Exploring cultural differences in critical thinking : is it about my thinking style or the language I speak?

Vivian Miu-Chi LUN, Ronald FISCHER, Colleen WARD

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Critical thinking is deemed as an ideal in academic settings, but cultural differences in critical thinking performance between Asian and Western students have been reported in the international education literature. We examined explanations for the observed differences in critical thinking between Asian and New Zealand (NZ) European students, and tested hypotheses derived from research in international education and cultural psychology. The results showed that NZ European students performed better on two objective measures of critical thinking skills than Asian students. English proficiency, but not dialectical thinking style, could at least partially if not fully explain these differences. This finding holds with both self-report (Study 1) and objectively measured (Study 2a) English proficiency. The results also indicated that Asian students tended to rely more on dialectical thinking to solve critical thinking problems than their Western counterparts. In a follow-up data analysis, students' critical thinking was found to predict their academic performance after controlling for the effects of English proficiency and general intellectual ability, but the relationship does not vary as a function of students' cultural backgrounds or cultural adoption (Study 2b). Altogether, these findings contribute to our understanding of the influence of culture on critical thinking in international education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)604-616
Number of pages13
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
Volume20
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes

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cultural difference
Language
language
Students
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Education
cultural psychology
Thinking
education
Aptitude
performance
Self Report
data analysis
Psychology
ability
Research

Cite this

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title = "Exploring cultural differences in critical thinking : is it about my thinking style or the language I speak?",
abstract = "Critical thinking is deemed as an ideal in academic settings, but cultural differences in critical thinking performance between Asian and Western students have been reported in the international education literature. We examined explanations for the observed differences in critical thinking between Asian and New Zealand (NZ) European students, and tested hypotheses derived from research in international education and cultural psychology. The results showed that NZ European students performed better on two objective measures of critical thinking skills than Asian students. English proficiency, but not dialectical thinking style, could at least partially if not fully explain these differences. This finding holds with both self-report (Study 1) and objectively measured (Study 2a) English proficiency. The results also indicated that Asian students tended to rely more on dialectical thinking to solve critical thinking problems than their Western counterparts. In a follow-up data analysis, students' critical thinking was found to predict their academic performance after controlling for the effects of English proficiency and general intellectual ability, but the relationship does not vary as a function of students' cultural backgrounds or cultural adoption (Study 2b). Altogether, these findings contribute to our understanding of the influence of culture on critical thinking in international education.",
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Exploring cultural differences in critical thinking : is it about my thinking style or the language I speak? / LUN, Vivian Miu-Chi; FISCHER, Ronald; WARD, Colleen.

In: Learning and Individual Differences, Vol. 20, No. 6, 01.12.2010, p. 604-616.

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

TY - JOUR

T1 - Exploring cultural differences in critical thinking : is it about my thinking style or the language I speak?

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AU - FISCHER, Ronald

AU - WARD, Colleen

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N2 - Critical thinking is deemed as an ideal in academic settings, but cultural differences in critical thinking performance between Asian and Western students have been reported in the international education literature. We examined explanations for the observed differences in critical thinking between Asian and New Zealand (NZ) European students, and tested hypotheses derived from research in international education and cultural psychology. The results showed that NZ European students performed better on two objective measures of critical thinking skills than Asian students. English proficiency, but not dialectical thinking style, could at least partially if not fully explain these differences. This finding holds with both self-report (Study 1) and objectively measured (Study 2a) English proficiency. The results also indicated that Asian students tended to rely more on dialectical thinking to solve critical thinking problems than their Western counterparts. In a follow-up data analysis, students' critical thinking was found to predict their academic performance after controlling for the effects of English proficiency and general intellectual ability, but the relationship does not vary as a function of students' cultural backgrounds or cultural adoption (Study 2b). Altogether, these findings contribute to our understanding of the influence of culture on critical thinking in international education.

AB - Critical thinking is deemed as an ideal in academic settings, but cultural differences in critical thinking performance between Asian and Western students have been reported in the international education literature. We examined explanations for the observed differences in critical thinking between Asian and New Zealand (NZ) European students, and tested hypotheses derived from research in international education and cultural psychology. The results showed that NZ European students performed better on two objective measures of critical thinking skills than Asian students. English proficiency, but not dialectical thinking style, could at least partially if not fully explain these differences. This finding holds with both self-report (Study 1) and objectively measured (Study 2a) English proficiency. The results also indicated that Asian students tended to rely more on dialectical thinking to solve critical thinking problems than their Western counterparts. In a follow-up data analysis, students' critical thinking was found to predict their academic performance after controlling for the effects of English proficiency and general intellectual ability, but the relationship does not vary as a function of students' cultural backgrounds or cultural adoption (Study 2b). Altogether, these findings contribute to our understanding of the influence of culture on critical thinking in international education.

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