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Critical Thinking Skills of Asian Students in Western Universities


Task: Your task is to draft a critical review on the article “The language deficit: a comparison of the critical thinking skills of Asian students in first and second language contexts”.


Assessment 1: Practical and Written Assessment-Article Review
This essay will be based on a journal article and a case study named "The language deficit: A comparison of the critical thinking skills of Asian Students in first and second language Contexts" by David Rear. This is the critical analysis of the journal article in which things like background, research objectives, methodology, and findings will be discussed in detail. The essay will be focusing on the critical thinking skills of the Asian students in western universities, and different analyses and hypotheses will be proposed regarding what are the leading factors behind poor critical thinking skills of Asian students (Rear, 2017). The methods of the author and the findings will be critically analyzed to determine the credibility of the journal article. All of the things will be discussed in detail, and eventually, everything will be summed up in conclusion.

Critical thinking can be described as the objective analysis and assessment of a particular issue to show a judgment. Critical thinking is the key element that will determine the extent to which a person will be successful in life. But one thing that people should be kept in mind is to properly utilize one's critical thinking skills and then have the skills to demonstrate or share your ideas with others (Paul, 2018). This is where a lot of people fall short, and the same case is happening to the Asian students studying in western universities. The details and background of the issue are discussed below:

Numerous educators from western universities, based on their personal experiences and claimed that Asian students coming from countries like China and Japan were passive and did not participate in the class discussion and debates. Additionally, there has been a stereotype among western academic professionals that the Asian students usually lack critical thinking skills, which are essential in things like debates and essay writing. On the contrary, other educators believe that the reason behind this is the fact that Asian students do have good critical thinking skills but fail to demonstrate it in other languages. (Suyana, Nadaipah, Sinaga, & Feranie, 2019)

To determine the real reason behind this phenomenon, David Rear conducted a study on a group of Asian students. The research objective of the article is to find out the reason behind the poor demonstration of critical thinking skills in Asian students and to examine the impact of language on the kind of tasks international students are required to carry out in real-life university courses.

. The core research questions that are addressed in the journal article can be to determine the degree to which Japanese university students demonstrate critical thinking skills in the constitution of critical arguments? Similarly, the other question can be to determine the extent to which the language of the student affects the critical thinking skills of the students.

To determine valid and rational answers to the questions, the study was carried out in carefully selected places. To observe the best results, the study took place in Tokyo in which two classes of a private university were chosen as the sample size of Asian students. To be precise, two classes of 16 students were selected for the research in which the classes were taught one lecture a week in a one-semester course by David Rear. One lecture was given in English, and the other was given in the native language of the students. The students were prepared for debates, and the topic was about violent video games result in violent behavior. The students were divided into the group of 4, which consisted of 2 students speaking in favor of the argument and two students speaking against the argument. The students were given the choice of gathering whatever resources they needed for the debate. Their choice of qualitative and quantitative resources helped in determining the extent to which they use critical thinking skills while preparing for their debate. After the semester, the students were analyzed based on their debating skills in both languages. (Ho, et al., 2017)

As a result of the research, the author was able to gather some interesting findings. The students were required to debate on all three types of speeches, which are constructive, cross-examination, and rebuttal. After examining the debates, the students were marked on their debating skills and their choice of resources used for the debate. Their performance was marked using the Likert scale, and their results were affected by the inter-rater consistency analysis. The final results showed a significant difference between the Japanese and English debate, which supported the original hypothesis of the author that the critical thinking skills of a person are affected by their first and second language. (Kang & Kim, 2018)

The findings are significant for future research and management practices. One thing that this case study has cleared is that Asian students are just as competitive as any other student from any other nationality. The thing which affects their ability to share their research findings is their language proficiency. So, if someone is planning to hire an Asian student for their organization, then they should not hesitate or stereotype them about their critical thinking abilities merely because of their nationalities. They should be treated as fairly as anyone else and should be given equal opportunities in their professional careers. On the other hand, the next thing to do is to be done by the educators who now have the responsibility of treating foreign students with extra care and attention. Educators and academic professionals should acknowledge that being proficient in English language tests such as IELTS or TOEFL does not in any way mean that the person has the required proficiency of a foreign language to think critically and express their critical evaluations in that particular domain. (Refakar & Gueyie, 2019)

If we talk about my opinion about the article and the entire scenario, then I would say that I am pretty satisfied with the results that the author has shared. The method of the author to conduct the experiment or the research in a foreign university was also rational. The number of students chosen for the discussion and the method of analyzing by having the debate in 2 languages is also rational and completely fits the situational requirements of the research. But one thing that could have been better in the research was to give the freedom to students to choose whatever topic they liked for the debate. Although this would have complicated the situation more, it would have given more precise results as people tend to show more critical thinking skills in the topics that they have confidence in.(Song & McCarthy, 2018)

If we continue to do the critical analysis of the journal article, then we can say that there are different strengths and weaknesses of the article as well. The strengths of the article are that it successfully recognizes the main constraints which are proving to be a hurdle in demonstrating critical thinking skills among the international students studying in Western Universities. Strength of the journal article is that it gives quantitative evidence gathered through the carefully planned procedure to determine that it is mainly the language barrier, which is preventing the Asian students from demonstrating their critical thinking skills in their classrooms. But on the contrary, one weakness of the essay can be that the essay only focuses on one factor alone, the language which is proving to be a barrier in the critical thinking skills of international students. Another big weakness of the essay is that it only focuses on one country alone, which is Japan. (Lee & Cheewaprakobkit, 2017). Some of the researchers also associate the reason for not showing critical thinking skills among Asian students to the respective cultures of their countries. If the author would have conducted the same analysis to another Asian, then it would have created irrefutable evidence regarding the issue. Lastly, I would say that the article and the author have some important points that they make if we evaluate the findings based on the research. The article has given us an insight into the stereotype of the Asian paradox, and this is an important contribution to the academic discipline.(Loh & Teo, 2017)

In conclusion, it would be fair to say that the journal article and the research conducted by David Rear is indeed very important in the scientific and academic community. The stereotype of Asian students being passive and lacking critical thinking skills, also known as the Asian paradox, has now been debunked because people now have a valid reason behind the phenomenon. While setting this research as a basis, the academic professionals should now be more focused on how to remove these problems from their international students so that they can work, learn and study to their full potential. ?

Ho, W. K., Ahmed, M. D., Keh, N. C., Khoo, S., Tan, C., Dehkordi, M. R., & Liu, M. (2017). Professionals’ perception of quality physical education learning in selected Asian cities. Cogent Education.

Kang, J., & Kim, H. S. (2018). The evolving concept of dual antiplatelet therapy after percutaneous coronary intervention: focus on unique feature of East Asian and “Asian Paradox”. Korean circulation journal, 537-551.

Lee, P. T., & Cheewaprakobkit, P. (2017). Students’ Perceptions of PowerPoint Teaching in an Asian Higher Education Environment. In Abstract Proceedings. International Scholars Conference, 74.

Loh, C. Y., & Teo, T. C. (2017). Understanding Asian students learning styles, cultural influence and learning strategies. Journal of Education & Social Policy, 194-210.

Paul, R. W. (2018). Critical thinking and the critical person. In Thinking, 373-403.

Rear, D. (2017). The language deficit: a comparison of the critical thinking skills of Asian students in first and second language contexts. Asian-Pacific Journal of Second and Foreign Language Education.

Refakar, M., & Gueyie, J. P. (2019). Corruption and Capacity Building in Developing Countries: The African/Asian Paradox. In Capacity Building in Developing and Emerging Countries. 283-307.

Song, X. (2016). ‘Critical Thinking’and Pedagogical Implications for Higher Education. East Asia, 25-40. Song, X., & McCarthy, G. (2018). Governing Asian international students: the policy and practice of essentialising ‘critical thinking’. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 353-365.

Suyana, I., Nadaipah, S., Sinaga, P., & Feranie, S. (2019). Constructing Essay Questions To Assess Scientific Creative And Critical Thinking Simultaneously Related To Collision Problem Based On Students Responses. In Journal of Physics: Conference .

Tan, C. (2017). Teaching critical thinking: Cultural challenges and strategies in Singapore. British educational research journal, 988-1002.


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