Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines

Volume 28, Issue 2, Summer 2013

Amanda Hiner
Pages 53-59

Critical Thinking in the Literature Classroom, Part II
Dickens’s Great Expectations and the Emergent Critical Thinker

Literary analysis offers English instructors an ideal vehicle for modeling, practicing, and teaching critical thinking skills. In Part I of this paper (Hiner 2013a), I argued that, because literature students must master the skills of analysis, reasoning, evaluation, and argumentation, they can benefit from deliberate and explicit instruction in the concepts and practices of critical thinking in the classroom, including instruction in the elements of reasoning and the standards of critical thinking described by critical thinking experts Richard Paul, Linda Elder, and Gerald Nosich. In Part II of this paper (Hiner 2013b), a demonstration is given of how protagonists in literary works such as Pip from Dickens’s Great Expectations (1860-61/1996) can be understood and interpreted as literary representations of an individual’s transition from a first-order, unreflective thinker to a second-order, reflective, metacognitive critical thinker, further illuminating the literary texts and further reinforcing students’ understanding of the concepts of critical thinking.