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Awakening the Awareness: Critical Thinking in Vocational Education

Indar, Debra (2016) Awakening the Awareness: Critical Thinking in Vocational Education. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

The development of critical thinking skills in students is one of the cherished and prominent objectives of education; however, in spite of its acclaimed significance, critical thinking has remained one of the most elusive goals of education systems. Although nurturing and inculcating critical thinking skills have been presumed to be the responsibility of academic education, within recent times the philosophy of education has changed to one that recognizes critical thinking as a viable inclusion in vocational education. The purpose of this research was twofold: (1) to investigate how Vocational Instructors, Administrators and Internal Verifiers of a specific programme in Trinidad and Tobago conceptualize critical thinking in vocational education; and (2) to determine their perceptions of factors that impact the development of critical thinking in the adult students of the programme. By means of a Case Study in the Qualitative paradigm the perspectives of fifteen purposefully selected persons were gained primarily through open-ended and semi-structured interviews. An eclectic blend of various theoretical frameworks was used to interpret the data which revealed that participants equate critical thinking in vocational education to being proactive, evaluation, extrapolation, rigorous questioning, and problem solving. The commonly reported factors impacting the development of critical thinking in adult vocational students were their socio-economic status, educational attainment and levels of reading, attitudes, and their culture/religion. Other factors reported with less frequency were teachers’ instructional style, teachers’ personalities, students’ expectations, classroom climate, design of the curriculum, institutional factors such as time and resource constraints, and students’ physical and mental barriers. This research highlights the need for vocational instructors to: (a) resist the urge to conduct their classes on the archaic principle of teaching as primarily transmitting knowledge; and (b) facilitate the learning process by nurturing the development of critical thinking in vocational education through its various manifestations.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Keywords: critical thinking, vocational education, adult education
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.718817
Depositing User: Mrs Debra Indar
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2017 12:58
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 09:41
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/17772

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