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ERIC Number: ED438547
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999-Dec-2
Reference Count: N/A
Enhancing Critical Thinking in High School English and Theatre Arts.
Baker, Tonya; Delmonico, Janine
This report describes a program for enhancing critical thinking skills within the high school English and theatre classrooms. The targeted population consists of high school students in two multicultural middle-class suburbs of Chicago. The lack of critical thinking in the classroom was documented through data garnered from teacher observations, questionnaires, surveys, journals, and a modified version of The Cornell Critical Thinking Test Level X. The evidence from research suggests that students display a low participation level, poor decision making, many off task behaviors, anxiety regarding school work, poor ability to transfer knowledge, and tend to give up easily. Although the study analyzes critical thinking within students, it also scrutinizes the level of instruction of critical thinking within the classroom, the level of preparation for teachers on the instruction of critical thinking, and the educational system itself. As a result of the review of literature and the analysis of the problem data, interventions were selected that developed or increased students' abilities to use critical thinking in the English and theatre classrooms. The goal of these interventions was to foster and stimulate critical thinking among students in these classes. Postintervention results indicated that critical thinking is not a process that is easily measured; nor is it a process easily taught. In addition, the use of The Cornell Critical Thinking Test was ineffective and contrary to the critical thinking purpose. There are also many factors out of the control of individual teachers when it comes to implementing and improving critical thinking, thus hindering the effectiveness of critical thinking instruction. Third, critical thinking pedagogy is a learning process for the teachers as well as the students, and it takes time and patience to master. Finally, there is a potential connection between motivation and critical thinking that needs to be considered and addressed in future research. (Contains 27 references, and 2 tables and 22 figures of data.) (Author/RS)
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Master's Action Research Project, Saint Xavier University and IRI/Skylight.