Date of Award

Fall 2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Studies

First Advisor

Christopher Bogiages

Abstract

Critical thinking has proved essential for college, career, and civic readiness, and K-12 educators have accepted its significance while being unsure of how to implement it in the classroom. The purpose of this mixed methods action research study was to identify effective instructional practices for developing fairmindedness and metacognition, two elements of critical thinking identified by Paul and Elder (2012) and purposefully selected by the participating students and the practitioner-researcher as the focus for this study. A hybrid instructional approach that integrated direct instruction and collaborative learning was developed, enacted and studied using a pre-/post-assessment model with four weeks of intervention. The research questions that guided this study were (1) How does a hybrid model of direct and collaborative instruction in fairmindedness impact gifted high school students' critical thinking skills? and (2) What aspects of performance assessment have a noticeable impact on metacognition? During the intervention, students were engaged in direct instruction on critical thinking, a whole-class discussion of a news media story, worked independently to read a news media article and analyze it with respect to fairmindedness, and then worked collaboratively to develop and deploy a rubric that could assess fairmindedness in news media. Based on the analysis of students' written performance assessments, recorded classroom discussions, and revisions of the student-generated rubric, students demonstrated a marked improvement in both metacognition and fairmindedness. Additionally, students became more engaged in classroom discourse as the intervention progressed and the need for direct instruction diminished. Implications for teachers and program directors working toward college and career readiness and others working in high school settings are discussed.

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