Psychological knowledge for teaching critical thinking: the agency of epistemic activity, metacognitive regulative behaviour and (student-centred) learning

Effie Maclellan, Rebecca Soden

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    5 Citations (Scopus)
    33 Downloads (Pure)


    This study considers the case of a tutor whose students repeatedly evidenced significantly superior critical thinking in summative assessment. For the purpose of surfacing appropriate pedagogical action to promote critical thinking (Bassey, 1999), the singularity of one tutor's reported pedagogical practice was explored through focus-group discussion. Qualitative analysis of the data, theoretically informed by phenomenography, suggested that the tutor's reported practice, when compared with that of two peers, revealed clear pedagogical intentions to be necessary for teaching critical thinking; and that these intentions can be explained through the literatures on epistemic activity, metacognitive regulative behaviour and student-centred learning. It is argued that a synthesised understanding of the literature that explores the nature and purpose of critical thinking - as outlined in the first part of this paper - is a prerequisite for constructing domain-specific pedagogical intentions for developing learners' critical thinking, and that it is this extensive psychologically informed knowledge base which attenuates the risk of educationally important aspects of learning being overlooked. (De Corte, 2000)
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)445-460
    Number of pages16
    JournalInstructional Science
    Issue number3
    Early online date25 Jul 2011
    Publication statusPublished - May 2012


    • variation theory
    • metacognition
    • critical thinking
    • higher education pedagogy
    • student-centred learning

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