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Critical Thinking An Introduction to Situational Awareness and Decision Making. Thinking about thinking.
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Thinking about thinking
This presentation provides an overview of how to improve critical thinking. It is intended to enhance the reader's awareness but it shall not supersede the applicable regulations or airline's operational documentation; should any deviation appear between this presentation and the airline’s AFM / (M)MEL / FCOM / QRH / FCTM, the latter shall prevail at all times.
This self-study guide provides advice on how to improve your thinking and introduces the associated aspects of situational awareness and decision making. These subjects are essential processes in threat and error management, which must be used in daily operations. Thinking is the core skill in these activities; critical thinking involves controlling our thinking; thinking about our own thinking.
The guide is in five sections:
Everyone thinks; it is our nature to do so. But much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed or downright prejudiced. Yet, the quality of our life — and that of what we produce, make or build — depends precisely on the quality of our thought. Shoddy thinking is costly, both in money and in quality of life. Excellence in thought, however, must be systematically cultivated.
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Undesired StatesThreat and Error Management
Threat and error management (TEM) is a major safety process in aviation.
TEM consists of detecting, avoiding or trapping threats and errors that challenge safe operations. Where threats and errors are not contained, the resulting conditions must be managed and their adverse effects reduced.
All flight and ground operations
Avoid / Trap
Fly the aircraft, Navigate, Communicate, Manage
Situational awareness is having an accurate understanding of our surroundings — where we are, what happened, what is happening, what is changing and what could happen.
Good situational awareness requires:
Thinking about situational awareness involves:
Decision making involves assessment and choosing a course of action.
Decision making requires an understanding of the situation and controlled thinking.
The situation determines the urgency of the decision, risks and limits of action.
T H I N K
O O D A
D E C I D E
Detect a change
Choose a safe outcome
Identify possible actions
Do take action
Evaluate the result
Evaluate Outcome of Action
Critical thinking provides the mental control and discipline required for situational assessment and decision making. It involves several skills that can be learned, practiced and improved.
Control your mind by:
Maintain discipline by:
Think inside the box before you think outside of the box
“Are we in charge of our thinking, or is our thinking in charge of us?“
Self awareness — self questioning, self monitoring
Am I biased in my thinking?
Have I made a plan for what I want to do?
Are my ideas or knowledge on this issue correct?
Am I aware of my thinking; what am I trying to do?
Am I using all of the resources for what I want to do?
Am I evaluating my thinking; what would I do differently next time?
Am I aware of how well I am doing; do I need to change my actions or intentions?
Monitoring is checking the quality or testing the accuracy of a situation
on a regular basis. It is keeping a close watch over
parameters and supervising the outcome.
It is checking for threats in our thinking.
Improving your thinking — Knowledge
About the thinking processes
Knowledge to control the thinking processes
Planning is the process of thinking about what you will do in the event of something happening or not happening.
Improving your thinking — Habits
Changing our thinking habits requires effort; clear thinking is an essential
part of airmanship and has to be developed throughout our careers.
Unskilled: Basic training only provides those skills necessary to be safe.
Safe: Continuation training and experience enable an effective operation.
Effective: More technical knowledge, practiced skills and experience give an efficient operation.
Efficient: Skillful command in controlling the aircraft and team leadership move toward a precision operation.
Precision: An operator who has gained and maintains precise technical and non-technical skills as a result of great personal effort.
Improving your thinking — Briefing
Before flight, self-briefing reinforces memory cues and knowledge, which aid the recall of information for use in situational assessment and decision making.
Know what, who, where and when to prioritize your attention
Always brief routine operations — repetition aids memory
Structure the briefing along the intended flight path
Visualize your actions (plane, path, people)
Consider the significant threats
Recall lessons from training
Do not rush:
Your thoughts control your actions.
Improving your thinking — Debrief
After each flight, consider the following points — Plus, Minus, Interesting
What was good
What went according to plan
What was not so good, and why
What didn’t you know; find the answer before the next flight
Have you changed the way you see things: threats, risks, people or procedures
What did you learn, why, and where did the information come from?
Will you share this with others; if not why not?
Anything for an air safety event report?
Any issues for confidential reporting?
Did you experience:
Long-term memory - knowledge, biases, beliefsThinking about Situational Awareness and Decision Making
Situational awareness and decision making depend on our ability to think.
Thinking enables humans to be very successful, but this ability also enables errors that, if not controlled, present risks in our daily activities.
All flight and ground operations
Value your ability, use it wisely
Critical thinking for situational awareness — seek information
Whenever you do not understand something, ask yourself a question for clarification
KnowledgeCritical Thinking — for Decision Making
Critical thinking for decision making — the choice of action
Think about the situation, compare with SOPs, training and previous experience
Think about which SOP applies to the situation, compare with training
Almost automatic action; SOPs have been thought through during training
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