Can poetry develop critical thinking skills? Narrative enquiry in an art college poetry writing group.

Norton, Frances (2019) Can poetry develop critical thinking skills? Narrative enquiry in an art college poetry writing group. In: The 39th Annual International Conference on Critical Thinking. Cultivating the Intellect and Developing the Educated Mind Through Critical Thinking., 4 June - 7 June 2019, KU Leuven, Belgium.. (Unpublished)

Abstract

The purpose of my session is create a discussion around the role of critical thinking in university pedagogy. This is a small scale ethnography (Burke 2001) making use of action research (McNiff 2014). The paper has an underlying question anchored by two theorists, Ken Brown (1998) and Matthew Lipman (2003). Can critical thinking be taught or can we only create opportunities for its development? This will be investigated through qualitatively and thematically analysing data. There are eighteen self-selecting volunteer participants. Data is collected from participants using narrative enquiry (Gregory 2009) methodologies and interventions. These include video interviews in small groups and using the poetry written in fiction based analysis. The ontological particularity of the art school is the framing for this paper, viewed through a post-structuralist lens. The epistemological stance is hermeneutic/ interpretative. Themes of metal health well-being and increased confidence in written and spoken English, and a community of inquiry are discussed in the findings. Recommendations are made as to how critical thinking could be developed in curriculum design in the future, and in the wider field of pedagogic policy making. To me critical thinking is an exploration and a debate of deep issues such as the environment, identity, gender. It is asking Socratic questions, it is investigating philosophies and deciding which of them applies to our lives. critical thinking makes the world an exciting place, there is always more to know, to discover. Critical thinking leads us to like-minded critical friends.

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