ERIC Number: ED456251
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Jun
Reference Count: N/A
Critical Thinking in Adult Education: An Elusive Quest for a Definition of the Field.
Vaske, Joann M.
A study attempted to derive the meaning of critical thinking in adult education through exploration of graduate faculty members' perceptions and perceived practices of critical thinking in adult education. Grounded theory methodology was used to explain the meaning of critical thinking to adult educators. The primary data sources were unstructured interviews with 12 adult educators who currently teach or have previously taught adult education courses in institutions in the United States that offer graduate degrees in adult education. Other data sources included relevant documents and field notes. Data were analyzed and coded using the constant comparative method. The analysis of data uncovered four themes based on participants' perceptions: the goals of adult education; conceptualizations of critical thinking; impacts on teaching; and importance of critical thinking in adult education. Four conclusions were drawn: (1) there are conflicting and contested goals of adult education; (2) there is little agreement about the conceptualization of critical thinking by graduate faculty in adult education; (3) graduate faculty in adult education may or may not be fostering critical thinking skills in their students; and (4) what matters in adult education may not be critical thinking but critical reflection. Further research on the needs for critical thinking in adult education and the possibility of moving from individual development to social development as the goal of adult education is suggested. (Contains 248 references.) (Author/KC)
Descriptors: Adult Basic Education, Adult Education, Adult Educators, Critical Thinking, Educational Attitudes, Educational Needs, Educational Practices, Educational Principles, Graduate School Faculty, Higher Education, Individual Development, Social Change, Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Surveys, Thinking Skills
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A