Critical thinking is not only important in a problem based learning setting, but it will be a necessity for the rest of my life. My critical thinking skills have definitely improved during my time in PT school. I have always been a problem solver, but critical thinking goes much further than that.
One learns the scientific method in elementary school. In high school/college you use the scientific method in chemistry class. Once I got to PT school, I had to figure out how I was going to take it from that level to the next level. I know had to use the scientific method to assist me in my problem solving. I found different ways of practicing that skill. One way was to help with "Commit to be Fit." I saw the same patient for the whole 8 weeks. I performed an initial evaluation, came up with deficits, and had to apply the scientific method to my treatment plan. All of my reflective practitioners also used the scientific method for problem solving.
I also use my critical thinking skills to resolve conflicts. When I first came to PT school, I was able to identify and articulate problems. I believe that the fact that I was already able to identify the problem made it easier when I needed to resolve conflicts. Some of my fundraising encounters shows evidence to the fact that I seek more than one solution to a conflict, I identify and evaluate elements of a logical argument, I can consider and evaluate both sides of an issue or argument, and I can develop creative problems to a solution. Many people had problems with the hours they had to work or the money that they had to pay. This led to plenty of practice of the mentioned traits.
There is also evidence in this section that I have a high tolerance for ambiguity. As I mentioned before, it can only be beneficial to get the perspectives of two different facilitators, even if they are different. We can't live with things being black and white anymore; we need to pay attention to the many shades of grey.
If we can master the art of critical thinking now, it will make the rest of our lives so much easier. We will always be seeking solutions to conflicts, find ourselves in ambiguous situations, and develop solutions to conflicts. That is what conflict resolution is all about. I'd like to say that we'll never run into conflict, but I can almost guarantee that it will be around in some fashion or another.