Towards an account of teaching general thinking skills that is compatible with the assumptions of sociocultural theory
Theory and Research in Education, 2, (2), . (doi:10.1177/1477878504043441).
The sociocultural paradigm in educational research, emphasising the situatedness of learning and the embeddedness of thought in cultural and linguistic practices, has called into question the plausibility of the enterprise of teaching general thinking skills. In this paper I argue that the sociocultural research programme needs an adequate conceptualisation of general thinking skills if it is not to be vulnerable to various criticisms, including that of a lack of reflexivity, connected with the charge of relativism. I go on to argue that Habermas’ insight that rationality can be described in terms of a speech situation can be adapted to provide a coherent redescription of general thinking skills. This redescription of reason, compatible with the assumptions of the socio-cultural paradigm, is in terms of the orientations and ground rules that structure an always socially situated but self-reflective and self-transcending type of dialogue. On this account teaching general thinking skills can be conceptualised as induction into the practice of dialogue across difference.
Actions (login required)