Theoretical Cognitive Principles Observed in the Social Studies Classroom
Keywords:critical thinking, learning processes, intellectual interaction, application of knowledge
Pre-service elementary social studies teachers in the southeastern United States participated in a mixed methods study to determine the degree to which they utilized critical thinking skills. Insight Assessments administered analysis of their reflections, critical thinking skills, and dispositions test; the researchers developed a post survey for the study based on Paul & Elder’s (2009) work. Pre-service teachers initially believed that their critical thinking abilities were above average; however, after taking the skills and dispositions test and receiving feedback on their reflections, they developed a new appreciation and understanding of the components of critical thinking. They also made a commitment to help their future students develop their critical thinking skills. This study addresses the need to consider how our pre-service teachers think, how to help them think more critically, and how to help them teach critical thinking skills when they become teachers.