Clearing up “Critical Thinking”: Its Four Formidable Features


In this article, I identify four key features of critical thinking that draw together threads of research in this area for clarification for teachers. These four features comprise skills and dispositions required to operate in combination to achieve critical thought. In light of their challenging nature—challenging to develop and challenging to perform—I have called them formidable. I argue that we need a significant emphasis on the dispositions encompassed by genuinely critical thought, since a skills-based understanding neglects the importance of its inherent critical dimension. I seek to emphasize the importance of students’ ability and willingness to: reflect metacognitively, become increasingly aware of socio-cultural power structures at play on their thinking, and contribute to the common good, in addition to the higher order thinking and logical reasoning involved. These skills and dispositions are required in the development of students capable of, and likely to engage in, critical thinking within and beyond their formal education.

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Bermingham, M. (2015) Clearing up “Critical Thinking”: Its Four Formidable Features. Creative Education, 6, 421-427. doi: 10.4236/ce.2015.64042.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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