A comparative study of critical thinking for secondary students in low ability and accelerant classes

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dc.contributor.author Davies, Maree en
dc.coverage.spatial Newcastle, UK en
dc.date.accessioned 2019-02-26T22:35:11Z en
dc.date.issued 2018-09-11 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2292/45455 en
dc.description.abstract The focus of the research was to develop critical thinking skills within group discussions for senior secondary students in the curriculum of English and Geography, across socio economic and across abilities, through the use of an innovative model of critical thinking (Davies, Kiemer & Dalgleish, 2018) designed for secondary aged students and higher education students. As part of a larger study, semi structured interviews were conducted with students in the low ability classes and the accelerant classes to determine if there were differences in the students ability to retain the critical thinking skills, and if they could recall using critical thinking skills outside of the study. The interviews also included questions on how the students viewed the role of the teachers to set up the classroom to foster critical thinking in group discussions and what types of topics they believed fostered robust conversations that were suitable for critical thinking. These interviews were then matched with the levels of critical thinking each interviewed student used during the fifteen minute group discussions and their questionnaires. Originality of the research Most studies in schools in the use of critical thinking tend to favour Philosophy in Schools model, and although the research overwhelmingly supports Philosophy in Schools, these programmes are mostly conducted with students who are identified as being high ability. Few studies have been conducted in the use of critical thinking within group discussions in senior secondary classrooms, across the socio-economic strata and across a wide range of abilities. Even as evidence for the effectiveness of teaching through classroom dialogue accumulates (Resnick et al., 2015), instruction in dialogue is rarely enacted in classrooms, especially in schools serving socially and economically disadvantaged pupil populations (e.g., Applebee, Langer, Nystrand, & Gamoran, 2003). The model (Davies, Kiemer and Dalgleish, 2018) encapsulates a unique merging of argument strength, reasoning and bias (Philosophy); critical dispositions (education) and situated awareness (sociology) Rigour of the research The mixed methods, longitudinal study was conducted in the use of a critical thinking model (Davies, Kiemer and Dalgleish, 2018) within group discussions in four secondary schools of varying socio economic statues (SES) and in 32 senior secondary classes, 16 intervention and 16 non intervention in Auckland New Zealand. The study took place during 2016 and 2017 school year and followed a quasi- experimental design that included four measurement points. Time 1 data for both years provided the baseline data. Fifteen minute group discussions, incorporated in to the teachers’ usual way of taking a lesson were audio recorded to establish ways in which critical thinking was already being used by the students. The teachers and the students filled out questionnaires that included Likert scale questions and short answers. Two weeks after the Time 1 data were gathered, the teachers in the intervention classes gathered together for a whole-day professional development workshop (Time 2). Following the teachers Professional Development day, the Principal Investigator taught the 16 classes the critical thinking model as an opportunity to observe the teaching of the model in a practical manner (Time 3). A repeat of Time 1 was then conducted for Times 4 and 5. Significance of the research for education practice, policy or theory The study is significant because New Zealand like many countries has a problem with success for students in low ability classrooms and in particular in low SES classrooms. The gap between high achieving students and low achieving students is a major concern. Over recent decades this has increasingly focused on striving for both excellence and equity, ensuring that all students achieve their full potential irrespective of their socio-economic status. Pedagogy that can deepen thinking for students in these contexts is vital but worryingly lacking. In New Zealand and internationally there are democratic concerns with pupil voice, empowerment, and preparing pupils for active, critical participation in society (e.g., Fielding, 2004; Hess & McAvoy, 2015). Pedagogy that is aspirational is particularly important for low achieving students because the results of the Khattab (2015) study show that compared to students with low aspirations and low expectations, having higher aspirations improves school achievement even if expectations are low (Khattab, 2015). This study importantly reflects not only the successes but discusses how encouraging dialogue can be problematic for students in low SES and low ability classes. For example, talk-intensive pedagogies which seek to make pupil thinking visible (e.g. Ritchhart, Church, & Morrison, 2011), can make students perceived ‘‘inarticulateness’’ and/or ‘‘low ability’’ visible as well, thereby publicly identifying students in potentially harmful ways. en
dc.description.uri https://www.bera.ac.uk/beraconference-2018/about en
dc.relation.ispartof British Educational Research Association (BERA) Annual Conference en
dc.relation.ispartofseries BERA annual conference 2018 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights.uri https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/docs/uoa-docs/rights.htm en
dc.title A comparative study of critical thinking for secondary students in low ability and accelerant classes en
dc.type Conference Item en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
pubs.author-url https://www.bera.ac.uk/beraconference-2018/programme en
pubs.finish-date 2018-09-13 en
pubs.start-date 2018-09-11 en
dc.rights.accessrights http://purl.org/eprint/accessRights/RestrictedAccess en
pubs.subtype Abstract en
pubs.elements-id 753754 en
pubs.org-id Education and Social Work en
pubs.org-id Learning Development and Professional Practice en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2018-09-29 en
pubs.online-publication-date 2018-09-11 en

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