Critical Thinking among Indonesian Students Studying Public Health in Australia: Autoethnography of Challenges and Strategies to Adapt


Critical thinking, as the ability to evaluate, has been a constant challenge for many Indonesians pursuing tertiary education in Australian Universities. As an essential component to the students’ competency set necessary to accomplish their degree, many Indonesian students struggle to sharpen their critical-thinking skills in appraising essays or discussing questions correctly. The struggle might be due to the difficulty in distinguishing critical thinking from other intellectual skills such as understanding, memorising and applying. This article is a reflective writing that explores the challenges faced and strategies applied by Indonesian public health students during their course to improve their critical-thinking skills. Several factors including the collective style-culture, where the students come from a home-education background, and the absence of relevant practices are responsible for their lack of critical-thinking skills. Strategies applied are frequent discussion with native students which helps in breaking the crossculture barrier, thus increasing their confidence in critical thinking; extensive academic articles reading to familiarise the critical-thinking style; practicing self-questioning various topics and validity of evidence; and being more open to other perspectives.

Keywords: critical thinking, students, public health, autoethnography, reflexivity

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