Teaching Critical Thinking Through Engagement with Multiplicity

Teun Dekker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


It is widely agreed that contemporary higher education should teach critical thinking. In order to understand how university programmes can be reformed to do so more effectively, this paper examines how students in European Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) programmes, which are renowned for teaching critical thinking, experience how they develop this ability. Based on a number of interviews with students from a range of LAS programmes, it is concluded that these students believe that they learn critical thinking by engaging with a multiplicity of perspectives on problems and issues. This makes them sceptical towards absolute claims to knowledge, appreciate different academic and social perspectives, and realise what they themselves should believe or do. LAS programmes achieve this through a multidisciplinary curriculum, a student-centred pedagogy, and an engaging academic community. This insight generates a number of suggestions for how other programmes might teach critical thinking better.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100701
Number of pages9
JournalThinking Skills and Creativity
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • Critical thinking
  • Liberal arts and sciences
  • Higher education reform

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