Title

The perceptions and practices of madrasa and government schools' teachers about critical thinking

Date of Award

8-1-2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)

Department

Institute for Educational Development, Karachi

Abstract

One of the main purposes of education is to develop critical autonomous individuals, so that they could construct their own knowledge and promote their thinking skills and become more active citizens. On the other hand, there is a general impression about the two major systems of schools, the Madrasa and the Government schools, that both discourage students' critical thinking (CT) skills. Therefore, this study was conducted in order to explore the ground realities by conducting a comparative case study in a Madrasa and in a Government school in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. This study aims to explore the perceptions and practices of both schools' teachers' about CT. For this purpose, one teacher from each school was selected as a primary research participant. Both the schools' head teachers and two students from the schools were selected as secondary research participants. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the entire primary as well as the secondary research participants. Moreover, teachers' classroom teaching, the nature of co-curricular activities, and the practice of punishment and reward were observed. Similarly, some documents, such as textbooks and examination question papers, were also analyzed to see the application of CT. The findings revealed that both schools' teachers are of the view that CT is a crucial component for students in order to deal with the modem challenges. Though the teachers of both schools appreciated the significance of CT, their practices were often dominated by the transmission method teaching. In contrast, the findings found the Madrasa structure and practices more conducive to CT primarily because of the Madrasa having fewer students, and closer interaction between the teachers and the taught. But, in Government schools, where there are more students in the class and there is burden on teachers of taking more periods, then these factors hinder in creating conducive relations between teachers and the taught regarding the development of CT. The findings of this study seem unusual as secular schools are very often seen as better suited for fostering CT, while Madrasas are blamed for indoctrination. However, the research showed an interesting finding that the Madrasa opened both the doors of religious and secular education to its students, and provided a soothing environment for building students' self-esteem and confidence.

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