CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS IN TEACHER EDUCATION: NEED AND STRATEGIES

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  1. 1. 1578 AMERICAN RESEARCH THOUGHTS ISSN: 2392 876X Available online at: www.researchthoughts.us http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1431537 Volume 1 Issue 7 May 2015 Impact Factor: 2.0178 (UIF) CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS IN TEACHER EDUCATION: NEED AND STRATEGIES Bonnie Amonge Crerar1 , Dr. Neeta Kalita Barua2 1Research Scholar, Dept. of Education, Dibrugarh University 2Associate Professor, Dept. of Education, Dibrugarh University Abstract: Todays citizens need to think globally while acting locally, conscious of the fact that their actions can have far reaching implications despite their absence. And teachers actions in the classroom are pertinent to the development of future adult citizens. Human actions are nothing but a manifestation of their thoughts, teachers being human their actions whether within or outside the classroom too is a result of their thoughts. Present day schools no more house Monocultural Traditional Classrooms but have been replaced by Culturally Diversified Smart Classroom where in the main motto is Sabke Saath, Sabka Vikas. Here no one is to be left behind on the basis of ethnicity, race, socio-economic status, gender, exceptionalities, language, religion, sexual orientation and geographical area. This demands that teachers impartially identify, tap-in and provide opportunities for the development of the unique abilities of the students. For this teachers will have to be able to carry out Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) that involves critical thinking, problem solving and creating with critical thinking at its foundational level. In fact a 21st century teacher to fully participate in the Global community needs to Master not only the 3Rs of reading, writing and arithmetic, but also the 4Cs i.e. critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration. The term Master reminds us of the fact that effective teachers are made and not born, hence the concept of Teacher Education. Teacher Education is a teacher preparation programme wherein one of the main objectives is to help teachers develop the required skills to perform their task effectively in the school and classroom, here the Critical Thinking Skills. Here Albert Einstein can be aptly quoted where he stated: Education is not the learning of facts but training the mind to think. The term Critical Thinking too finds expression in the National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education 2009-10 which aims at developing teachers ability to think and be critical, thus producing Humane and Professional teachers. Critical Thinking being the focal point of the present paper an attempt is made to understand the need and means of embedding Critical Thinking in Teacher Education. As such this paper attempts to fulfil the following objectives:
  2. 2. Bonnie Amonge Crerar, Neeta Kalita Barua - CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS IN TEACHER EDUCATION: NEED AND STRATEGIES 1579 AMERICAN RESEARCH THOUGHTS- Volume 1 Issue 7 2015 To explain the concept of critical thinking and the steps involved. To state the need of critical thinking in teacher education. To suggest strategies to be adopted in developing critical thinking through teacher education. Key Words: Critical Thinking, Value Education, Teaching Method, Knowledge, Understanding 1. INTRODUCTION Todays citizens need to think globally while acting locally, at the same time being conscious of the fact that their actions can have far reaching implications despite their absence, unwillingness and unawareness. The teachers actions in the classroom are pertinent to the development of future adult citizens or to be more precise future human resources. Human actions are nothing but a manifestation of their thoughts; teachers being human their actions, whether within or outside the classroom, too is a result of their thoughts. Present day schools no more house Monocultural Traditional Classrooms but have been replaced by Culturally Diversified Smart Classrooms where in the main motto is Sabke Saath, Sabka Vikas. Here no one is to be left behind on the basis of ethnicity, race, socio-economic status, gender, exceptionalities, language, religion, sexual orientation and geographical area. This was further reaffirmed by our Honourable Present Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi in his speech delivered on Thursday, April 24, 2015 at the Global Services Exhibition in New Delhi, that India had to move forward from becoming a hub for BRAIN DRAIN to a hub for BRAIN GAIN. For achieving the goal of BRAIN GAIN, the Prime minister impressed upon the global leaders investing in education in the country, for mapping of human resources to identify region specific talents and encourage development of region specific skills to be able to cater to the requirement of the global community, thus procuring benefits both at a personal and national level. Furthering the cause of Human Resource Mapping, he drew attention to the demography of the country stating that 65% of the population was below 35 years of age and this was going to double in the coming few years, thus making India a young country. Viewing this scenario from a global perspective, Indias Human Resource constituted its biggest strength and property and had to be taken care of in Indias journey towards development. This would help India in exporting multi- layer services to the world, Human Resource Services being one of them. From this it is clear that most of Indias future youth are at present seated in her classrooms (K12 to
  3. 3. Bonnie Amonge Crerar, Neeta Kalita Barua - CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS IN TEACHER EDUCATION: NEED AND STRATEGIES 1580 AMERICAN RESEARCH THOUGHTS- Volume 1 Issue 7 2015 Higher Education all inclusive) at the behest of one or more than one teacher. In making Indias strive towards BRAIN GAIN a success, teachers role cannot be ignored wherein the teacher would be expected to help each individual student become a contributing member of society. This would demand that teachers impartially identify, tap-in and provide opportunities for the development of the unique abilities of the students in this context. For this teachers would have to be able to carry out certain innovative methods to be able to materialize the Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) that are involved in critical thinking, problem solving and creating with critical thinking at its foundational level. In fact a 21st century learner, to fully participate in the Global community needs to Master not only the 3Rs of reading, writing and arithmetic, but also the 4Cs i.e., Critical thinking, Creativity, Communication and Collaboration. The term Master reminds us of the fact that effective leaders are made and not born, hence the concept of mastery learning. Teacher Education is a teacher preparation programme wherein one of the main objectives is to help student-teachers develop the required skills to perform their task effectively in the school and classroom, so that they may be able to help each student to develop their personality potentials. The twenty-first century learner is supposed to be the product of a quality education: quality education implies that every student should be able to develop certain life-skills by the time h/she completes schooling. One of the important 21st century life skills is development of the Thinking Skill in learners, which includes also the Critical Thinking Skills within its various components. At this point of our discussion it is pertinent to note that, with the signing of the GATS treaty, education has become a product or commodity and teachers and their teaching is a service catered by certain specialists to society, in other words, thus making teachers important Human Resource Service Providers and hence viable for export to the global community. It is through the Teacher Education Programme that such human resources are created, hence making Teacher Education dually significant of catering to the classrooms both locally and globally. To be effective in global context teachers also will have to develop the 21st century skills (critical thinking being one of them) and this is possible through teacher education programmes. Hence the importance of Critical Thinking in Teacher Education and herein lies the significance of the present paper. Here Albert Einstein can be aptly quoted where he stated: Education is not the learning of facts but training the mind to think. The term Critical Thinking too finds expression in the National Curriculum Framework for Teacher
  4. 4. Bonnie Amonge Crerar, Neeta Kalita Barua - CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS IN TEACHER EDUCATION: NEED AND STRATEGIES 1581 AMERICAN RESEARCH THOUGHTS- Volume 1 Issue 7 2015 Education 2009-10 which aims at developing teachers ability to think and be critical, thus producing Humane and Professional teachers. Thus, in order to teach their learners to be critical thinkers, every teacher should himself first learn to be a critical thinker - thus h/she will have to know what are the components that are included in critical thinking and how these can be promoted in every learner. 2. OBJECTIVES Critical Thinking in Teacher Education being the focal point of the present paper, an attempt is made to understand the need and means of embedding Critical Thinking in Teacher Education. As such this paper attempts to fulfill the following objectives: 1. To explain the concept of critical thinking and the steps involved in it 2. To state the need of critical thinking in teacher education 3. To suggest strategies to be adopted in developing critical thinking through teacher education 3. METHODOLOGY The present paper is a theoretical analysis of the related literature on the concept of critical thinking and its place in teacher education, the literature for which was mostly collected from internet sources. 4. CONCEPT OF CRITICAL THINKING 4.1. Historical Overview The following overview is a summarization of the writings of the Center for Critical Thinking and Brent Tayl