Bulg. J. Phys. vol.38 no.3 (2011), pp. 318-324

Mathematics and Science Teachers' Concept of Critical Thinking

B. Mitrevski, O. Zajkov
University Ss. Cyril and Methodius, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Institute of Physics, Gazi Baba b.b., 1000 Skopje, Macedonia
Abstract. The need to teach higher order thinking skills is not of recent origin. Educators have been calling for renewed interest in critical thinking for a number of years. Critical thinking is purposeful, reasoned and goal-directed. It is the kind of thinking involved in solving problems, formulating inferences and making decision. The study was designed to answer some questions related to teachers' conceptions of critical thinking and teaching methods and techniques that promote critical thinking. We used questionnaire as a research instrument to obtain data for this study. Questions were focused on drawing out teachers' perceptions on critical thinking. Quantitative and qualitative analysis of questionnaire reveal that math and science teachers are not familiar with the concept of critical thinking. They did not seem to understand the requirements needed to develop students' critical thinking abilities and skills. Only a few teachers who took part in this research use teaching methods and techniques that develop critical thinking. The dominant teaching approach was lecturing. If we want to introduce and develop students' critical thinking, teachers need to understand the nature of this complex concept, and then be willing to include it into the classroom. The results lead to a conclusion that the teachers do not think critically, apart from the fact that they do not know what critical thinking is. In order to understand the nature of critical thinking, math and science teachers must start asking themselves the fundamental questions about the nature of knowledge, methods and techniques of teaching, learning styles and the process of thinking. That will be the starting point for establishing teachers' conception of critical thinking that is necessary for developing students' ability to think critically.

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