Volume 23, Issue 3, Spring 2004
The Social Dimension of Critical Thinking
The Gospel of Critical Thinking in the Land of Harmony
Convinced that critical thinking has value for people in Japan, the author describes his experiences introducing critical thinking to the educational scene there. Finding students to be too uncritical about
sources of information, he began teaching and promoting it among students and colleagues. Initially, some discouraging responses came from the latter group because of Japanese social norms in large
meetings and organizations. The author has since learned to make use of less explicit approaches to presenting critical thinking to fellow teachers and students. Among students, these include treating it
as a collaborative activity and as an intellectual game. It was also necessary to deal explicitly with conceptual barriers, such as student views of friendship and popularity. Generally speaking, encouraging progress has been evident in classes and in the academic community.