Building a dedicated module for critical thinking

Students often struggle with the academic skills demanded in their courses, particularly with displaying the required analytical and critical thinking skills. In addition to being assessed on disciplinary content, students are expected to already have the ability to demonstrate skills such as reading critically from multiple sources, analysing and evaluating sources and constructing effective arguments using suitable sources.

To help students develop their analytical and critical thinking skills, two lecturers from Edinburgh International College (EIC) built a dedicated Critical Thinking module into the 10-week Pre-Master’s pathway program.

According to survey feedback, students found the course challenging and useful. Because it makes explicit many of the implicit expectations of study, students felt more confident to understand what it is that teachers are expecting from them rather than going through an assessment cycle without understanding what core skills are being assessed. Challenging aspects for students were grasping the abstract concepts involved, engaging in philosophical discussions that conceptualise ‘knowledge’ in academic contexts, and actively engaging with texts rather than passively learning.

Play the video below to hear EIC’s Manager of Academic and Student Services, Marco Rossi, in conversation with lecturers Amelia Harker and Elena Pershina about their new critical thinking module:

As discussed in the video, Amelia and Elena continually adjust and add materials to the Critical Thinking module. “By its very nature it is quite philosophical and abstract,” Amelia noted. “So having students together to be able to conceptualise it and not be looking for just one fixed, tangible outcome is part and parcel of it.”

Now the module has a rich range of materials for different skills levels.

Check out some of the materials below:


Drop a line to the EIC Manager of Academic and Student Services Marco Rossi, or lecturers Amelia Harker nee Nash and Elena Pershina, or continue the conversation around critical thinking skills development on Yammer.  If you have experience with teaching critical thinking skills, we would love to hear from you!