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Helping Eastern students to master Western critical thinking

Chiu, Yi-Ching Jean; Cowan, John


Yi-Ching Jean Chiu

John Cowan


It is possible that some of the problems that confront Eastern learners when they are asked to engage in critical thinking come from the misleading association of the title with criticising negatively and even with disagreeing. In some other educational situations, careful choice of first language titles for concepts so that they do not introduce difficulties for learners has proved fruitful in easing acquaintance with a new concept. Since the definitions of critical thinking emphasise the central role of reasoning in this process and make no explicit mention of disagreement of fault finding, there seems potential in a pedagogical approach to the development of the ability for critical thinking which focuses on identifying, considering and presenting reasons—and perhaps renaming the process, even if only temporarily, accordingly. Such an approach has been devised, in response to the difficulties that Taiwanese students have met when engaging with critical thinking. It has been piloted on one class in an online discussion forum in English as a Foreign Language. The outcomes of this pilot are encouraging and are presented at this stage for that reason.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2011
Deposit Date Sep 7, 2012
Print ISSN 1598-1037
Electronic ISSN 1876-407X
Publisher BMC
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Pages 103-111
Keywords Eastern - Western critical thinking; Online discussions;
Public URL
Publisher URL