Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines

Volume 31, Issue 3, Fall 2016

Stefan Sellbjer
Pages 22-32

Triggers Fostering Critical Thinking in the Eyes of the Already Successful

Using the perspective of those who have already successfully developed such skills, the aim of this article is to examine the types of seminars that may foster critical thinking. Professors and associate professors could be said to be among this group as they have progressed through the academic system to attain a certain level of achievement. Also under investigation is the extent to which such competencies lead to generic skills. In order to understand the context of this empirical study, a short account of a master’s program in pedagogy at the University of Southern Sweden will be outlined. The empirical investigation consists of open-ended informal and conversational interviews carried through as a dialogue. The result is analyzed by three different methods, with focus on two theoretical approaches, i.e. the development of logical traits and the encouragement of transformations. Fifteen of a total of twenty-two exercises are characterized as more suitable for developing logical traits, and nine are categorized as transformative. Perhaps a mix of these two types of seminars would be most effective in promoting generic skills. The results suggest that attitudes play an important role. Two of the keys to promoting generic skills are for lecturers, associate professors and professors to believe in the generic qualities of the exercises and to utilize them themselves.