Investigating Strategies for Teaching Critical Thinking in Physics Classrooms

Recent studies highlighted educators’ concern about students’ lack of critical thinking skills and the need to address this issue. Critical thinking (CT) is a learned ability that can be incorporated in the curriculum (Maloney, 2015) but physics textbooks and teaching haven’t been successful at preparing learners in CT (Loper, 2010). This case study examines current practice and best strategies in teaching CT in physics classrooms such as reasoning, evaluation of multiple solutions to a problem, deducing, inferring, and problem solving. In a convenience and purposive sample of 10 schools in Lebanon, 30 physics teachers responded to a questionnaire, ten teachers were observed, 5 were interviewed.nThe Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP) (Piburn & Sawada, 2000) was adapted to investigate CT skills and strategies: analysis, interpretation, reflection, evaluation, inference, explanation, problem solving, decision making, hands on applications, lab, simulations, lecture and discussion, and problem-based learning. Steffen’s (2011) published questionnaire was adapted and administered, and semi-structured interviews were conducted to gain insight into teachers’ practices. Results from qualitative data analysis were triangulated to validate findings and synthesized to address the research questions. Participation in this study was voluntary; confidentiality was ensured. Findings show that teachers do not share common understanding of CT and are undecided if students are learning these. Most teachers don’t plan lessons to include teaching CT; their classes are teacher centered. They expect CT to develop naturally and admit lack of training in preparing such lessons. Findings indicate a need for teachers’ professional development in CT teaching strategies.



Author Information
Mona Nabhani, Lebanese American University, Lebanon
Moussa Bachir, Lebanese American University, Lebanon

Paper Information
Conference: ECE2018
Stream: Teaching Experiences, Pedagogy, Practice & Praxis

This paper is part of the ECE2018 Conference Proceedings (View) The full paper is not available for this title


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