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Lee, Ngan Hoe
Chua, Boon Liang
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The importance of teaching critical thinking (CT) in schools is not a new issue. The Ministry of Education (MOE) in Singapore has made many attempts over time to emphasise the importance of teaching CT in the classrooms. However, primary mathematics teachers in Singapore have differing concepts of CT and many of them have not been adequately equipped to teach CT. There is also a dearth of literature on professional development (PD) programmes for teachers teaching CT in the Singapore primary mathematics classroom. This study fills the research and practice gaps and aims to develop, implement and evaluate a PD programme for teachers teaching CT in the Singapore primary mathematics classroom.

In order to develop a PD programme based on sound foundations, research on PD as well as CT were examined. From reviewing the research on PD, an existing PD framework was found to be suitable for use in this study. This framework was adapted and used as the theoretical framework for this present study. Henceforth, the adapted framework will be referred to as the Critical Thinking Professional Development (CTPD) framework. A PD programme was designed with reference to the CTPD framework. Research on CT gave guidance on the content of the PD programme. For instance, from studying research comparing various approaches of teaching CT, this study found that the infusion approach was the most feasible approach to teaching CT in Singapore. Research on CT also surfaced several definitions of CT. These definitions were examined and four common and crucial characteristics of CT were distilled to operationalise CT in this study.

The designed PD programme was implemented at three schools and the multiple-case study approach was adopted to track the development of teachers’ competencies with respect to teaching CT. Three teachers participated in the study. Their students’ responses during lessons as well as their work were studied to find out the impact of the PD programme on students’ CT behaviour. A variety of data including teachers’ interviews and critical reflections, lesson videos and students’ work were collected for triangulation of data.

The study found that the teachers’ conception of CT became more aligned to the study’s operationalised definition of CT after their participation in the PD programme. The number of instances where teachers exhibited certain characteristics of CT during teaching was observed to have increased after the teachers had participated in the PD programme. At the same time, it was noted that the students’ responses contained more elements of CT. The study also established a set of guiding principles for the development of a PD programme for teachers teaching CT in the primary mathematics classrooms.
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QA10.5 Lim
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Appears in Collections:Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

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