Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines

Volume 22, Issue 4, Summer 2003

Marie-France Daniel, Louise Lafortune, Pierre Mongeau
Pages 43-55

The Development of Dialogical Critical Thinking in Children

In this paper, we study the manifestations of what we call “dialogical critical thinking” in elementary school pupils when they are engaged in philosophical exchanges among peers: What are the characteristics of dialogical critical thinking? How does it develop in youngsters? Our research was conducted during an entire school year, with eight groups of pupils from three different cultural contexts: Australia, Mexico and Quebec. Our findings were constructed in an inductive manner, inspired by qualitative analysis as defined by Glaser and Strauss (1967). From our analysis, a grid was developed, illustrating the process by which dialogical critical thinking developed among the pupils involved in our research. This process is manifested via four modes of thinking (logical, creative, responsible and meta-cognitive), which become increasingly complex according to three epistemological perspectives (egocentricity, relativism and inter-subjectivity oriented toward meaning).