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Critical thinking in the Oxford tutorial: a call for an explicit and systematic approach

This paper summarises a study focusing on the extent to which the Oxford tutorial fosters critical thinking in students. In doing so, it aims to contribute to a largely ignored area of research regarding teaching pedagogy and classroom practice. The results of this study successfully reveal that participating tutors were primarily concerned with fostering students’ abilities to clarify central questions, define key terms and question important assumptions (principally within the writing of essays). Participating tutors were less focused on fostering other essential critical thinking skills and dispositions including: (1) intellectual analysis and the internalisation of new ideas, (2) intellectual evaluation and (3) intellectual traits of mind. The primary hypothesis suggested by this study is that students are more likely to internalise those intellectual skills and dispositions that are explicitly and systematically discussed and required than those that remain implicit (and seem optional).

To get the article, go to Higher Education Research & Development, the Journal of Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia.