In response to conversations of Psychology teachers in Volume I of Pedagogy and the Human Sciences (2009), Michael DeCesare (2009) called for more specific definitions of the term “critical thinking.” DeCesare questioned methods of stimulating critical thinking in the classroom that might frustrate students of psychology without furthering their learning. DeCesare also appeared to view political realities in the academy as less relevant to the teaching of diversity courses than to the personal experiences of teachers. DeCesare seems to the present authors to believe that students should be moved or transformed to engage in social change through their courses in psychology. For DeCesare the process of learning facts appears to precede the process of critical thinking about psychology. Thus, the present authors have been presented with a challenge to show that there is a pedagogically practical and useful realm of “critical thinking” that can take place along with “factual,” empirical thinking in psychology. This paper, a conversation with DeCesare as he critiques the discourses presented in Volume I of Pedagogy and the Human Sciences, presents some of the ways critical theorists have defined critical thinking. With this presentation, we introduce the perspectives of contributors to Volume II of Pedagogy and the Human Sciences as each advances his or her own functional ideas about definitions and methods of critical thinking in the teaching of psychology.
Wells, Y., & Quinones, T. (2012). A Conversation with DeCesare: Toward Practical Definitions of Critical Thinking. Pedagogy and the Human Sciences, 2 (1), 1-7. Retrieved from http://scholarworks.merrimack.edu/phs/vol2/iss1/1