In this episode Guillaume Christe, Michael Rowe, Ken Chance-Larsen and Ben Ellis discuss what we mean by critical thinking, its relevance in physiotherapy education and their experiences of teaching critical thinking in physiotherapy programmes.
Developing critical thinking skills is likely to be a headline component of the learning aims for any higher education programme of study, and physiotherapy is no exception. Most physiotherapy programme marking criteria require students to demonstrate criticality in the analysis and evaluation of their arguments. However, the UK Chartered Society of Physiotherapy’s learning and development principles for physiotherapy qualifying programmes don’t explicitly mention critical thinking skills as essential for graduating physiotherapists. Do we clearly explain to students what we mean by being critical? Can critical thinking skills be taught and developed explicitly in the way we teach theoretical models of practice, pathophysiological knowledge or clinical assessment skills? And if so, what teaching practices might help?
We discuss some of the questions proposed by Guillaume in thesession planning document, including the merits of different definitions of critical thinking and share some thoughts on practical approaches to developing criticality including lecturers modelling not knowing and exposing students to differences of opinion in the classroom.
- Resource on critical thinking and demonstrating this through academic writing for students from Plymouth University in the UK.
- Resources on critical reading for students from RMIT University in Australia
- Huang GC, Lindell D, Jaffe LE, Sullivan AM. A multi-site study of strategies to teach critical thinking: “Why do you think that?” Med Educ 2016;50(2):236–49.
- Shaw, J. A., & DeForge, R. T. (2012). Physiotherapy as bricolage: Theorizing expert practice. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice: An International Journal of Physical Therapy, 28(6), 420‑427. doi :10.3109/09593985.2012.676941
- Critical Physiotherapy Network (many more resources): https://criticalphysio.net/2015/05/23/why-you-need-to-reject-ethical-guidelines-if-you-want-to-practice-ethically/)
- Wrigley S (4 Jan. 2018.). There is no such thing as ‘critical thinking’. Times Higher Education (THE). Retrieved from https://www.timeshighereducation.com/opinion/there-no-such-thing-critical-thinking
- Hayes D (1 Feb. 2018.). Let’s stop trying to teach students critical thinking. The Conversation. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/lets-stop-trying-to-teach-students-critical-thinking-30321
Guests on the podcast
Guillaume Christe is a physiotherapist and Lecturer at Haute Ecole de Santé Vaud (HESAV) in Switzerland. Guillaume is currently doing a PhD on the association between spinal kinematics and psychological factors in CLBP patients. As an educator, Guillaume is particularly interested in clinical reasoning, critical thinking and the internalization process of undergraduate physiotherapy students.
Ken Chance-Larsen is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire in the UK. His clinical expertise is in the musculoskeletal field, and he has worked within the NHS, elite sport, occupational health and private clinical settings. He has experience in developing and delivering evidence-based learning resources from Higher Education Institutions in the UK and Australia.
Main image by Christopher Burns on Unsplash.