Critical Thinking Skills Development: Secondary School Science Teachers’ Perceptions and Practices
This multiple case study aimed to develop an understanding of science teachers’ interpretations and enacted practices about policy documents’ recommendations for developing critical thinking skills among secondary students in public schools. Four public secondary schools were selected through the purposive sampling technique. Data were collected in three different phases. First, four education policy documents, including National Education Policy (2009) and National Curriculum for Physics, Chemistry, and Biology Grades IX-X (2006), were analyzed. In the second phase, 12 science teachers from four public schools (3 from each school teaching Physics, Chemistry, and Biology) were interviewed. Besides, these 12 science teachers were observed (every six times) while teaching in a real-life context through video-recorded classroom observations and reflective field notes. With the facilitation of NVivo 11, qualitative content analysis was used to analyze the data obtained from all sources. The findings revealed that critical thinking was emphasized in all policy documents, and different pedagogical practices for developing critical thinking were suggested to be used in science classrooms. Analysis of interview data revealed that teachers had some awareness about critical thinking. Furthermore, the classroom observations revealed that they were mainly using the lecture method with some other pedagogies without focusing on critical thinking. A top-down change is also recommended for the implementation of the policies. The assessment system might also be revised, focusing on critical thinking skills development.