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Critical Thinking: Teaching Foreign Notions to Foreign Students

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This article discusses how the internationalisation of Australian universities presents a double challenge for student support services; to provide academic support programs that address perceived culturally based academic differences and to provide support programs which are culturally sensitive, inclusive and which contribute to the success of international students. It suggests that critical thinking is a paradigmatic case – that universities insist that critical thinking is a requirement of quality academic work while academics bemoan the lack of a critical approach to study by international students in general, and Asian students in particular. The challenge for transition programs is how to incorporate critical thinking within their framework without adopting either a deficit or assimilationist approach. The paper discusses the difficulties inherent in this challenge and puts forward a possible approach adapted from a strand of the Introductory Academic Program (IAP). However, questions are raised about the overall value of teaching critical thinking in this context.

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