Fostering critical thinking abilities amongst students is one
component of preparing them to navigate uncertain and complex
social lives and employment circumstances. One conceptualisation
of critical thinking, valuable in higher education, draws from
critical theory to promote social justice and redress power
inequities. This study explored how studentsí critical thinking
developed in a discrete core unit of criminology. Second and third
year students were invited to participate in the research.
Participants wrote critical reflections on how their thinking about
crime and criminal justice had developed throughout the unit.
Analysis of responses indicated that certain topics were salient to
students, offering a way to engage them in deeper thinking.
Studentsí critical reflections showed evidence of personally
relevant meaning-making, including the development of more
nuanced thinking about crime and justice, and more
compassionate rationales for aspiring to careers within the field.
Implications for learning and teaching critical thinking in
criminology are discussed.
criminology, critical theory, critical thinking, critical reflection, social justice