Disciplinary Enculturation in Critical Thinking: Do we adopt a Strategic Approach?

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contributionpeer-review


As critical thinking is a key of higher education, academics in various disciplines in Western universities strive to cultivate disciplinary based critical thinking by introducing subject specific knowledge and allowing students to apply these skills in a broader physical and social context. Such a task is equally challenging in postgraduate and undergraduate courses. While some research studies found students from Asian contexts demonstrate poor critical thinking, some research points to the cultural differences in thinking and limited students’ limited skills to use English as the academic lingua franca. Asian universities must consult this debate to examine the validity of these dichotomous views. The present study investigated macro and micro strategies that academics adopt in their teaching and assessment procedures to enhance students’ critical thinking skills at an
Australian university in the schools of Physical Sciences, Engineering, Humanities and Business. The study included 20 in-depth interviews with academics and the qualitative analysis of 20 summative and formative assessment tasks. The study shows that critical thinking is an essential component in transforming students to be workplace ready in their fields. Thus, academics adopt particularly designed pedagogical strategies to cultivate critical thinking in their majors. The
study indicates several challenges in developing disciplinary focused but holistic thinking with a subtle shift between scaffolded activities and independent learning. The study provides implications for pedagogy and curriculum measures
for any higher education context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExpanding Development Horizons through Education, Research and Innovation
Subtitle of host publicationKDU International Research Conference – 2014
EditorsRMNT Sirisoma
Place of PublicationRamalana, Sri Lanka
PublisherGeneral Sir John Kotelawala Defence University
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9789550301119
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes
EventKDU International Research Conference – 2014 - General Sir John Kotelawa Defence University, Sri Lanka
Duration: 21 Aug 201422 Aug 2014


ConferenceKDU International Research Conference – 2014
Country/TerritorySri Lanka


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