Towards a conceptual framework for the integration of critical thinking into a teacher education curriculum : addressing some of the educational challenges of South Africa

Scholtz, Zena (2019-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : There seems to be a general acceptance that the development of critical thinking should be an important aim of higher education. The notion of critical thinking was presented as being particularly pertinent to the transformative goals of the new South African democracy and was included as an essential cross-field requirement in educational policy at both higher education and school level. The purpose of this study is to explore how notions of critical thinking manifest in relation to policy and pedagogy in initial science teacher education. My research methodology is interpretive hermeneutics and my research method entails a conceptual and deconstructive analysis of notions of critical thinking as they are revealed in the literature, dominant South African educational discourse, South African teacher education policy and physical science school curriculum documents. Each subsequent cycle of the analysis results in an expansion of a conceptual framework on notions of critical thinking in relation to science teacher education. Throughout the dissertation I develop insights through an interrogation of the literature, where I search for and formulate constitutive meanings, that is, shared assumptions and understandings of notions of critical thinking. These constitutive meanings serve as indicators that guide my analysis of education policy pertinent to my study. In addition, I identify conceptual gaps by reflecting on how notions of critical thinking may be relevant to the role of the science teacher. Furthermore, my own personal experience as a teacher educator informs my exploration. The study culminates in the development of an elaborated conceptual framework which contains dimensions of critical thinking that hopefully have the potential to inform how science teacher education programmes can operationalise notions of critical thinking in the subject discipline of Physical Science. These dimensions are perspectives on notions of critical thinking which influence the teacher’s conduct, features of critical thinking which are key concepts related to critical thinking, particularly the notion of a reflexive praxis that highlights the teacher’s professional judgement, pedagogical aspects which are likely to promote critical thinking in the classroom, and finally, the pedagogical focus which highlights the epistemological and methodological nature of science. Implications of the elaborated conceptual framework for science teacher education programmes are discussed.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Daar is blykbaar algemene aanvaarding dat kritiese denke ‘n belangrike rol van hoër onderwys speel. Dit is veral belangrik vir die transformerende doeleindes van die Suid-Afrikaanse demokrasie. Kritiese denke is dus as ‘n belangrike kruisveld behoefte in opvoedingsbeleid in beide hoër en basiese onderwys ingesluit. My navorsingsmetodologie is interpretatiewe hermeneutiek en dit behels ‘n konseptuele en dekonstruktiewe ontleding van begrippe van kritiese denke soos dit voorkom in Suid-Afrikaanse opvoedkundige diskoers, die Suid-Afrikaanse onderwysbeleid en die beleidsdokumente vir die fisiese wetenskap kurrikulum. Elke opeenvolgende siklus van hierdie ontleding dra by tot die opbou van ‘n konseptuele raamwerk wat uiteindelik idees van kritiese denke in die wetenskaponderwys verteenwoordig. My navorsing behels die ondersoek na konstitutiewe betekenisse van die konsep ‘kritiese denke’ in die literatuur. Dit wil sȇ, gedeelde, aanvaarde betekenisse van ‘n konsep wat in die literatuur voorkom. In hierdie verhandeling ontwikkel ek deurgaans insigte deur middel van ‘n bevraagtekening van die literatuur oor kritiese denke waar ek na konstitutiewe betekenisse soek en dit formuleer. Hierdie konstitutiewe betekenisse dien as rigtingaanduiders vir die analise van die opvoedingsbeleid van my keuse. Ek identifiseer ook konseptuele gapings wat van toepassing op die rol van die wetenskaponderwyser is, maar in die literatuur ontbreek. Verder, belig my persoonlike ervaring as ‘n opvoeder in die onderwysopleiding ook die rigting wat my studie inneem. Hierdie studie kulmineer in die ontwikkeling van ‘n uitgebreide konseptuele skema of raamwerk met dimensies van kritiese denke wat hopelik tot die hantering van die konsep ‘kritiese denke’ in die skoolvak, fisiese wetenkap kan bydra. Hierdie dimensies sluit in perspektiewe van die konsep, ‘kritiese denke’ wat die onderwyser se gedrag kan beïnvloed, sleuteleienskappe van kritiese denke veral die idee van ‘n refleksiewe praktyk wat die onderwyser se profesionele diskressie belig, pedagogiese aspekte wat kritiese denke in die klaskamer bevorder en laastens die pedagogiese fokus wat die epistomologiese en metodologiese aard van wetenskap beklemtoon. Implikasies van die bevindings vir wetenskap onderwys word ook bespreek.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107074
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