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Home Journal Index 2023-1

An Evaluation of Critical Reflective Thinking Instruction and Assessment in a General Education Course

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Julian Azfar
Sarah Yi Xuan Tan
National University of Singapore, Singapore

Critical reflective thinking has been conceptualised as a means to apply “reflective judgment” in the application of knowledge and information (Dwyer et al., 2014) to understand complex situations (Korucu Kis & Kartal, 2019). While regarded to be an essential skill (Tsui, 2002), it has been posited as a difficult skill to teach in first-year higher education courses (Procter, 2020). This study aimed to examine the effectiveness of strategies employed in both lectures and tutorials to facilitate critical reflective thinking in a first-year general education course in Singapore. Students’ views on teaching methods and assessments were gathered through two anonymous feedback administered mid-(n=59) and at the end of the course (n=40). Two independent researchers thematically coded these responses according to the integrated critical thinking framework by Dwyer and colleagues (Dwyer et al., 2014), and reflected on the methods of teaching and assessing critical reflective thinking in the present paper. Through this discussion, we suggest that student feedback could play an important role in informing both the instruction and assessment of critical reflective thinking in a higher education setting. We leveraged on existing literature to provide recommendations to circumvent the barriers to critical reflective thinking raised by the students. This paper seeks to contribute towards bridging the divide between the expectations of students and those of teaching faculty (Schilling & Schilling, 1999) in the teaching and assessment of critical reflective thinking.

Undergraduate, critical reflective thinking, feedback, instruction, assessment