ERIC Number: ED563979
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 17
Perceptions of Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Learning to Learn: A Study of Four Female Adult and Continuing Education Administrators
Blodgett, Cynthia S.
The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine ways in which adult education administrators define and apply critical thinking, problem solving, and learning to learn to their practices as well as in other areas of their lives. Participants included four female administrators in adult education programs at community college and state university settings. These individuals have advanced university degrees and experience with both teaching and administration. Data were collected by interview. An interview protocol was developed, designed to discover themes specifically related to participant's understanding and perceptions of: a) manifestations of critical thinking, problem solving, and learning to learn; b) similar concepts and processes by highly effective administrators; and c) similar concepts and processes as manifested by ineffective administrators. Their personal and professional backgrounds were also explored. Data were analyzed according to questions, which served as categories. Transcripts of the interviews were coded, then analyzed for themes within category. Themes that emerged from Category 1: Personal background, included educational background, daily work, career path, and understanding of themselves as adult learners. Themes within Category 2: Perceptions of critical thinking, problem solving, and learning to learn, in nonspecific terms, were organized by each of those components. Themes that emerged from both Category 3: Toward effective administration, and Category 4: Toward ineffective administration were parallel. These included overall impression, use of critical thinking, application of problem solving, learning to learn, and beliefs toward lifelong learning. One major area of concern that became evident in the data was respondents' inconsistent perception of the meaning or application of the concept of learning to learn; yet two areas of proficiency were identified by the respondents - communication and problem posing/ problem solving. Problem posing involves critical thinking and communication. Effective problem solving is facilitated by knowledge and practice of these skills and are needed to be well developed in the effective administrator. Two appendices are included: (1) Interview Protocol--Reasons behind the questions; and (2) Interview Protocol.
Descriptors: Adult Education, Continuing Education, Administrator Attitudes, Females, Educational Practices, Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, Community Colleges, State Universities, Interviews, Coding, Lifelong Learning, Educational Administration, Administrator Effectiveness, Educational Attitudes, Learning Processes, Case Studies
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Adult Education; Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A