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Critical thinking skills of prospective teachers: foreign language education case at the Middle East Technical University

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2008
Tufan, Didem
This research examined the critical thinking (CT) skills and conceptions of prospective teachers studying at Foreign Language Education Department at Middle East Technical University. In this way, the study intended to contribute to the field of curriculum and instruction by pointing to the currents status while constituting a basis for further actions in teacher education in terms CT. In this research, data analysis was carried out through both quantitative and qualitative analysis. A survey, including Student Information Form, and Watson and Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal- Form YM Turkish version were utilized for data gathering. Data were collected from 103 prospective teachers in the junior and senior level during the Spring Semester of 2007- 2008 Academic Year. Results demonstrated that the critical thinking (CT) levels of prospective teachers assessed by WGCTA are in medium level. In addition, WGCTA-YM cannot be predicted from reported regular reading activity, CGPA, and gender. Besides, results showed that, prospective teachers make rudiment or vague statements about critical thinking activities and do not point to a common instructional activity. In terms of critical thinking definitions, prospective teachers mostly perceive CT as a cognitive skill. Furthermore, there is a common sense view of CT rather than an understanding based on literature. The results revealed that prospective teachers are short of the essential CT skills and the CT comprehension to be able to raise individuals with CT ability. Therefore, curriculum renovation movements, projects, and research studies to improve critical thinking skills in teacher education should be developed and implemented.