The scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) in higher education has a deep- seated concern with developing critical thinking, now a common learning outcome and desired graduate attribute. The prolific inquiry into what critical thinking might be has, however, resulted in a complex literature, with multiple definitions used both explicitly, and implicitly, in practice. Unfortunately, this lack of shared meaning creates barriers for those who need to develop thinking in the classroom. In a year-long action research project, six teacher participants developed a three-part strategy to overcome these barriers in undergraduate small group medical teaching. Iterative thematic data analysis revealed how teachers 1. avoided using the term ‘critical thinking,’ 2. used short phrases to identify types of thinking desired, 3. offered students guidance in ‘thinking language.’ Findings are supported by literature, adding the idea that currently, avoiding use of the term ‘critical thinking’ might better enhance students’ thinking development.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
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