09 SES 01 C, Relating Classroom-, School- and System-Level-Factors to Achievement
The significance of developing the abilities of modern citizens to efficiently and critically discern and consume the wealth of the information in today’s world has been widely recognized by educators (Forawi, 2016). As stated by Paul in his seminal work, “critical thinking is the essential foundation for education because it is the essential foundation for adaptation to the everyday personal, social and professional demands of the 21st century and thereafter” (Paul, 1995, p. xi). The curriculum reform documents published recently in many countries and regions also consider critical thinking as a key component of their educational objectives (e.g., Australian Department of Education and Training, 2006; Singaporean Curriculum Planning and Development Division, 1998).
In recent years, the Hong Kong Education Bureau has exerted great efforts to innovate school curricula. One of the features of the current reform is the emphasis on the cultivation of nine generic skills in all key learning areas (Education Bureau, 2001), namely collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking, information technology, numeracy, problem solving, self-management, and study. Another reform has been the inclusion of Liberal Studies as one of the core subjects aside from Chinese Language, English Language and Mathematics in the new senior secondary curriculum, which was implemented in 2009. It is explicitly stated that the course of Liberal Studies aims to develop critical thinking in students (Curriculum Development Council & Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority [CDC & HKEAA], 2007, p. 5). Students are expected to be able to “identify the values underlying different views and judgments on personal and social issues, and apply critical thinking skills, creativity and different perspectives in making decisions and judgments on issues and problems at both personal and social levels” (CDC & HKEAA, 2007, p. 6). Besides, critical thinking has been incorporated into the assessment criteria of Liberal Studies in the Diploma of Secondary Education in Hong Kong.
The approaches to teaching critical thinking can be classified into three models: general, infusion, and immersion (Behar-Horenstein & Niu, 2011; Ennis, 1989). Although in past decades extensive work has been done on these three approaches, there is still a lack of research investigating the influence of the classroom learning environment (which is considered as one type of immersion approach) on both critical thinking skills and disposition. To fill in this research gap, this study was conducted to explore the relationships between the classroom learning environment of a Hong Kong Liberal Studies course and the critical thinking disposition and skills of secondary school students.
Australian Department of Education and Training. (2006). Investigating contemporary pedagogical knowledge in thinking, ICT and Science in Victoria: Intertwining knowledge and practice. The Office of Learning and Teaching, Department of Education and Training. Melbourne, Victoria. Behar-Horenstein, L. S., & Niu, L. (2011). Teaching critical thinking skills in higher education: A review of the literature. Journal of college teaching and learning, 8(2), 25. Curriculum Development Council & Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (2007). Hong Kong Liberal Studies Curriculum and Assessment Guide. Author. Education Bureau. (2001). Learning to learn–the way forward in curriculum. Author. Ennis, R. H. (1989). Critical thinking and subject specificity: Clarification and needed research. Educational Researcher, 18(3), 4–10. Forawi, S. A. (2016). Standard-based science education and critical thinking.Thinking Skills and Creativity, 20, 52-62. Paul, R. (1995). Critical Thinking: how to prepare students for a rapidly changing world. California: Foundation for Critical Thinking. Singaporean Curriculum Planning and Development Division. (1998). The thinking programme: The explicit teaching of thinking: Teachers’ manual. Singapore. Ministry of Education.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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