© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Global higher education is now situated in an open information environment in which national borders are routinely crossed and cultural identities are constantly shaped through encounters with diverse others. With over 4.5 million students on the move, pedagogical implications are potentially profound to the knowledge structure which so far has been largely affected by a single-dimensional version of history. Located at the very centre of current critical debates on higher educational pedagogy is the most contested issue of ‘critical thinking’ which has been credited as the essential attribute of graduates by all universities in Australia. In management practice, university policy makers have taken up ‘critical thinking’ to benchmark against the deficiency scenario often associated with international students, a large cohort of which come from Asia. This paper engages with the current critical debates and examines three aspects of ‘critical thinking’, the practices of teaching, doing and defending ‘critical thinking’ in university classrooms. In contesting ‘critical thinking’ as the essential attribute of graduates in the Western educational paradigm, this paper argues for an urgent need for a transcultural approach to think critically about the practice of ‘critical thinking’ and for an alternative pedagogical approach to global knowledge domains and knowledge production.