Spent the last couple of days taking lessons on critical thinking from John B, the man, himself. His technique is simple: layer in a little theory, throw us a bone to maul together in small groups, review the carnage, peppering it with bits of additional techniques, cautions, and other interesting little nuggets as the situation warrants. His lessons are easy-going, free-flowing chat sessions that really made us feel like we were actually learning something... not foreign or alien from ourselves but something we had in ourselves already but hadn't properly awakened yet.
Every discussion was a test, but we weren't testing each other. Rather, we were putting ideas to the test as we took them apart and looked at whether they worked or not, how they worked if they did and where they failed when they didn't. Nothing was personal. I messed up my evaluations a few times, but hey, no pressure; it's all just part of the learning curve, anyway. I never once felt I'd got things so wrong that I was too intimidated to say whatever came to mind the next time something did come to mind.
Good food (yesterday, Ragazzi; today, Colbar) and pleasant company for lunch added additional motivation to a couple of days well spent.