, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 353-369
Date: 12 Jan 2007

Purposely Teaching for the Promotion of Higher-order Thinking Skills: A Case of Critical Thinking

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Abstract

This longitudinal case-study aimed at examining whether purposely teaching for the promotion of higher order thinking skills enhances students’ critical thinking (CT), within the framework of science education. Within a pre-, post-, and post–post experimental design, high school students, were divided into three research groups. The experimental group (n = 57) consisted of science students who were exposed to teaching strategies designed for enhancing higher order thinking skills. Two other groups: science (n = 41) and non-science majors (n = 79), were taught traditionally, and acted as control. By using critical thinking assessment instruments, we have found that the experimental group showed a statistically significant improvement on critical thinking skills components and disposition towards critical thinking subscales, such as truth-seeking, open-mindedness, self-confidence, and maturity, compared with the control groups. Our findings suggest that if teachers purposely and persistently practice higher order thinking strategies for example, dealing in class with real-world problems, encouraging open-ended class discussions, and fostering inquiry-oriented experiments, there is a good chance for a consequent development of critical thinking capabilities.