Fostering critical thinking in initial teacher education curriculums: a comprehensive literature review

  • Nhlanhla Mpofu
  • Mncedisi C. Maphalala
Keywords: comprehensive literature review, critical thinking, initial teacher education reflective practice, social constructivism, teacher curriculum


Drawing from literature since 2000, this review examines the strategies for fostering critical thinking in initial teacher education curriculums. Many educational researchers and practitioners are in agreement that critical thinking is an important cognitive skill to be incorporated across the curriculum in teacher education. However, there is no consensus in the literature about how critical thinking is infused in such a curriculum. The present study is theoretically located in Dewey's reflective practice and Vygotsky's social constructivism. The critical question that this study sought to answer is: How is critical thinking infused in the teacher education curriculum? A comprehensive literature review was conducted to retrieve works that provide strategies for fostering critical thinking in teacher education. This review identified practical steps for infusing critical thinking in a teacher education curriculum. From the review, it would seem that strategies for fostering critical thinking in initial teacher education curriculums are both implicit and explicit, based on lecture delivery, assessment techniques, questioning, modelling and learning activities. Based on the study's results, we recommend that critical thinking be fostered across the curriculum to provide student teachers with a holistic knowledge construction process.

Keywords: comprehensive literature review; critical thinking; initial teacher education reflective practice; social constructivism; teacher curriculum


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1596-9231