Date of Conferral







Cheryl Keen


As a result of China’s education borrowing many Western educational values, such as critical thinking, became known to Chinese education practitioners and parents. However, Chinese parents’ perceptions of such educational values have not been studied. Three research questions centered on understanding Chinese parents’ perceptions of critical thinking and the role of schooling in the development of critical thinking. The conceptual framework comprised the established conceptualization of critical thinking from the Western research tradition and Confucian ideas of critical thinking. Qualitative data were collected from interviews with 12 participants and were coded to find emergent themes. The research results suggested that Chinese parents’ perceptions of critical thinking was in line with its Western definition and research tradition. The findings also suggested that there is a lack of communication between most public schools and parents in terms of the national educational goals. The findings indicated that most Chinese parents were actively engaged in building a positive family environment with the self-reported strategies for critical-thinking development. Participants’ self-reported beliefs in the efficiency of those strategies were confirmed by the empirical research regarding the indirect influence of parental involvement on students’ development of critical thinking. The findings may contribute to positive social change by encouraging school administrators to improve their communication to build a stronger partnership between schools and parents in developing students into creative and critical thinkers (i.e., the national educational goal).