Introduction

The student life is getting complex day by day.  The changing family structure and the evolving social trends with a breakdown in the traditional support system has created a gap for fulfilling the physical , psychological and social needs of the young adult . Business schools generally try to support the development of students as responsible citizens after graduating. Students are expected to have learnt to deal responsibly with their own lives and those of others and at least to have basic social skills, “an awareness of, and ability to manage emotions in an age- and context-appropriate manner”.

Those who believe it is the responsibility of educational agencies to provide formal opportunities for students to learn psychological coping and critical thinking skills, will find this module compatible with that value. It is a  psychological education program which helps students develop rational thinking and psychological problem-solving skills that help prepare them to meet present and future personal challenges.

 What is this workshop about?

This psychological education program provides a framework for teaching students reasoning skills and for applying scientific ways of knowing and doing to ordinary and extraordinary life challenges, and opportunities for students to refine and improve their sense of perspective, self-concept, frustration tolerance, and personal problem-solving abilities. The ability to reflect, reason, and scientifically test propositions, is a mark of an educated person.

It is a positive, preventive, interventionist psychological educational program. The system teaches rational critical thinking skills and effective psychological problem-solving methods. These are skills that students can apply throughout their lives to cope effectively with the inevitable changes and challenges they will meet. The program aids the student boost resiliency, build critical thinking resources, develop coping competencies, advance general reasoning skills, tolerate frustration, and maintain a realistic perspective.

The philosophy has four core assumptions:

  1. Students learn best through actively participating in educational experiences that involve constructive problem-solving activities.
  2. Attitudes, beliefs, and emotions play a significant role in the teaching and learning process. Students can harness fact-based personal constructs and emotive motivations to shape productive directions in their lives.
  3. Students, who build upon realistic self-knowledge, are better able to translate this knowledge into purposeful and productive activities.
  4. The development of realistic self-knowledge, coupled with psychological problem-solving skills, increases the likelihood of positive school progress, career satisfaction, and a fulfilling life.

Methodology 

  1. This workshop promotes a non-blame classroom atmosphere that encourages student experimentation with reasoning and personal problem-solving techniques.
  2. During Rational Thinking lessons, students experiment with new ideas and behaviors.
  3. The approach is a responsibility based curriculum.
  4. The program provides them with a way to develop their consequential thinking abilities so that they can improve upon their abilities to make connections between their perceptions of situations, emotions, and actions.

Curriculum

  1. Measuring emotional intensity. This lesson describes how emotions and reactions exist in degree. The lesson can show that we can measure the strength of a belief by the intensity of the emotional experience.
  2. The Happening-Thought-Feeling-Reaction diagram exercises. This lesson shows the linkage between situations, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It sets the stage for the challenge game which is later described under simulations.
  3. Recognizing and challenging self-doubts and self-downing. This lesson provides a framework for recognizing and challenging needlessly negative thinking about the “self.” Such preoccupations can serve as a distraction from following normal curiosities, spontaneity, and quality performances.
  4. Building a solid self concept. This lesson illustrates why the self is complex. It shows how to question global self-ratings.
  5. Understanding the function of mistake-making and learning. This lesson describes how people learn, the inevitability of mistake making, and the benefits of avoiding perfectionist entanglements.
  6. Separating assumptions from opinions and facts. This lesson introduces how to improve critical thinking skills by learning to separate fact from fiction, and sound from unsound assumptions.
  7. Demandingness and catastrophizing. This lesson describes the relationship between demands and distress emotions such as anger and anxiety. The lesson illustrates how over generalizing and jumping to conclusions can prove handicapping, and how to evoke rational alternatives.
  8. Special advanced modules. The manual includes lessons on special topics such as: responsibility, roles, and rules; the development of perspective; bullying and name calling; discrimination, stereotyping, tolerance for differences; integrating special education students into the regular class.

Examples of the Experiential Exercises

  1. The expression-guessing game. This exercise shows that different people can express the same emotion in different ways. The lesson shows that one cannot always tell what a person is feeling by observation alone. However, an observer can often tell if an emotional experience is pleasant of unpleasant. Students may also agree, that if you cannot tell how a person is feeling, and you want to know, you can ask. However, the individual has a right to privacy in this area, and can exercise that right anytime.
  2. The Mr. Head game. Students “guess” a feeling based on different thoughts written on cards. They guess thoughts based upon emotions written on cards. This lesson shows that you can predict what a person is likely to feel based upon expressed thoughts. However, if you know what a person is feeling, you might be able to guess the thoughts. Anger and anxiety have different cognitive signatures, or distinctive patterns of thought.
  3. The self-concept pinwheel. This shows that people have many qualities, emotions, and experiences. It shows that people are too complicated to distill into a single label.
  4. The upset game. This experiment shows how negative global self-attributions and labels can impact a student’s sense of self-regard. This game can provide reasons why “you cannot win” when weighted down by negative attributions.
  5. The challenge game. This game demonstrates how to challenge global self-attributions. It shows that people can change their thinking through self-questioning, and can rid themselves of needless misery.

Conclusion

These programs open opportunities for students to boost their critical thinking skills by learning and applying critical thinking techniques for separating fact from opinions and fictions.