Critical thinking in the context of Chinese postgraduate students' thesis writing: a positioning theory perspective


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While research exists on the effectiveness of pedagogical methods in relation to the development of Chinese students' critical thinking (CT), there has been little research on Chinese students' experiences around CT in relation to their own contexts. This paper reports on the findings of a study that investigated the experiences of the use of CT by 29 Chinese postgraduate students studying in a range of contexts in China and the UK. All student participants were engaged in second language education at Master's level. Data were collected mainly through ethnographic interviews and analysed within the framework of positioning theory. The findings reveal that the students' use of CT skills was not only a demonstration of ability but also a consequence of their positioning. In the context of thesis writing, the students' positioning was exercised as perceived rights and duties regarding knowledge, directed by their own goals for personal development. The study has implications for research and teaching of CT in cross-cultural contexts.



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