Open Access Journal

ISSN : 2456-1304 (Online)

International Journal of Engineering Research in Electronics and Communication Engineering(IJERECE)

Monthly Journal for Electronics and Communication Engineering

Open Access Journal

International Journal of Science Engineering and Management (IJSEM)

Monthly Journal for Science Engineering and Management

ISSN : 2456-1304 (Online)

Critical Thinking and Epistemic Cognition: Barriers in the Japanese University EFL Context

Author : Jim Smiley 1

Date of Publication :25th April 2023

Abstract: Hofer [1] identifies epistemic cognition as “an essential element of critical thinking”, and Moon [2, p. 21] argues that the ability to use critical thinking is predicated on multiplistic, or higher, states of epistemic cognition. Dualistic thinkers, that is, those who see knowledge claims in simplistic terms of being right or wrong views, cannot engage in the nuanced requirements of critical thinking [3]. Research into the nature of epistemic cognition in university-age students worldwide has been extensive (see, for example, the papers in Khine [4]). However, a serious lacuna exists in the Japanese context. Many observers claim that Japanese university students do not engage critically with knowledge [5, 6, 7], suggesting the possibility of dualistic modes of thinking being the norm. If this is the case, this may suggest reasons why critical thinking pedagogy in the Japanese context is problematic. Therefore, to promote critical thinking pedagogy in the Japanese university context, educators require more detailed information regarding the epistemic cognitive states of university undergraduates. A study was instigated to assess epistemic cognition among third-year Japanese university students. A purposive sample of nine English majors was invited to participate. This study generated three forms of data: writing samples on academic topics, online discussion board posts centred on epistemic issues, and semi-structured interview texts. King’s [8] template analysis within a phenomenological psychological framework [9] was used to analyse the interview and discussion texts qualitatively. The writing samples were analysed using Hofer and Pintrich’s [10] model. Findings indicate that the participants could be characterised at the level of the group and were at the upper na¨ıve end of the epistemic cognition continuum that runs from na¨ıve to sophisticated.

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