Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Increasing students' critical thinking and improving performance in elementary social studies classroom
by Stanley, Teresa L., D.Ed., Capella University, 2017, 135; 10257162
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to explore the instructional strategies used by experienced elementary social studies teachers to enhance students’ achievements of social studies and critical thinking skills. The definition of critical thinking skills is an ability that one uses to take control of his/her thinking and action by using different methods to arrive at the same results. Students could learn content in a unique and diverse manner. Ten elementary social studies teachers participated in this study. Through face-to-face interviews, observations, and note taking methods, the researcher recorded and analyzed elementary teachers’ experiences of using instructional strategies for teaching social studies and fostering critical thinking. This study explored and identified what, if any, constructivist teaching strategies in elementary social studies classes enhanced students’ critical thinking skills. The teachers expressed that engaging students in self-learning strategies could help students develop self-evaluation skills, and small group class projects allowed students to advance in social studies learning. Teachers also believed that students could benefit from utilizing technologies and involve cross-curriculum disciplines. The evidence of critical thinking skills consisted of self-selecting projects, self-evaluation, collaborating with peers, and asking the how and why questions. This study also discovered some barriers when social studies teachers implemented critical thinking promotion strategies in their classrooms.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Watts, Carley
Commitee: Adams, Dr. Candace, Newhouse, Dr. Amy Kuo, Persky, Dr. Barry
School: Capella University
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-A 78/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Social studies education
Keywords: Critical thinking, Graphic organizer, National council for the social studies, No child left behind, Social studies, Strategies
Publication Number: 10257162
ISBN: 9781369611830
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