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The Development of Critical Thinking in the Academic Writing of Chinese Students: Case Study in a UK University

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posted on 02.12.2020, 23:32 by Hong Qian
This research explores the development of the critical thinking of eleven Chinese international students through their UK university master’s degree course using semi structured interviews at different stages through their year of study and one round of interviews with their lecturers in order to examine differences in perspective between students and lecturers. The findings from the first round of interviews with the students established a baseline position w here the students showed they understood the need for them to demonstrate critical thinking in a UK University, and that this involved questioning and comparison of different positions when this had not been the case in China. However, the Chinese students exhibited large power distance to their lecturers resulting in reluctance to question and seek clarification of assessment feedback. The subsequent rounds of interviews with the students revealed different rates of development of understanding of critical thinking between those who made continuous and significant progress and those who made less progress, and also the different intentions of students to apply their experience to implement changes in their future work on return to China to communicate their understanding to students in the Chinese education system. The findings are analysed with consideration to differences between Chinese and Western perspectives on critical thinking in education, influenced by the traditions of Confucian values and Socratic questioning respectively. My new contribution to knowledge is in presenting an understanding of the development of critical thinking skills in the students by synthesis of their existing knowledge from their own tradition and ideology with the different expectations of their UK education culture and how they may apply this in constructive new solutions to current education problems in China.



Alison Taysum; Wasyl Cajkler

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School of Education

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University of Leicester

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