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ERIC Number: EJ1069498
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Abstractor: As Provided
Critical Thinking in Career Education: The Democratic Importance of Foundational Rationality
Hyslop-Margison, Emery J.; Armstrong, Joseph L.
Journal of Career and Technical Education, v21 n1 p39-49 Fall 2004
This article illustrates how the generic employability skills approach to critical thinking suffers from serious conceptual and epistemological difficulties that impact deleteriously on both its practical effectiveness and democratic appropriateness. Unlike technical skills, employability skills, in this case cognitive capacities such as critical thinking and problem solving, are traditionally presented as not job specific, and are intended to remain broadly applicable across a variety of occupations and professions. The emphasis that career education places on technical rationality in critical thinking violates principles of democratic learning by disregarding the historical context of vocational experience. Within career education, critical thinking conceived as technical rationality refers to means/end reasoning that pursues human capital and business objectives with the maximum possible effectiveness. This article proposes that a more effective, politically empowering, and epistemically coherent approach to critical thinking promotes student understanding of the various forces shaping contemporary vocational experience. Finally, this article proposes a revised critical thinking construct based on foundational rationality to remedy these problems, and offers examples of concrete classroom strategies, such as praxis, problem-posing education and collaborative learning, that protect democratic learning in career education programs.
Descriptors: Critical Thinking, Career Education, Employment Potential, Epistemology, Problem Solving, Democratic Values, Human Capital, Business, Work Experience, Teaching Methods, Cooperative Learning
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A