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ERIC Number: ED550453
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 170
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2678-3306-8
Fostering Higher Order Critical Thinking in 21st Century Teachers
Taft, Mary Miller
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, American International College
Teachers working with increasingly diverse student populations are expected, for the first time in American history, to bring all students to high levels of proficiency. American graduates must compete with graduates from other nations, given the realities of the 21st century global economy. American teachers must possess 21st century skills in order to teach them. There is negligible research documenting how to bring 21st century skills into teacher preparation classrooms. Researchers claim that teacher preparation programs suffer from numerous barriers to change. The lack of rigor in many programs impedes the preparation of teachers for a globally competitive environment. This study is a situational analysis that investigates how higher order critical thinking, as a proxy for 21st century skills, is integrated into classroom instruction by adjunct professors teaching in the M. Ed. in Initial Licensure for Moderate Disabilities in the Extended Campus Program at American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts. The study analyzes discourse from national and state policy, research, and college program documents, and interviews with 12 adjunct professors. Results indicate that the Extended Campus Program does not reflect criticisms common in the literature. Professors find numerous ways to integrate critical thinking into instruction and assessment, but are also mindful of the need to teach basic facts about special education law. Professors demonstrate a deep understanding of higher order critical thinking that overlaps significantly with the professional literature. Challenges noted by adjuncts stem from the rapid rate of program expansion and its geographically dispersed structure. Inconsistent communication of program policies and expectations is problematic. Diverse instructional strategies used by adjuncts suggest the need to revise syllabi to ensure consistent course content and delivery. Adjuncts need more professional development to foster a collegial and connected learning community. Adjuncts see the lack of integration of information and communications technology into course design and branch campus facilities as the greatest challenge, which may impact the ability of program graduates to succeed in a changing workplace. The college demonstrates commitment to continual innovation in response to rapidly changing circumstances. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts