n South African Journal of Higher Education - Is there a need for critical thinking skills' modules at tertiary level?

Volume 14, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



This article has its genesis in an investigative survey amongst first-year university learners on six South African university campuses regarding the need for the development of modules in critical thinking skills which would be portable between different disciplines and faculties at tertiary level. In this article I shall look at various interpretations of critical thinking and approaches for developing critical thinking skills in learners. While definitions of critical thinking differ among philosophers and educators, I maintain in this article that some current approaches at developing critical thinking skills in learners still concentrate on the formal instruction of learners, rather than on interactive learning where they are actively involved in constructing knowledge. The results of the survey show some interesting trends and frequencies as regards first-year learners' understanding of critical thinking, what skills and competencies they think they need at tertiary level and their expectations of tertiary education. I shall discuss and interpret the data of selected questionnaire items with some suggestions as to how one might approach the development of future modules in critical thinking.

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