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Investigating critical thinking in higher education in Latin America: Acknowledging an epistemic disjuncture

Carolina Guzmán-Valenzuela
Roxana Chiappa
Andrés Rojas‑Murphy Tagle
Nagwa Ismail
Liliana Pedraja-Rejas


Critical thinking (CT) in higher education (HE) has been widely investigated in Western countries. Most of the research on CT has conceived it as a higher order thinking skill with implications for learning processes. CT has also been connected with critical pedagogies, an approach that seems particularly attuned with the Latin American region. Through a systematic literature review, this article maps the scholarship on CT in HE in Latin America (LATAM). Findings point to a local character of the research on CT that heavily relies on cognitive psychology traditions. It is proposed that the scholarship on CT in LATAM is characterised by an epistemic disjuncture that favours theories and methodologies produced in the Global North overshadowing well-recognised traditions of critical pedagogies in the region. We conclude that research on CT in the region is missing an opportunity to develop powerful features that are especially fitting for LATAM’s geo-historic context.

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eISSN: 2310-7103