Sunday October 30, 2011
What I think makes the CIPR qualifications stand out from the pack is that they encourage critical thinking. I am sure that for many students arriving on the courses this is a bit of a shock; some may expect their qualification to be like an extended training course, all about 'how to...'. (Of course there is a healthy dose of 'how to', too). Instead, we tend to start by encouraging students to challenge, look critically at what they are reading - even challenge accepted notions of what PR actually is. All sound a bit academic?
For anyone who is wondering what the point of that is on a communication-related course, the answer was made clear for us by Richard Bailey who blogs at PR Studies. Richard ran a special seminar for all PR Academy students recently looking at this issue of academic or 'critical writing'.
Richard drew on Cottrell's 2011 book 'Critical Thinking Skills' from Palgrave Macmillan and reminded us that critical thinking demands:
- A healthy scepticism
- Patience to work through someone else's argument
- Being open minded
- Juggling a range of ideas for purpose of comparison
- Supporting arguments with evidence and experiences from the 'real world'
Aren't those exactly the skills that anyone would want from their PR, internal communication or public affairs practitioner?