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Critical thinking: A qualitative inquiry

9 November 1993


Critical thinking is a term encompassing many areas of both cognitive and affective thought including analyzing and applying knowledge, reasoning, interpreting information, and formulating beliefs and opinions. This study examined several questions concerning the teaching of critical thinking skills. Why should a teacher promote critical thinking? What are some impediments to implementing critical thinking programs in the schools? How does one go about implementing critical thinking programs in the classroom? .How does one evaluate critical thinking skills? Methods employed to research these questions included classroom observations, formal and informal interviews, a review of literature concerning critical thinking, and tracking critical thinking questions in the classroom.

This study primarily focused on an eighth grade language arts class where critical' thinking was observed on a daily basis. Findings of this study include a willingness of students to answer more critical thinking questions than factual, yes or no questions. Teachers varied at how they taught critical thinking - one focused on critical thinking, another on facts and yes or no questions, and the third was split with an even emphasis on both. Thus, the conclusions of this study suggest that the teaching of critical thinking is an individual choice. Whether or not critical thinking is an official part of the curriculum, a teacher can teach the students to be critical thinkers.


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