Universidad de los Andes


Critical Thinking in Teaching and Learning


Part of the Conference New Schools of Thought.

Track Call

The history of critical thinking is deep rooted. Often attributed in the Western cannon to Socrates, the “Foundation for Critical Thinking” also cite Thomas Aquinas, Francis Bacon and Immanuel Kant amongst others. In the context of 20th century education, they highlight the work of William Graham Sumner and John Dewey, stressing that the development of this line of thought is varied and shared. Today, it is central to many education systems across the world. Teaching and learning about critical thinking then, has become a primary objective for many educators and education programs, either as a skill embedded in a program or as a specific course in and of itself. Simultaneously, it has become a recurrent challenge, sometimes a polemic issue, and always a question open to interpretation for all involved: educational policymakers, universities, schools, teachers and even learners themselves.

Embedded within this history and current scenario is a failure to find an agreement on the roots and implications of critical thinking in the professional world and in the ‘professionalism’ expected of learners in the workplace. What it means in the learning experience and in the work context then, are both questions of debate. Despite such limitations on agreed definitions and roles, it has become an essential learning objective in the 21st century academy and an increasingly identified skill sought by employers. In the broader social context implied by the world of work then, critical thinking is now considered vital when we refer to the challenges society faces, whether they be in the realm of climate change or in the field of artificial intelligence. With technological advances strengthening human decision-making in different areas of life, it is arguably more important now than ever to be ‘critical’ in the way we think.

In this context, schools and higher education institutions have a unique position and role. We are responsible for reflecting on why and how to promote critical thinking: how and when to teach it; how and if to grade it, how and where to apply it to our students and, importantly, to ourselves and how we operate as educators.

Responding to all this, we invite contributions on the varied aspects of teaching and learning critical thinking: the challenges we face in the digital age; how critical thinking impacts society; what role it plays in vocational training; whether it should be considered a core competency of contemporary learning; how it is variously applied in schools, universities and the workplace; what does it mean for notions such as community and citizenship; what changes are needed at policy level for it to be effective in teaching contexts and, importantly, what are the experiences of educators and students in how it is taught and learned?.

Key Words:

Critical Thinking, Education, Community, Society.


Part of the Conference New Schools of Thought.

Universidad de los Andes, Chile

This track develops themes central to the teaching ethos at the Universidad  de los Andres, Chile.


The mission of the Universidad de los Andes is to deepen the knowledge of students and contribute to their comprehensive training. It seeks to promote academic dialogue, high quality work and the desire to serve society. It aims to radiate a way of life consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Its vision is to be a center of excellence, characterized by its openness to the cultural and moral challenges of society, and its desire to respond to them with innovative solutions. Its professors, alumni and students are central actors in the connection between the University and society.

Key people:

The key partners for this conference the Universidad de los Andes are:

Ángela Bernardita Novoa Echaurren. Doctor of Philosophy. General Studies Center – Bachellor Program and Family Science Institute

Angela Novoa-Echaurren. EdD Educational Technology UCL Institute of Education


New Schools of Thought – Critical Thinking & Creative Teaching

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Image: Jet de la Cruz