3    Critical thinking (1)


Speaking only for myself ...


Action alternating with reflection.  That's how you might, simply, describe action research.

In an earlier occasional piece I described action research as a cyclic process.  I suggested that it had joint goals of action and research.  Within each cycle, action and critical reflection alternated.

In this piece I'd like to raise some critical and not-so-critical thoughts about critical thinking.

First, the cycle.

This same cycle, action alternating with reflection, is the point at which action research and experiential learning touch.  It is also characteristic of action learning.

I think of the action as something which draws on a "theory" which is often implicit.  The purpose of critical reflection is to make the theory explicit.  To put it differently...  It is through alternating action and critical reflection that my tacit knowledge and my explicit knowledge can inform each other.

In this context, what does "critical" mean? I subscribed for some time to a sceptics newsgroup.  And it occurred to me that many of them were certainly sceptical about everyone else's ideas.  I didn't get the impression that they were often sceptical about their own.

It appeared to me, on the other hand, that there were advantages in turning this on its head -- in being sceptical about one's own ideas, and open to the ideas of other people.

The same perspective, I think, can be taken on critical thinking.

More later ...




Copyright Bob Dick 1997-2000.  May be copied if it is not included
in any material sold at a profit, and if this notice is shown

This may be cited as:   Bob Dick (1997) Critical thinking (1)
Occasional pieces in action research methodology, # 3.  Available
online at http://www.scu.edu.au/schools/gcm/ar/arm/op003.html

This version 1.2;  Last modified 20000101


These "occasional pieces" form part of a substantial action research site at
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