Reframing the Debate on Asian Students and Critical Thinking: Implications for Western Universities
AbstractThis paper examines the contention that, as a result of their cultural and educational backgrounds, students from east Asia lack the critical thinking skills required when they study abroad at Western universities. It begins by highlighting the broad nature of the term ‘critical thinking’, which includes a wide range of both cognitive skills and psychological dispositions. From a comprehensive review of the literature, it finds that many, though not all, of these skills and dispositions can be found in equal or greater measure in Asian culture and education, particularly when the factor of language proficiency is taken into account. It advocates, therefore, a reframing of the debate on the issue, moving away from general, and potentially misleading, statements about criticality towards a more specific analysis of what assistance international students require when they enter Western universities.