In this study, I investigated the critical-thinking experiences of seven Chinese international and five U.S. students attending a large public university in the United States. I conducted a comparative analysis of these groups’ different experiences with critical thinking in this context, while closely following the twin methods of epoché and reduction in phenomenology to remain attuned to any personal biases. My results indicated that Chinese and U.S. students experienced critical thinking differently on the basis of the four universal existentials noted by van Manen (2016): lived experiences of relation (self–other), materiality (things), time, and space/place. Specifically, the Chinese students tended to view themselves as outsiders and/or newcomers to the United States and found that they learned to think critically by interacting with others (e.g., professors, peers, and teaching assistants). By contrast, the U.S. students developed and practiced their critical thinking mainly by completing homework assignments that were hands-on and practical. These findings suggest that familiarity with linguistic and educational practices may be a strong predictor for experiential differences between groups of students in a university setting.
critical thinking, college students, phenomenology, epoché, reduction
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Recommended APA Citation
Yan, L. (2022). Critical-Thinking Experiences of Chinese and U.S. College Students: A Comparative Analysis Using Phenomenology. The Qualitative Report, 27(3), 870-889. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2022.4500