ERIC Number: ED436976
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999-Apr
Critical Thinking: Origins, Applications, and Limitations for Postsecondary Students of English as a Second Language.
Curry, Mary Jane
Acting as a sliding signifier, the term "critical thinking" has been bandied about for years now by educators who often ascribe widely varying meanings to it. Researchers and writers mainly stress the "thinking" half of the phrase, often leaving unexamined what it means to be "critical." Those in the fields of critical pedagogy and critical literacy focus on the "critical" part of the phrase. "Critical" has become a trendy buzzword, and has been inappropriately appended to English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) texts, particularly writing textbooks, again with widely varying meanings and motivations. This paper explores the similarities, overlaps, and differences in the multiple meanings of critical thinking, looking at the origins of the field, its uses in the educational enterprise, its limitations, including cultural and feminist critiques, and issues that arise in including critical thinking in curricula for postsecondary ESL students. A definition of critical thinking is proposed for ESL students that attempts to account for these discrepancies, limitations, and constitutive tensions. It is concluded that the critical part of critical thinking should be emphasized when critical means being able to distinguish among alternatives, to make judgments about issues and problems under consideration, and to consider the implications of arguments of direct concern to students' future and current lives. (Contains approximately 69 references). (Author/KFT)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners; Researchers; Teachers
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Montreal, Quebec, Canada, April 19-23, 1999).