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Teachers' critical thinking dispositions through their engagement in action research projects: An example of best practice


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Paper presented at the 1st International Conference on Technology and Innovation in Learning, Teaching and Education (TECH-EDU 2018), June 20-22, 2018, Thessaloniki, Greece.

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Teachers' critical thinking dispositions through their engagement in action research projects: An example of best practice

  1. 1. TEACHERS' CRITICAL THINKING DISPOSITIONS THROUGH THEIR ENGAGEMENT IN ACTION RESEARCH PROJECTS: AN EXAMPLE OF BEST PRACTICE Catherine Dimitriadou, Agapi Vrantsi, Angeliki Lithoxoidou, Eva Seira International Conference on Technology and Innovation in Learning, Teaching and Education. June 20-22, 2018-Aristotle University of Thessaloniki University of Western Macedonia
  2. 2. PRESENTATION OUTLINE  Theoretical Background o The School’s Challenge o Critical Thinking o Critical Thinking Dispositions  Description of the Project  Methodology  Results  Discussion 2
  3. 3. Ongoing change of today’s world and the school’s challenge Values Education Academic Performance 3
  4. 4. Students starting from primary education should have the opportunity:  to develop their identity  to give meaning to life  to consider conflicting values  to examine their perceptions, beliefs and attitudes  to contribute to evolving democracy and sustainability in a global world 4
  5. 5. Critical Thinking (CT) 5 Responding to this challenge presupposes the development of CT which has been continuously expanded to more areas of thought.
  6. 6. In the APA Delphi Report, 7 dispositions are conceptualized.6 Inquisitiveness Open- mindedness Systematicity Analyticity Truth-seeking Self- confidence Maturity (Facione, Giancarlo, Facione & Gainen, 1995 p.4)
  7. 7. Students and Teachers’ CT dispositions7 Develop moral reasoning, democratically express personal opinions, share and debate points of reasoning Encourage investigation into the topic, use critical questioning, promote arguments, work deductively, be conversational, reflect in action
  8. 8. Description of the Project 8  Development of resilience, peer counseling and citizenship awareness among students. The implementation of an intervention project  in progress at the University of Western Macedonia, Greece  Based on the principles of participatory teaching methods and action research  Involves students, teachers, parents and researchers holding the role of “critical friends” (Kember et al, 1997).  8 primary schools of Western Macedonia and 3 Lyceums of Thessaloniki (Central Macedonia)
  9. 9. Three interrelated components 9 Resilience (RSL) • Teaches students to deal with perilous life conditions • Promotes empathy and emotional intelligence • Utilizes intrinsic motivation Peer Mediation (PMD) • Promotes conflict resolution • Reduces violence in school settings • Teaches tolerance • Safeguards peaceful school climate Citizenship (CZE) • Encourages moral and emotional development • Teaches active participation in community • Develops active, social, cooperative critical learning
  10. 10. The Rationale of the Project 10
  11. 11. At the initial phase of the project…11  The extent to which teachers participating in the project were ready to hold an active and participatory role cooperating with the researchers and applying new teaching processes was examined.  This readiness was explored in the light of teachers’ CT dispositions.
  12. 12. Research Questions 12  To what extent do teachers’ CT dispositions include characteristics that can contribute to the promotion of students’ moral, emotional and social empowerment?  Which particular aspects of teachers’ CT dispositions can be correlated with their ability to support resilience, peer mediation and citizenship education among their students?  Which educational initiatives can be delivered through this project, so that teachers’ CT dispositions can be utilized in the direction of the attainments of the project?
  13. 13. Participants 13 The axes of the project Teachers’ number Teacher’s age Teachers’ gender Teachers’ working experienc e Students’ age RSL 5 47-55 4 women 1 man 15-27 9-12 PMD 5 48-55 3 women 2 men 25-28 9-11 CZE 3 39-55 1 woman 2 men 10-25 15-16
  14. 14. Data Collection 14 Resilience • Semi-structured interview (40-50 minutes) • Questions regarding routine in primary school, classroom settings, personal and professional profile Peer Mediation • Focus group (1 hour) • Questions regarding students’ conflicts, reasons, frequency, consequences, teachers and parents’ intervention Citizenship • Semi-structured interview (30-40 minutes) • Questions regarding teachers’ perceptions of the role of school and themselves as well as the development of citizenship education
  15. 15. Sample Questions 15 Resilience Peer Mediation Citizenship • Have you noticed any changes in your students over the last years? Can you describe the reasons for these changes? • In what way do you believe that students’ academic performance is influenced because their families are experiencing problems because of the financial crisis? • What are the most common reasons for students’ conflicts? How do you tackle conflicts between students in school settings? • What are the possible results of parental intervention in students’ conflicts? Why?• In your opinion, what are the targets that school and teachers should serve? Do you believe that these targets are accomplished? If yes, how? If no, why? • In your opinion how do you define a democratic citizen? How important is the role of school in the development of citizenship?
  16. 16. Data Assessment 16 Method • Content Analysis Material • Facione’s Research Tool for CT dispositions (APA, 1990) • 7 categories, 1 for every disposition (κ = .91 (95% CI, .89 to 0.93), p < .001,)
  17. 17. Results (1/4) 17 Disposition Teachers’ number Quotation/Code Truth-seeking 11/13 “Something else may be hidden and we have to look into it” (PMDT4_29/9/2017) “How many times do I leave school and reflect”, “Did I do this well?" or "Didn’t I do the other thing well?", "How could I do better?", "Didn’t I behave well?"” (RSLT5_24/11/2016) Open-mindedness 12/13 “And I think that where there are people and different opinions and some try to impose their point of view to others…conflicts are expected” (PMDT3_29/9/2017) “I believe that teachers should be open-minded regardless
  18. 18. Results (2/4) 18 Disposition Teachers’ number Quotation/ Code Analyticity 13/13 “When there is cooperation between us (the teachers), the children themselves learn to cooperate, otherwise the opposite happens” (RSLT3_24/11/2016) “I read a piece of news in classroom and students start decoding it and learning this kind of language” (CZET2_27/7/2017) Systematicity 13/13 “I was very thrifty with the materials they had in their bag and with what they had to buy ... I adapt my lesson to my students’ needs” (RSLT5_24/11/2016)
  19. 19. Results (3/4) 19 Disposition Teachers’ number Quotation/Code Self-confidence 11/13 “I believe we will be able to cope, because I believe that people are very strong and can fight ... we have faced difficulties over the last years but we will overcome them…” (RSLT2_18/5/2016) “They have a huge responsibility for tomorrow's citizens ... and tomorrow's societies. So their role should be particularly well taken care of” (CZET1_28/6/2017) Inquisitiveness 13/13 “…further training, yes.” (RSLT2_18/5/2016) “We, the teachers, will probably have to be further educated in
  20. 20. Results (4/4) 20 Disposition Teachers’ number Quotation/Code Cognitive Maturity 13/13 “Dealing with time is a really pressing issue …and this is the reason why we behave in a certain way, it is because we have to…” (RSLT5_24/11/2016) “We need parents’ cooperation; they love their children but they should also trust teachers and not underestimate them”(PMDT3_29/9/2017) “Students should be responsible for the operation of the school, they have to fully understand what democracy means” (CZET3_30/7/2017)
  21. 21. Discussion (1/2) 21 Teachers’ CT dispositions reveal their readiness to adopt a responsible role in school settings can be instilled into teaching processes potentially contributing to the successful implementation of the project will be potentially extended beyond classroom limits leading students to global sensitivity
  22. 22. Discussion (2/2) 22 Resilience • Students’ self-confidence, social skills and readiness to challenge life difficulties • Academically effective agency, self-determination and self-control. Peer Mediation • Understand the causes of a students’ conflict • Teach students how to be flexible, work out solutions, alleviate disagreement Citizenship Education • Students developing democratic personalities • Promote practical, ethical, socially oriented, responsible self- management of pupils and their participation in the society they belong to.
  23. 23. 23 Thank you for your attention!