I like that you started with a definition. The term ‘critical’ has so many meanings that starting with a definition is very useful. I like this definition. As presented, it doesn’t say how to analyse data, but it is useful because it shows that the base for thinking is empirical data and that the result of the analysis is a decision about “belief and action”. This definition doesn’t, though, seem to incorporate emotion (Cottrell, 2005, p. 11) which may lead to an incomplete data set.
I agree partially with the element of process involved in critical thinking: only partially because it is possible to develop an instinct for when something isn’t right. Given enough experience, spotting logical fallacies and other weaknesses in arguments becomes second-nature (i.e. “Stage Six: The Master Thinker (skilled & insightful thinking become second nature to us)” (Elder & Paul, 2001)).
I was very interested in seeing some data on Japan presented. Intuitively, the 78% figure seems right to me. Addressing management culture in Asia, Saee describes subordinate Japanese companies as “classic models of Confucian theory” and where “obedience and blind faith are observed to a greater degree than in China itself” (Saee, 2010, p. 9). My own institution is a university and in general (though not by any means always) Japanese universities are egalitarian and democratic (Aspinall, 2013). Anecdotally, I can recount that in my early years as a teacher here (until 13 years ago) I taught in Japanese companies. There one my biggest challenges was to encourage subordinate employees to speak out in conversation classes with their superiors. I had a factual short story published on one experience where a younger female member of staff whose English abilities were much higher than her older boss could hardly open her mouth at all during the two-hour class.
However, I couldn’t locate the base data on which your figure was based, nor does Google or Amazon have a ‘look inside’ feature for Saee’s print book, ‘Managing Organizations in a Global Economy: An Intercultural Perspective’. It looks like a good resource for cross-cultural data.
I don’t understand why you invoke a second person into the critical thinking process when you say, “the idea of having helpers guiding us to become critical thinkers”. Can you elucidate on from where this notion springs? I do agree following Vygotsky (1997) for the psychosocial interpretation and Lave and Wenger (1991) for the sociocultural interpretation of how interaction aids development.
Aspinall, R. (2013). International education policy in Japan in an age of globalisation and risk. Boston: Brill.
Cottrell, S. (2005). Critical thinking skills. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Elder, L. & Paul, R. (2001). Critical thinking in everyday life: 9 strategies. Tomales, CA: Foundation for Critical Thinking, Retrieved June 6 from: http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/critical-thinking-in-everyday-life-9-strategies/512
Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambdrige: CUP.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1997). Interaction between learning and development. In M. Gauvain & M. Cole. (Eds.), Readings on the development of children, 2nd ed. (29-36). New York: W. H. Freeman and Co. Reprint of Mind and society. (1978) Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.