Teaching Critical Thinking as a Vehicle for Personal and Social Transformation

Raz Shpeizer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


During the second half of the 20th century, a new pedagogical movement emerged, which centered around the concept of critical thinking. While the movement soon became a significant player in the pedagogical field, its proponents continued to develop the theoretical and practical aspects of critical thinking, aiming to transform it into a full-fledged pedagogical ideal. However, at least two major issues have remained unresolved in critical thinking pedagogy. The first is the desired nature of the relation between the cognitive, moral, and social dimensions of critical thinking. The second involves the grave difficulties, many times accompanied by lack of success, encountered by teachers and educators who wish to promote critical thinking education. Therefore, in this paper, I examine the evolution of the ideal of critical thinking, arguing that from the outset it has contained—even if only in latent form—ethical, moral, and social elements, and thus these elements need to be explicitly integrated into the ideal. I then demonstrate the implementation of this broadened ideal of critical thinking in teacher education and offer a further expansion of the ideal, which strengthens its relationship to the notion of social justice, while, at the same time, suggests a way of improving the implementation of critical thinking education in the overall educational system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-49
Number of pages18
JournalResearch in Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2018


  • critical pedagogy
  • Critical thinking
  • criticality
  • education
  • transformation
  • virtues

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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