Although billed as an encyclopedia, this is really a textbook on a mode of thinking referred to as complex critical thinking. Educator Kincheloe describes its theoretical underpinnings and potential for reforming both teaching and learning. He holds that mainstream critical thinking has been valuable in encouraging independent reasoning but that it is still a reductionist method with a Western bias that ignores the complexity of the real world. He also asserts that complex critical thinking holds particular promise for pedagogy and for the teaching profession itself, where current reforms encourage standardization and treat teachers as functionaries of administrative superiors. The work consists of 84 entries averaging three pages in length, written mainly by scholars and dealing with a mixed bag of topics, linking critical thinking to theoretical or conceptual issues (e.g., democracy, identity), curriculum concerns (e.g., cultural studies), pedagogy (e.g., teaching and learning), or sociopolitical issues (e.g., xenophobia). Although readers won’t find details about bringing critical theory into the classroom, they will find useful descriptions of classroom experience.
The editors of this book employ social, cognitive, linguistic, and political theoretical innovations to develop a new conception of critical thinking. They examine how such a construct might be taught in a variety of social settings and disciplines. Using a host of previously neglected perspectives–sociocognition, issues of political economy, complexity theory, and critical theoretical notions of epistemology and power theory–the editors and authors present a conceptually sophisticated yet accessible compendium on critical thinking.