I am happy to announce that I successfully defended my PhD thesis yesterday. Professor Adrian Holliday and Dr Richard Fay, acting in the capacity of external and internal examiner respectively, were satisfied that the thesis meets the criteria for the degree, pending minor corrections that will be implemented in due course. I thank them both for their feedback and insights.
Heartfelt thanks also to all of you who sent your encouragement and wishes before the examination, and your congratulations and thoughts after the event. It is such generosity of spirit that keeps reminding me that my friends have always been the best of me.
Proposals are invited for an edited volume, titled Critical Thinking in multilingual and intercultural education, to be published in 2016, by Info Age Publishing as part of their Contemporary Language Education series.
According to the book editors, Fred Dervin and Julie Byrd Clark:
One of the most basic definitions of CT could be: “The ability to interpret, analyse and evaluate ideas and arguments” (Fisher, 2011). In a study on views held by academics about CT, T. Moore (2013) found six definitional strands: CT (i) as judgement; (ii) as skepticism; (iii) as a simple originality; (iv) as sensitive readings; (v) as rationality; (vi) as an activist engagement with knowledge; and (vii) as self-reflexivity. One thing is for sure: CT involves developing certain dispositions (probing), skills (cognitive and meta-cognitive) and habits of mind (Costa & Kallick, 2009). Some scholars are interested in the reasoning process behind CT, others the outcomes. Yet again there is no agreement in global scholarship and practice about its components or simply its definition.
Recently the idea of CT has been criticized for at least two reasons. First CT can feel too negative for some, leading to equating CT with mere adversely criticizing others. According to Fisher (2011) some scholars have thus proposed to call it ‘critico-creative thinking’ to insist on its positive, imaginative aspects. Second CT has often been criticized for being too Western, to contain too many Western norms. In their 2011 article entitled Critical thinking and Chinese university students: a review of the evidence, Jing Tian and Graham David Low discuss the apparent lack of Chinese students’ CT skills. They question the usual argument that Chinese culture does not allow ‘criticality’ and show that the students’ previous learning experiences have an influence on their level of CT. CT is often used as a way of comparing educational ‘cultures’ – some have more of it than others – thus leading to unfair ethnocentric and homogenizing judgements (Holliday, 2010).
To address these issues, prospective authors are invited to consider questions such as the following:
- What constitutes a critical thinker in multilingual and intercultural education in the 2010s?
- What dispositions, skills and habits of mind are needed? (Students, teachers, teacher educators and researchers)
- How can CT contribute to renewing multilingual and intercultural education? What alternative models of CT can be used to enrich multilingual and intercultural education?
- Can CT be taught and learnt? If so, how and in what ways and under what kinds of conditions?
- If CT exists then what is uncritical thinking in multilingual and intercultural education?
- Can digital technologies help to promote CT in multilingual and intercultural education?
- The issue of assessing CT is problematic. Yet can CT be assessed summatively or formatively in multilingual and intercultural education?
Authors interested in contributing to the volume are requested to submit a 300-word abstract to the editors at their email addresses: fred.dervin (at) helsinki (dot) fi and jbyrdcla (at) uwo (dot) ca by 15 December 2014. Selected chapters should be submitted by 1 September 2015.
Featured image: eye/see @ flickr, CC BY-NC-ND | Hat tip: Susan Dawson, LANTERN @ The University of Manchester
The Linguistics Research Unit of the Institute of Language and Communication of the Université catholique de Louvain are organising a workshop that will focus on linguistic complexity and on the ways in which it is typically measured in diverse research fields.
The workshop, titled “Measuring linguistic complexity: a multidisciplinary perspective, will take place on Friday 24 April 2015, and will bring together four distinguished keynote speakers:
- Philippe Blache (CNRS & Universite d’Aix-Marseille) : Linguistic complexity in psycholinguistics
- Alex Housen (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) : Linguistic complexity in second language acquisition
- Advaith Siddharthan (University of Aberdeen): Linguistic complexity in natural language processing and text simplification studies
- Benedikt Szmrecsanyi (KULeuven) : Linguistic complexity in contrastive linguistics and typology
Participation in the workshop is free of charge, but interested participants are required to register in the workshop website (the registration from will be activated in February 2015).
Featured Image: Leuven University Library, by Marja Ligterink @ Flickr, CC BY-NC