Military Review English Edition November-December 2015 - Page 116

As the Human Terrain System training and education managers recognized how important critical thinking skills were to the graduates, and how poorly some were applying those skills, they began to reexamine what was taught, how it was taught, and how the results were assessed. The managers conducted research for five years. They reached out to and collaborated with experts such as Dr. Diane Halpern, former president of the American Psychological Association.2 A true educator and professional, she not only provided invaluable insights and advice throughout the process but also delivered an in-person faculty development session on the effective instruction of critical thinking skills, free of charge. In addition, the researchers worked with Dr. Suzanne Bell, associate professor of industrial and organizational psychology at DePaul University.3 Her research and consulting specialties include team composition, fostering team effectiveness, predictors of job performance, and organizational training. The researchers discovered that team interactions and climate also significantly affected the degree to which graduates would use their critical thinking skills on the job. Bell provided vital insights, particularly regarding the design and management of high-performing teams. The researchers also consulted with experienced human terrain team members and military commanders and staffs. They experimented with different program designs and assessed results until, finally, they identified five keys to teaching critical thinking skills so that human terrain team members would apply them after leaving the classroom: 1. An effective talent management program to inform hiring and assignment practices and ensure person–job fit (with fit in this context referring to compatibility) and person–organization fit for team members and faculty Team in theater Team member Local populations Supported commander and staff Host-nation military Figure 1. Multidimensional Cultural Understanding 110 November-December 2015  MILITARY REVIEW