10 reasons why you want to read this chapter

I always tell my students to let their essays and reports rest for a few days, take some distance, so they can have a critical look at their own writing as a reader – does it still makes sense?

This chapter, recently published in Routledge’s Reshaping International Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, I started writing with Jacco van Uden when I was still pregnant with my youngest daughter and she turned 3 last week. Of course, Jacco and I have been writing and polishing it over the years and the editor has wielded his knife to cut out parts. But I had not read it for over a year. This chapter in other words was certainly well rested…

Until it dropped on our doormat in the shape of a book. So we read our chapter again, and as readers we would like to encourage you to do the same.

Because it…

  1. Starts with a quote from John Dewey that every mind ‘naturally and inherently’ wants to be active within its capacity, as young as it is (1934).

  2. Explains why film and documentaries are good authentic material to use in the (international) classroom to activate these young minds and shock them into thinking.

  3. Shows why critical thinking education is complex,  but also reveals how critical reflection from lecturers and students can help improve it.

  4. It has chocolate in it. It focuses on Tony Chocolonely’s documentary The Chocolate Case – how slavery is part of the chocolate production supply chain – which it is still a hot issue.

  5. Dives into the different levels of students’ critical thinking: engaging with the topics and arguments versus critically reflecting on the documentary – which are clearly two different things.

  6. Explores the setting where and how students watch documentaries and clips, hearing it from the students’ perspective, and what they think of going to the cinema. Spoiler alert: students love film, but not necessarily so when cinema becomes class.

  7. Reflects on why thesis statements given by the lecturer can be too difficult – when lecturers first of all blame students for lack of critical thinking skills but actually aim for too high of a goal themselves.

  8. Illustrates how students are actively learning with film clips and dialogue.

  9. Concludes that lecturers should always apply critical thinking to their own courses.

  10. Still makes sense.

Researcher for Change Management, investigating film, education & critical thinking. Implementing it as lecturer for International Business, all at THUAS.

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