|Published online: August 6, 2014||$US5.00|
As educators, we are all concerned with ensuring that students become independent, creative, and critical thinkers. But with the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) publishing a new guidance chapter on deliberate steps UK higher education providers should take to enable students to develop into such thinkers, the need to reconceptualise critical thinking becomes evident. This paper proposes a neurodevelopmental model of critical thinking, where the developmental process of becoming a critical thinker is framed on the assumption that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny in the evolution of the scientific mind. This is an extension of the existing developmental model of metaknowing. Four phases are proposed for the development of critical thinking in undergraduates, each reflecting evolutionary phases linked to the human mind. The cognitive neuroscience concept of phase transitions is applied to explain how students move from earlier to later phases of critical thinking and which brain areas need to develop to allow for advanced critical or epistemological thinking. The paper addresses how teaching and assessment practices can foster the transition through the phases and identify the limitations placed on the development of critical thinking by various factors, including the phase the educators have themselves achieved.
|Keywords:||Critical Thinking, Neurodevelopmental Model, Mental Phase Transitions|
The International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum, Volume 21, Issue 1, August 2014, pp.27-36. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: August 6, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 373.634KB)).
Associate Professor in Psychology, School of Communications, Arts, and Social Sciences, Richmond University--The American International University in London, London, UK
Professor, Institute of Education, University of London, London, UK