International Education Journal



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Bringing critical thinking to the education of developing country professionals

Jonathan E. D. Richmond
Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers


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Cultural differences between Asia and the West and their influence on teaching, are reviewed along with previous experiments in bringing critical thinking to Asian education, and recognition of needs for and barriers to achieving change. Principles driving design and implementation of a two-course sequence in professional transportation studies are presented. Asian students were cast as teachers who made regular presentations and understood they had valuable contributions to make, not traditional passive roles to play. The students showed an ability to undertake interdisciplinary analysis; to question assumptions of existing practice; and to seek solutions for local needs that often departed from those suggested by commonly-taught Western-based theory. The students gained notably in presentation skills and self-confidence. These are important attributes for attaining change in developing countries. Inferences from the results of the study are limited by the sample of highly-talented graduate students. Further finely-documented experiments involving the implementation of student-centred learning in Asian settings are needed.

Critical thinking, developing country education, Asian education, professional education, transport planning



Richmond, J. E. D. (2007). Bringing critical thinking to the education of developing country professionals. International Education Journal, 8 (1), 1-29.

All text and graphics 1999-2007 Shannon Research Press. ISSN 1443-1475.