Book reviews: Critical thinking and language: the challenge of generic skills and disciplinary discourse
Interest in the complex and contested topic of critical thinking does not seem to diminish. Higher Education Research & Development recently devoted an entire issue to different facets of the topic. Earlier articles in the journal have engaged in debates on whether critical thinking is a general skill or a subject-specific one (Moore, 2004; Davis, 2006). As an academic skills and language advisor, I teach critical thinking in its various avatars: critical analysis, evaluation, reflective thinking and problem solving, both in generic academic skills workshops, as well as within specific subjects. Therefore, I have followed with interest the growing body of publications on the topic, especially the debate on the generalist versus specificist perspectives on critical thinking. This book, which presents a discussion on the topic, has been a very welcome addition to the body of work on critical thinking as it further enriches discussion on a vital and often challenging pedagogic task. Moore’s book makes a solid contribution to the field. It gets many things right. It provides a comprehensive literature review and employs a research design that can be replicated in other disciplines. It is also written in a very accessible style. However, the final conclusion, that critical thinking can be taught only within the context of a specific discipline, is not totally convincing.