Scholarly article on topic 'The status of college students’ critical thinking disposition in humanities'

The status of college students’ critical thinking disposition in humanities Academic research paper on "Educational sciences"

CC BY-NC-ND
0
0
Share paper
OECD Field of science
Keywords
{"Critical thinking" / Disposition / Humanities / Curriculum / "Education ;"}

Abstract of research paper on Educational sciences, author of scientific article — Maghsood Amin Khandaghi, Hamideh Pakmehr, Elham Amiri

Abstract This survey aimed at measuring students’ critical thinking dispositions in humanities fields. 123 students were randomly selected by stratified sampling method among undergraduate students in the College of Humanities in Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran during academic year of 2010-2011. They completed Ricketts’(2003) Critical Thinking Disposition Questionnaire. Overly, finding showed that all subjects achieved optimal level of critical thinking in the moderated level (p<0.001,t=17.56), but not in the strict level (p<0.001, t=-9.20). Implications for applying active learning and problem solving approaches to enhance students’ critical thinking propositions were proposed.

Academic research paper on topic "The status of college students’ critical thinking disposition in humanities"

Available online at www.sciencedirect.com

ScienceDirect

Procedía Social and Behavioral Sciences 15 (2011) 1866-1869

WCES-2011

The status of college students' critical thinking disposition in

humanities

Maghsood Amin Khandaghi a *, Hamideh Pakmehr b, Elham Amiri c

a Assistant Professor, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran b M.A. Student Curriculum Studies, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran c M.A. Student Curriculum Studies, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran

Abstract

This survey aimed at measuring students' critical thinking dispositions in humanities fields. 123 students were randomly selected by stratified sampling method among undergraduate students in the College of Humanities in Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran during academic year of 2010-2011. They completed Ricketts'(2003) Critical Thinking Disposition Questionnaire. Overly, finding showed that all subjects achieved optimal level of critical thinking in the moderated level (p<0.001,t=17.56), but not in the strict level (p<0.001, t= -9.20). Implications for applying active learning and problem solving approaches to enhance students' critical thinking propositions were proposed. © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Keywords: Critical thinking, Disposition, Humanities, Curriculum, Education;

1. Introduction

There is an enormous attention to critical thinking in recent decades. Especial national boards responsible for evaluating education system quality confess to various education systems' inability to develop critical thinking and emphasize upon including this vital skill in curricula as the fourth element of basic education (i.e. after reading, writing and enumerating) and all academic education systems confirm the necessity of passing some courses on critical thinking by students before their graduation.(Hurst, 1999). 'Besides, making principal changes in the humanities lessons and textbooks in Iranian universities -which being emphasized heavily by most Iranian researchers and stakeholders in the field- necessitate revising current curricula. Considering the roles and performances of higher education in contemporary age, curriculum revision and update is inevitable. Curriculum generally incorporates four elements named goal, content, method and evaluation and should aim at arising students' ability to research, analysis, innovation, independent judgment and critical self-awareness. Critical thinking skills develop in the best manner in an environment with thought exchange and problem solving. Instructors should attempt to create an interesting environment in which learners' motivation for exploring critical thinking process can be arisen (Myers, 1992).

1.1. Critical thinking

* Maghsood Amin Khandaghi. Tel.: 0098-511-8783009; fax: 0098-511-8783012. E-mail address: aminkhandaghi@ferdowsi.um.ac.ir

1877-0428 © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.04.017

As critical thinking has been converted into one of main processes within education system, a common understanding of its various meanings is needed (Porter, Igein, Alexander, Blaylock, Comb & Williams, 2005). Some definitions have been proposed for critical thinking (Kennedy, Fisher and Ennis, 1991). Most authors consider it as a cognitive and/or problem solving skill (Ennis, 1987; Halpern, 1996; Kurfiss, 1988; McPeck, 1981; Paul, 1989; Siegel, 1988). Lyutykh (2009) argues that critical thinking is "a right way of thinking".Bowell and Kemp (2005) believe that critical thinking is an individual's engagement in/deciding on/ responsibility for actions they deal with. Some argue that critical thinking is determined by especial skills such as ability to evaluate presented reasons reasonably (Mason, 2008). Facion and Facion (1994) say that critical thinking includes evaluation, inference, analysis and deductive and inductive reasoning. The enough dispositions towards developing and applying these skills are necessary (Jin, Bierma and Broadbear, 2004). Profetto (2003) indicates that critical thinking is not achieved without an enough desire for and disposition towards it. Whitehead considers students' motivation for and attitudes towards critical thinking as main factors affecting their critical thinking and resulting in the design of an appropriate framework for its teaching and applying ( Myers, 1992). Facion (2000) acknowledges that a curriculum based on critical thinking skills does direct students towards thinking critically. Considering the above-mentioned viewpoints, it is clear that the role of curriculum elements is inevitable for developing critical thinking skills. The study by Curtis, Tracy, Rick, Gallo, Erin and Ricketts (2008) showed that classes should move from inactive programs and aimless memorization to critical thinking as a means for facilitating training process. Teaching according to, problem solving approaches, (Ozturk, Muslu, and Dicle) and active learning procedures (Qing, Ni, and Hong, 2010) result in positive dispositions towards critical thinking. The prerequisite for the development of critical thinking is to create an effective context and background for disposition toward it and the motivation for and desire toward it act as its promoters. This study aimed at measuring students' critical thinking dispositions in the humanities fields.

2. Method

2.1. Participants and procedures

Using Kerjcie and Morgan's table for sampling, 123 students (95 girls and 28 boys) were randomly selected by stratified sampling method among all undergraduate students in the College of Humanities in Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran during academic year of 2010-2011. They completed Ricketts' (2003) Critical Thinking Dispositions Questionnaire.

2.2. Instrumentation and Data Analysis

The questionnaire included 33 statements in Likerte 5-point scale. The minimum and maximum scores that might be acquired were 33 and 145, respectively. Three subcomponents (subscales) of the questionnaire were entitled innovativeness, Maturity and Engagement. The Kronbach's alpha coefficients for the subcomponents of innovation, perfection and commitment were 0.64, 0.53, and 0.82, respectively. The overall amount was 0.76. One-sample t-test and independent t-test were used for data analysis. Two levels were determined to compare the means of students' critical thinking dispositions: moderate level (at the point of 0.50) and strict one (at the point of 0.70).

3. Results

3.1. One sample t-test results

For comparing the means of students' critical thinking dispositions and its components in moderated and strict levels, the middle score in moderated level was 99 and that of strict level was 125.4 (see the Method Section). Table 1 shows the results of one sample t-test for critical thinking dispositions and its related components.

Table 1. One sample t-test results for "critical thinking dispositions" and its components

Component Level Mean T df p-value

moderated 116.32 17.56 122 0.000***

Total disposition strict 116.32 -9.20 122 0.000***

moderated 41.89 20.97 122 0.000***

Innovativeness strict

41.89 0.22 122 0.82

moderated 26.68 -0.75 122 0.45

Maturity strict 26.68 -17.95 122 0.000***

moderate 47.91 14.96 122 0.000***

Engagement strict 47.91 -2.48 122 0.014*

*p < .05. *** p < .001

3.2. Results of independent sample t-test

As shown in table 1, all subjects achieved optimal level of critical thinking dispositions in the moderated level (p<0.001, t=17.56), but not in the strict level (p<0.001, t= -9.20).

The highest and the least scores of innovativeness component were 55 and 11, respectively and its middle scores in moderated and strict levels were 33 and 41.8, respectively. In this component, all subjects achieved optimal level in the moderated level (p<0.001, t=20.97), but not in the strict level (p>0.05, t=-0.22).

The highest and the least scores of maturity component were 45 and 9, respectively and its middle scores in moderated and strict levels were 27 and 24.2, respectively. In this component, the studied students did not achieved optimal level neither in the moderated level (p>0.05, t=-0.75), nor in the strict level (p<0.001, t=-17.95).

Considering the engagement component, its highest and the least scores were 65 and 13, respectively and its middle scores in moderated and strict levels were 39 and 49.4, respectively. In this component, all subjects achieved optimal level in the moderated level (p<0.001,t=14.97), but not in the strict level (p< 0.05, t= -2.48).

According to independent t-test for comparing the students' critical thinking dispositions by their gender and entrance academic year (Table 2), there was no significant difference between girls and boys' critical thinking dispositions (p>0.05, t= -0.60) and also between students of various entrance academic year (p>0.05, t= 0.13).

Table 2. Results of independent sample t-test for the comparison of students' critical thinking dispositions by their gender and entrance academic

Variable Indicator Mean Std. Error Mean t df p-value

Critical Thinking Girl 116.00 1.09 -0.60 121 0.54

Disposition by Gender Boy 117.42 2.28

Critical Thinking First year 116.42 1.48

Disposition by Entrance 0.13 121 0.89

Academic Year Last year 116.23 1.33

4. Discussion and Conclusion

This study focused on undergraduate students' disposition towards critical thinking in the College of Humanities in Ferdowsi university of Mashhad, Iran. Findings showed that the subjects achieved optimal critical thinking dispositions in moderated level, but not in strict level. They acquired 116.32 score of total 165 score which falls in with good level. So are innovation and commitment components. This is not true for perfection component that was not achieved in both levels. These findings are in accordance with Profetto (2003) and Tiwari, Avery and Lai (2003) studies, but do not accord with Emir's (2009) study on Turkish students' dispositions to critical thinking. No significant difference was observed in the students' critical thinking disposition by their gender. This accord with the

results of Barkhordary, Jalalmanesh, and Mahmoodi's (2009) study. Also, there was not any significant difference by students' entrance academic years (the first and the last years of their academic period). The finding is in agreement with that of Suliman and Halabi (2007). Regarding the latter finding, It can be said that curricula of education system have not been able to develop critical thinking skills in graduated students.

In conclusion, regarding the results of some studies that emphasize on the role of active learning methods (Qing, Ni, and Hong, 2010) and problem solving approaches (Ozturk, Muslu, and Dicle, 2008) in motivating students' critical thinking disposition, these should be greatly considered in designing curriculum content for higher education. It is suggested that other factors potentially affecting critical thinking dispositions are to be included in education research agenda.

Rererences

Barkhordary, M., Jalalmanesh, S., & Mahmoodi, M. (2009). The Relationship between Critical Thinking Disposition and Self Esteem in Third

and Forth Year Bachelor Nursing Students. Iranian Journal of Medical Education, 9, 13-18, (Persian). Bowell, T., & Kemp, G. (2005). Critical thinking a concise guide . Usa and Canada, (Chapter 1). Tracey Bowell, Gary Kemp: Books. Curtis, F., Tracy, I., Rick, R., Gallo, M., Erin, E., & Ricketts, J. (2008). Overtly Teaching Critical Thinking and Inquiry-Based Learning: A

Comparison of Two Undergraduate Biotechnology Classes. Journal Agricultural Education, 49, 72-84. Emir, S. (2009). Education faculty students' critical thinking disposition according to achedemic achievement. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 1, 2466-2469.

Ennis, R. (1987). A taxonomy of critical thinking dispositions and abilities. In J. Baron & R. Sternberg (Eds.), Teaching thinking skills: theory

and practice (p.7). New York: Freeman. Facion, P. A., & Facion, N. C. (1994). The California critical thinking skills test and national. League for nursing accreditation requirement Millbrae, CA: Academic.

Facione, P. A. (2000). The Disposition Toward critical thinkingCharacter, Measurement, and Relationship to critical thinking Skill, Informal Logic, 20, 61-84.

Halpern, D. (1996). Thought and knowledge: an introduction to critical thinking. (3rd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Hurst, P. (1999). Philosophy of Education; the main themes in the tradition of analytical. Shabani Varaki, B. , Shoja Razavi, M. R. (Translators),

Mashhad: Ferdowsi University of Mashhad Press, (Persian). Jin, G., Bierma, T. J., Broadbear, J. ( 2004). Critical thinking among environmental health undergraduates and implications for the profession.

Journal Environment Health, 67, 15-20. Kennedy, M., Fisher, M. B., & Ennis, R. H. (1991). Critical Thinking: Literature Review and Needed Research' in L. Idol & B. F. Jones (Eds.),

Educational Values and Cognitive Instruction:Implications for Reform (p. 13). Hillsdale, N.J, Lawrence Erlbaum. Kurfiss, J.(1988). Critical thinking: theory, research, practice and possibilities. Washington: Higher Education. Lyutykh, E., (2009). Practicing critical thinking in aneducational psychology classroom. Journal of educational studies, 45, 377-391. Mason, M. (2008). Critical thinking and learning. USA: Blackwell. McPeck, J. (1981). Critical thinking and education. New York: St Martin's.

Myers, Ch. (1992). Teaching critical thinking. Khodayar Abily (Translator), Tehran: Samt, 2007: 8-36, (Chapter 1): Persian. Ozturk, C., Muslu, G. K., & Dicle, A. (2008). A comparison of problem-based and traditional education on nursing students' critical thinkingdisposition. Nurse Education Today, 28, 627-632. Paul, R. (1989). Critical thinking in North America: a new theory of knowledge, learning and literacy. Journal of Argumentation, 3, 197-235. Porter, O. T., Igein, G., Alexander, D., Blaylock, J., McComb, D., Williams, S. (2005). Critical thinking for nursing leadership. Journal Nurse Leader, 3, 28-31.

Profetto, M. J. (2003). The relationship of critical thinking skills and critical thinking dispositions of baccalaureate nursing students, Journal Advance Nurse, 43, 569-577.

Qing , Z., Ni, SH., & Hong, T. (2010). Developing critical thinking disposition by task-based learning in chemistry experiment teaching.

Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2, 4561-4570. Siegel, H. (1988). Educating reason: rationality, critical thinking and education. New York: Routledge.

Suliman, W. A., Halabi, J. (2007). Critical thinking, self-esteem, and state anxiety of nursing students. Nurse Education, 27, 162-168. Tiwari, A., Avery, A., Lai, P. J.(2003). Critical thinking disposition of Hong Kong Chinese and Australian nursing students. Journal Advance Nurse, 44, 298-307.