Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines

Volume 23, Issue 3, Spring 2004

The Social Dimension of Critical Thinking

M. Neil Browne, Michelle Crosby
Pages 23-26

Nurturing the Relational Promise of Critical Thinking

After having achieved some level of competency in their critical thinking classes, students are often frustrated by the effects of their use of critical thinking with their friends and family. This threat to their long-standing relationships and social comfort should be addressed in our pedagogy if we are to enable critical thinking to realize its potential for effective communication. Explicit attention to the emotional component of critical thinking exchanges is a possible step towards alleviating the negative tensions that would otherwise result from the socially clumsy deployment of critical thinking. This paper offers suggestive evidence of relational frustration experienced by freshman critical thinking students and provides practical suggestions whereby criticaI thinking can nurture, rather than jeopardize social networks.