What is the role of critical thinking in vocational Further Education? A practitioner’s point of view.

Norton, Frances (2019) What is the role of critical thinking in vocational Further Education? A practitioner’s point of view. In: Transformative Higher Education: Access, Inclusion and Life Long Learning. FACE Publishing. ISBN 9780995492233

Abstract

Critical thinking (CT) is a phrase we hear a lot about in Further Education (FE). What is it, is it critical and how can vocational students benefit from it? As a practitioners I am often asked to work with governmental and educational must haves, such as stretch and challenge, problem solving and transferrable skills as well as working to stipulations from awarding bodies and Ofsted specifications. This project focuses on critical thinking (CT) skills and whether it can be taught as Brown (1998) and Elder and Paul (2007) advise or can we only create situations to support its development as Lipman (2003) suggests. CT introduced in the form of The Diary Project and Book Club, was open to lecturers, workshop technicians and students in an effort to develop flattened hierarchy and a community of inquiry. Story and connection through CT driven narratives and texts have been a transformative element in this research project. Voices not often heard in research from the FE sector tell their own tale.

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