You never run out of 'why' : critical thinking and pre-service teachers
Education literature is replete with articles on critical thinking in secondary and post secondary education. However, the bulk of this literature focuses on the process from the educator’s perspective of student performance and understanding of critical thinking. Very little research seems to have been done to uncover what the students themselves may think. This thesis attempts to address this lack of enquiry into student perceptions by illuminating how a group of pre-service teachers (and one long service master teacher) have experienced critical thinking in their education, and how they define and understand it. The thesis consists of a literature review that briefly examines the history of critical thinking in education, and how student understandings of critical thinking are perceived by professors and others at the post secondary level.Then, through a series of semi-structured interviews, the thesis examines the perspectives of eleven participants in comparison to those commonly held by writers and educators in the field. The data indicate that most of the participants did not acknowledge encountering critical thinking methodologies or structures during their K-12 education in any significant way, and that K-12 did not prepare them for critical thinking at the University level- and in fact often did not meet the criteria laid out in Saskatchewan Curricula. This finding is in general agreement with the literature. However, in addition, most of the students asserted that their experience indicated that high level critical thinking was not actually required for success at the undergraduate level.The data from this thesis suggest that further study may be useful in understanding how critical thinking may be better taught and encouraged at all levels of education.
obstacles to critical thinking, Critical Thinking, Pre-service Teachers
Master of Education (M.Ed.)