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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Perceptions of How Teachers Perceive Their Teaching of Critical Thinking Skills and How Students Perceive Their Learning of Critical Thinking Skills
by Steffen, Christina, Ed.D., Missouri Baptist University, 2011, 192; 3486930
Abstract (Summary)

A thinking classroom invites and challenges student learning by creating an environment that cultivates critical thinking skills. The ability to think clearly and well is a prized commodity in our information saturated culture. Students who are practiced in the art of critical thinking have a solid base on which to build a lifetime of learning. When a school district advocates intentionally infusing critical thinking skills into content and instruction, it is hoped these skills will become part of the teachers’ curriculum plans, lesson design, and routine approach to teaching and learning. This ethnographic study took place in an urban high school with a rich history of intentionally teaching critical thinking skills within the context of content area classes. The purpose of this study was to explore how teachers and students at this school perceived the teaching and learning of critical thinking skills woven into classroom curriculum design and content instruction. For the purpose of this study, data from a secondary, urban high school were gathered from a teacher survey to discover how these educators perceived themselves as teachers of critical thinking. As well, the study sought to identify, through a different survey, how students in this high school perceived themselves as learners of critical thinking skills. In addition to the surveys, teacher interviews provided a deeper understanding of how teachers at this high school defined and taught critical thinking skills in their classrooms. Finally, an assessment of curriculum units yielded information about the existence of critical thinking lessons integrated into content area instruction. Using a rubric designed specifically for this study, units were examined and scored on the basis of whether or not eight specific critical thinking skills were in evidence.

Analysis of data was reported in narrative form and illustrated with tables when percentages and total numbers were reported. The results from the findings provided evidence that both teachers and students have a positive definition of critical thinking; teachers infuse critical thinking into classroom instruction on a regular basis; and students have a positive perception of how to use critical thinking skills in their learning. The curriculum rubrics verified teachers frequently infused critical thinking skills into curriculum design. This study uncovered implications for future research about the strategies, techniques and practices of effectively teaching critical thinking skills to high school students.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Vaughn, Van
Commitee: Scordias, Margaret, Vitale, Cindy
School: Missouri Baptist University
Department: Education Division
School Location: United States -- Missouri
Source: DAI-A 73/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Pedagogy, Curriculum development
Keywords: Critical thinking, Pedagogy, Perception, Understanding by design
Publication Number: 3486930
ISBN: 978-1-267-05406-7
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