To form critical citizens, education systems recognise the importance of strengthening children’s capacity to think critically, with the aim of exercising judgement using fact-based knowledge on the one hand and adopting an open and inquiring mindset on the other. To achieve this, however, schools need to better integrate critical thinking into their curricula. Although educators, psychologists and philosophers agree on the importance of critical thinking, there is still no agreement on what the concept entails and how teachers should be trained to put into practice. The main objective of this study was to explore how primary school teachers perceive this concept, and what experiences of critical thinking they bring with them from their own schooling and professional background. A total of twenty-one teachers were questioned through semi-structured interviews in three European Schools in Brussels (Belgium). The results of this study show that teachers think they have a good understanding of the concept of critical thinking. They consider critical thinking to be the ability to analyse facts through different strategies, to perceive other hypothetical situations and to generate and improve personal opinions on concrete facts. According to the teachers, these are the main characteristics of a critical thinker: being reflective, collaborative, analytical and open-minded in relation to diverse cultural challenges. With regard to the schooling of teachers, the results show, on the one hand, that the mapping of reasoning, group discussion and active learning are relevant practices that they take into account to promote critical thinking in the classroom. On the other hand, they stress that their experiences were still limited. As far as their professional background is concerned, they indicate that during their teacher training they met stimulating critical thinking through project-based learning and philosophy for children. However, they stress that there is still a need for additional support in this area through peer learning and the exchange of best practices during teacher training. Teachers need to be better trained in how to teach critical thinking through existing practices to be sufficiently prepared to promote this in primary education. This research, which focuses specifically on teachers’ perceptions, contributes to defining the framework for the promotion of CT in the context of the professional development of primary school teachers. The relevance of the results can be used for future educational research and design among different stakeholders (teachers, school principals, policy makers, researchers) involved in innovative teaching methods for CT.
Originele taal-2English
Mijlpalentype toekennenAbstract for International Conference
UitgeverFoundation for Critical Thinking
Aantal pagina's1
StatusPublished - 6 okt 2020


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