Achilleas Kostoulas

Applied Linguistics & Language Teacher Education

Fingers typing on keyboard

Call for chapters: Demystifying Critical Thinking in Multilingual and Intercultural Education

Proposals are invited for an edited volume, entitled 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






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