Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Theory and practice in critical thinking A level and the evacuation of knowledge thesis
Author: Howarth, Mark
ISNI:       0000 0004 2731 1597
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2012
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
The concept of critical thinking has been influential in curriculum policy and practice across sectors of UK education and has been identified as a key consideration in recent consultations about A level reform. The purpose of this study is to describe the meanings attributed to critical thinking in expert accounts and to compare these with policy maker and participant meanings in the context of A level Critical Thinking. A distinctive feature is the attention given to underlying epistemological and ontological assumptions of these accounts. The prevailing concept of critical thinking is of a universally applicable set of skills and dispositions for assessing reasoning and evidence, which derives from the informal logic movement and rests on a fallibilist epistemology. This contrasts with discipline specific concepts. In social realist theory critical thinking has been associated with ‘soft genericism’ and implicated in an ‘evacuation of knowledge’. A critique and extension of this theory is proposed which differentiates between multiple forms and functions of critical thinking in the curriculum. Evidence on student views was gathered in a mixed methods case study, supplemented by a teacher response activity. Students attributed high value to critical thinking and were confident in their ability to apply skills to academic and life situations; whilst they felt that these skills were not taught in other subjects. In apparent contradiction, teachers suggested correspondence between the skills expected for high performance across subjects and those in A level Critical Thinking. Additionally, they emphasized the importance of subject specific contextualising to depth of critical evaluation. It was concluded that knowledge and critical thinking are complementary rather than conflicting forces in education and that a differently conceived critical thinking based on social constructionist epistemology is compatible with and essential to the knowledge curriculum envisaged by social realists.
Supervisor: Dyke, Martin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools