Critical thinking is a key learning outcome of a university education, featuring in national higher education and institutional strategies around the world. However, while universities can support the development of critical thinking skills in their students, they are only likely to do so if they foster certain kinds of pedagogy. Evidence to inform these debates is for the most part only available in high-income countries, and there is a critical lack of research in the African context. This seminar reports on a four-year ESRC/DFID funded study on three countries: Botswana, Ghana and Kenya, involving a longitudinal analysis of students’ critical thinking skills and qualitative analysis of student and staff understandings. Findings support the effectiveness of certain practices such as problem-based learning, collaborative group work and community-based learning, yet only in the context of institutional culture in which lecturer orientations towards knowledge and learning have been fundamentally transformed.
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