Facilitating teachers' understanding and teaching of critical-thinking as a way to develop students' political literacy
Date of Award
Master of Education (M. Ed.)
Institute for Educational Development, Karachi
The 21st century is regarded as the age of technology, as it has taken over every field of life including education. One of the challenges of technology is the overflow of information, which requires students to use their critical-thinking skill to select and use relevant information for meaningful purpose. Critical-thinking is one of the important aspects of teaching Social Studies, as it helps in building students' confidence and enables them to apply their critical thinking skill in the real world as politically literate citizens. It not only gives sense of ownership to the learner but also develops in him/her a sense of being a contributing member of the society. Teaching critical-thinking to children is crucial, as it prepares them for taking up an effective role in society as critical and thoughtful citizens. However, while educationists consider critical thinking as the main goal of Social Studies, the teachers remain focused on providing knowledge and information to the students. This practice is the result of teachers' belief system of their role as being transmittors of knowledge and also due to their lack of understanding about the importance of critical thinking and how it is developed. Therefore, this small-scale study investigated whether and how a teacher educator could facilitate a social studies teacher in his/her understanding and teaching of critical thinking as a way to develop political literacy. This Action Research report provides evidences of the current practices through classroom observations and semi- structured interviews. In addition, the researcher and participants both maintained reflective journals, which provided evidences of their thought processes over the period of study. A critical account of the findings revealed that it is possible for a teacher educator to facilitate the teaching of critical thinking. This Action Research study reports some possible strategies for facilitating teachers in gaining an understanding about the notion of critical thinking. The findings of the research depict that the belief system of the teachers takes time to change. Furthermore, the report shows that it is possible to question and challenge the teachers' traditional teaching practices by implementing the relevant strategies that encourage critical thinking in students.
Ovais, R. (2007). Facilitating teachers' understanding and teaching of critical-thinking as a way to develop students' political literacy (Unpublished master's dissertation). Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.