true that have formed from what we have previously learned and no longer question” (p. 2).Gerras states that assumptions are held about “fat people, late people, blond women and barking dogs. There are sometimes referred to as mental models or schemas” (p. 3). These assumptions serve to affect the course of action chosen by the commander in operations. Another goal of our model will be to effectively eliminate personal biases and assumptions that can reduce the strength of critical thinking in Homeland Security.

Stated in the work of Gerras is another component of Paul and Elder’s critical thinking model and specifically the component identified as ‘inferences’. Gerras (2008) states that critical thinkers “need to be skilled at making sound inferences and at identifying when they are others are making inferences” (p .3). An inference is defined as “a step of the mind, or an intellectual leap, but which one concludes that something is true in light of something else being true, or seeming to be true” (p. 3). The assumption as stated is something ‘we take for granted‘ while an inference is “an intellectual act in which we conclude something based on a perception as to how the facts and evidenceof a situation fit together” (Gerras, 2008, p. 4). Paul and Elder note thatcritical thinkers attempt to become experts at making inferences that are sound. Inferences are affected by the point of view and assumptions that the individual brings to the issue.

Developing a Model of Critical Thinking

When developing a critical thinking model, it is first necessary to distinguish the steps to properly categorize and separate the multiple steps in the thinking process.  To achieve this, it is important to borrow from the model of Paul and Elder (2005) that separates “all thinking” into “eight distinguishable, related and necessary steps” which are referred to as the ‘elements of thought’, some of which have already been related. The elements of this model that have not yet been related include those of: (1) question at issue; (2) information; (3) implications and consequences; (4) purpose of thinking; and (5) concepts (Kiltz, 2009).Kiltz (2009) states that Paul and Elder (2005) additionally argue that successful thinkers “move more or less sequentially through a standard process of identifying problems, makingreasonable assumptions about the nature of the problems, discerning criteriaaccording to which information about the problems can be deemed relevant andwell understood, making inferences from the pertinent data and organizing theseinferences into concepts that will help in coming up with a workable solution.”(Kiltz, 2009)  This standard process is going to be the building blocks of this critical thinking model.

The first steps involve outlining the purpose, reasoning and data analysis of the thinking process.  First of all, Paul and Elder (2005) state that all reasoning has a purpose and this purpose must not only be stated properly, but it must be defined and checked periodically to ensure that the thinking process is still on target for the specified purpose.  The second step is to state the question and express it in several ways to clarify its meaning and scope.  One question may lead to a listing of subquestions that can be used to help guide the critical thinking process.  Finally, the goal is to determine which questions can be answered definitively by factual data as opposed to answers that are a matter of opinion.  In the end, all reasoning is based on data and factual information that can be used as evidence in answering the question to achieve the overall purpose.  Only those answers and claims from the questions that are supported by factual data should be utilized.

However, to avoid the previously discussed personal biases of egocentrism and assumptions, it is important for the thinking process to involve a search for information and data that opposes the thinker’s position.  All data must be clear, relevant and accurate within this analysis.  Therefore, all reasoning and inferences must be based on logical standards and void of all possible sources of logical fallacies, egocentrism and assumptions.  After inferences have been made, the thinker must then analyze these inferences to eliminate any possible egocentric assumptions or incorrectness from the potential conclusions.  While Paul and Elder utilized additional steps to determine the point-of-view and additionally defining assumption in their model, this critical thinking model showcases that these steps are unnecessary for Homeland Security and military thinking.  The point-of-view is already defined through the nature of the critical thinking model and all assumptions are already carefully analyzed and incorrect assumptions are eliminated from the final conclusions and inferences based on the questions proposed throughout the model.

Asking the Right Questions to Make the Right Decisions

Asking the right questions is also critical to effective decision-making and this is noted in the work of Browne and Keeley who state that the ability to find answers that are definite is dependent upon the type of question that is being asked. While questions about the physical world can be answered very definitely, it is important to understand that questions concerning the behavior of humans are different because the answers are quite simply not much more than “intelligent guesses about why or when certain behaviors will occur” (p. 20). Brown and Keeley also state that when questions are asked “a person’s reasoning is often not obvious…important elements are often missing” therefore the individual needs “critical reading and listening skills to help you determine what makes sense and distinguish this clear thinking from the slopping thinking that characterizes much of what” will be encountered. Questions that are stated in Browne and Keeley’s work that should be asked include those inquiring the issues and prior conclusions, the reasons, and asking which words are not only ambiguous but can lead to incorrect assumptions and fallacies.  The questions must analyze the reasoning as well as determine if the evidence and data obtained is accurate and useful in developing quality inferences and conclusions (Browne and Keeley, 2010, p.13).

These questions make it possible for the individual to not only gain information but as well to assess their own thinking processes along with the inferences and assumptions that color their own thinking in order to arrive at the best possible and most accurate answer available. Indicators or clues stated in the work of Browne and Keeley (2005) are further examined to define the issue, examine indicator words and analyze the person giving the response and receiving the response in order to eliminate incorrect assumptions and egocentrism (Browne and Keeley, 2010). In the end, by asking the right questions, this critical thinking model will have collected the appropriate data and be placed in a position to perform a final three-step evaluation of each of the critical thinking elements.  Throughout the entire process it is important to maintain a focus on the purpose of the investigation and never lose sight of the ultimate goal of the process.

Three-Step Evaluation

To develop a model of critical thinking that is appropriate for Homeland Security, it is important to evaluate the tasks that Homeland Security operatives deal with on a daily basis. Members of Homeland Security will be dealing primarily with the military but may also be dealing with civilians in certain high risk situations. Obviously, critical thinking is highly important for this line of work. Following the thinking process and utilizing the research previously discussed for asking the right questions, the critical thinker must also utilize additional steps to clearly define the problem and to ask additional questions.  First of all, the thinker must evaluate the environment as carefully as possible.  It must be determined what is missing and what is in the environment that should not be present.  An eye for detail and a mind for logic are both necessary to complete this evaluation effectively.  Several issues occur within Homeland Security where problems arise due to element of the environment.  By evaluating the environment, the critical thinking model allows the thinker to ask appropriate questions and present a potential set of cues that can lead to appropriate inferences and conclusions.

Furthermore, this model must also evaluate the people involved throughout the process.  The critical thinker does not need to be a skilled psychologist, but this model requires that the individual utilize logical and inquisitive tools to evaluate the professions, personality, religion and behavior patterns.  This evaluation will allow for a greater insight into the people involved and appropriate questions can be asked in order to determine potential inferences and conclusions.  However, it must be important for the thinker to utilize the steps of the thinking process as already outlined to eliminate any logical fallacies, elements of egocentrism and false assumptions.  Personal biases and judgments have no place in this model and must be continuously evaluated and eliminated to determine the best possible inferences are attained.

Finally, the critical thinker must also evaluate the possibilities.  This task is defined in the previous steps of the thinking process as outlined by Paul and Elder; however, it must be further defined and utilized within this model.  All possibilities must be based on factual data and logical inferences obtained through the critical thinking model proposed here for Homeland Security. This does not mean that all data is relevant and accurate nor does it eliminate the potential for false accusations or assumptions. After defining the questions and obtaining the answers, the critical thinker must evaluate all possibilities no matter how right or wrong they may appear.  The thinker must eliminate all personal opinions and judgments in order to effectively evaluate all possibilities correctly.  In the end, no stone should be left unturned and the evaluator must ask all appropriate questions in order to determine that all possibilities are examined.

Summary and Conclusion

Had the police at the University of Florida slowed down on their action and asked the right questions the outcome would have likely been much different. The individual who was tasered and shot was described in the report of Hamil (2010) as a gentle person and there was a great deal of disbelief expressed by the individual’s fellow classmates that the individual would have ever committed any violence. The officers could have used the three-step model listed above and could have avoided the situation entirely. They could have looked around to see what was going on (examined the environment), asked about the character of the person (learn who is being dealt with), and tried to learn more about the situation by asking the young man what was going on (what can be learned?). Obviously, the neighbors who called the police knew the reason for the young man’s screaming as stated in the report to be due to stress over testing and grades. Why did the University of Florida police not understand this? It would appear that the University of Florida police officers had, upon seeing that the individual was not American, jumped to conclusions that this individual was a violent individual. It also appears that these assumptions and inferences made by the University of Florida policeman had been formulated upon the basis of their own personal and individual perceptions rather than being something that was assumed and inferred upon the basis of fact or evidence of the same. It is precisely this situation that Homeland Security should be required and should desire to avoid in the course of fulfilling their responsibilities and duties.

Toward this end, it is the conclusion of this study that this model that has been developed using the principles of Paul and Elder and in coordination with the principles stated by Browne andKeeley should be utilized for Homeland Security operations and functions.  This critical thinking model is not only clearly defined, but present elements that will eliminate assumptions, fallacies and egocentrism linked to personal biases and judgment. In the end, this model would serve to mitigate such occurrences as that of the University of Florida police department and as well should serve to reduce other types of errors on the part of Homeland Security.

References

Kiltz, Linda (2009) Developing Critical Thinking Skills in homeland Security and Emergency Management Courses. Emergency Management Vol. 6, Issue 1. Article 36. Retrieved from: http://www.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?context=http://www.bepress.com/jhsem&article=1558&date=&mt=MTI4NzE4ODYwNg%3D%3D&access_ok_form=Continue

Browne, M.N. and Keeley, S.M. (2010) Asking the Right Questions. 9th Ed. Prentice Hall. Retrieved from: http://content.yudu.com/Library/A18lwz/BrowneKeeleyAskingth/resources/index.htm?referrerUrl=http://www.yudu.com/item/details/61785/Browne-Keeley—Asking-the-Right-Questions–A-Guide-to-Critical-Thinking–8th-Ed.pdf

Gerras, Stephen J. (2008) Thinking Critically about Critical Thinking: A Fundamental Guide for Strategic Leaders. Aug 2008. Retrieved from:http://www.google.com/search?q=he+Elements+of+Thought+The+Elder+and+Paul+model+of+critical+thinking+and+The+book,+Asking+the+Right+Questions&hl=en&client=gmail&rls=gm&ei=0b-4TPj9FcL6lwfG5Zm1DQ&start=10&sa=N

Hamil, Jared (2010 Gainesville Students Protest Police Shooting.  Justice for Kofi!. Fight Back! News. 17 Mar 2010. Retrieved from: http://www.fightbacknews.org/2010/3/17/gainesville-students-protest-police-shooting

[1]Richard Paul and Linda Elder, Critical Thinking, Tools for Taking Charge of Your Learning and Your Life (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2001),

Time is precious

Time is precious

don’t waste it!

Get instant essay
writing help!
Get instant essay writing help!
Plagiarism-free guarantee

Plagiarism-free
guarantee

Privacy guarantee

Privacy
guarantee

Secure checkout

Secure
checkout

Money back guarantee

Money back
guarantee

Related Essay Samples & Examples

Email and Voicemail Monitoring, Essay Example

When it comes to email and voicemail monitoring, it is important to consider the implications of these actions on behalf of both the employee as [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 340

Essay

Description of Place: A Forest, Essay Example

The logic behind the significance of specific locations to individuals inevitably varies. Some places may hold pertinence since they are the sites of important personal [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 315

Essay

Quality Management System, Essay Example

Customer needs and expectations are the products any customer attaches to a company and knows that he or she will get it when need arises. [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 337

Essay

What Does It Take To Be a Good Parent Assignment, Essay Example

The issue of what does it take to be a good parent is contentious, insofar as the thematic remains susceptible to subjective interpretations. One may [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 330

Essay

Human Rights Violations and the Legal System, Essay Example

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (hereinafter: UDHR), advanced by the United Nations General Assembly in 1947, was a watershed moment, insofar as with this [...]

Pages: 4

Words: 1122

Essay

The Critical Consulting Firm, Essay Example

Week 5 Issues The CanGo operation provides interesting insights into, unfortunately, how to conduct employee relations poorly. This is obviously not the company’s intent; on [...]

Pages: 5

Words: 1287

Essay

Email and Voicemail Monitoring, Essay Example

When it comes to email and voicemail monitoring, it is important to consider the implications of these actions on behalf of both the employee as [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 340

Essay

Description of Place: A Forest, Essay Example

The logic behind the significance of specific locations to individuals inevitably varies. Some places may hold pertinence since they are the sites of important personal [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 315

Essay

Quality Management System, Essay Example

Customer needs and expectations are the products any customer attaches to a company and knows that he or she will get it when need arises. [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 337

Essay

What Does It Take To Be a Good Parent Assignment, Essay Example

The issue of what does it take to be a good parent is contentious, insofar as the thematic remains susceptible to subjective interpretations. One may [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 330

Essay

Human Rights Violations and the Legal System, Essay Example

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (hereinafter: UDHR), advanced by the United Nations General Assembly in 1947, was a watershed moment, insofar as with this [...]

Pages: 4

Words: 1122

Essay

The Critical Consulting Firm, Essay Example

Week 5 Issues The CanGo operation provides interesting insights into, unfortunately, how to conduct employee relations poorly. This is obviously not the company’s intent; on [...]

Pages: 5

Words: 1287

Essay

Get a Free E-Book ($50 in value)

Get a Free E-Book

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!