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Author Topic: Critical Thinking?  (Read 279 times)

Calach Pfeffer

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Critical Thinking?
« on: December 13, 2017, 12:55:54 AM »
What is it? Does it exist in China?

One article I saw described the emergence of the English-speaking world's preoccupation with "critical thinking" as occurring in two waves. The first occurred when universities started requiring students to create internally consistent thought. This, the first wave, called perhaps logical positivism, emphasized logical analysis and coherence. The second wave occurred later and focused on whatever process it is that frees the thinker from the worldviews and frameworks they first learned logic in.

Critical Thinking and Chinese International Students: An East-West Dialogue (pdf)

The first type of critical thinking exists in Chinese education, they say. The second does not.

Then there's a bunch of other articles that raise questions of basic ability vs lack of preparation and such complicating factors as, duh, you're asking them not only to do something for which they have no standard classroom model, but in a foreign language too?!

'Is Critical Analysis Foreign to Chinese Students?' (pdf)

And so on.


But using some of the ideas in that second article, I'd rather like to bypass all the complicating factors and say "critical thinking", whatever it is, assuming it to be something like the ability to create independent assessments of knowledge, is only really important in contexts where knowledge is expected to change.

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Calach Pfeffer

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Re: Critical Thinking?
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2017, 01:33:33 AM »
I suppose also I'm interested to know how political these questions are. I know from excitable media outlets that the Party does maintain considerable control over universities in terms of..... well, I don't know. I know there are compulsory politics courses, and that such courses both emphasize and create passivity in the students. And that therefore it is presumably anti-China to encourage active student engagement with ideas. On the surface at least it would seem that a developing talent for examination of frameworks and worldviews actively HINDERS a Chinese student's ability to be acceptable to his or her educational institution. So....

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