Relationship of teacher behaviors and characteristics to critical thinking skills among middle level students Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/cn69m677h

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  • The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of teachers' behaviors and characteristics upon the development of student mathematical critical thinking skills. From a pool of 20 teachers, whose students had been pre- and post-tested for a measure of critical thinking skills, 10 middle level teachers were selected to complete extensive questionnaires on their backgrounds and experiences, submit videotaped records of classroom activity, and to maintain detailed data on their classroom actions. The teachers were ranked in accordance with their respective classes' mean gain scores on the assessment tool. From the pool of 20 teachers, the top-ranked 25% (five teachers) and the bottom-ranked 25% (five teachers) were selected for the study. Extremes of the ranking order were used to increase the probability of determining potential differences in teacher behaviors and characteristics between the two groups. The two extremes were thus placed in two groups to identify those variables which contributed to differences between the groups. Identified variables from pairwise comparisons of the teachers within each group were analyzed, following corroboration from a minimum of three data sources, to generate groups profiles. A 5 x 5 matrix was constructed for each potential group variable. Comparisons were conducted between all pairs of teachers within each group, and the differences between the two groups were compiled in the form of group profiles. The five top-ranked teachers, based upon student performances, were distinguished from the lowest-ranked five teachers by greater use of small group instruction, math manipulatives, and warmup activities; as well as by provision for teaching higher-order thinking skills, frequency of transitions between classroom activities, and the use of activities which required the application of concepts. The lowest-ranked teachers were characterized by the greater frequency of teacher-directed instruction, a higher amount of computer usage, assignment of individual student work, highly structured classes, and extensive reliance on textbooks as the primary source of instructional materials.
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