The ability to think critically, alongside the ability to work collaboratively, is ubiquitous in universities’ claims for their graduates’ skill set. In contemporary universities, then, there is an expectation that critical thinking skills will be developed by students – but largely without being specifically taught how to do this (Buckley et al. 2015; Lewine et al. 2015; Moon 2008). This is not universally true, with many disciplines purposefully teaching critical thinking skills to their students in diverse ways (see Buskist & Irons 2008; Franklin et al. 2014; Howard et al. 2015; Oyler & Romanelli 2014; Zare & Mukundan 2015 for examples). The argument has been convincingly mounted by Fisher (2011) and others that

the development of critical thinking skills should not be left to osmosis, but should be taught explicitly to higher education students. Largely this is because of the move away from the passive ‘banking’ concept of knowledge transferral (Freire 2000) towards one where the conceptual, analytical and problem-solving skills are perceived of as equally important as the material under consideration. This is not a new proposition. John Dewey, an early-twentieth-century American

educator, philosopher and psychologist, was one of the first to consider and develop the notion of critical thinking as a self-reflective, active, purposeful endeavour. He defined it as:

Active, persistent, and careful consideration of a belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds which support it and the further conclusions to which it trends.