The effect of probing questions within a value conflict and a standard social studies content on the critical thinking skills of primary age children

Date

1973

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of teacher use of probing questions within a value conflict and a standard social studies content on the critical thinking skills of primary age students. The specific objectives of the investigation were: (1) to determine the effects of teacher use of probing questions on the critical thinking skills of students in the third grade, (2) to determine the effects of a value conflict content on the critical thinking skills of these students in the third grade, and (3) to determine the effects of the interaction of teacher use of probing questions within a value conflict content on critical thinking skills. Forty classrooms of 1,233 students in the third grade were involved in the investigation, twenty of which were randomly assigned to a value conflict content, while the other twenty classrooms continued to use standard social studies materials. The treatment period was for two weeks containing ten thirty-minute class periods with each of the sessions audiotaped by the participating teacher. At the conclusion of the treatment period, a test of critical thinking and reading was administered to each of the students. The test was designed to produce measures of the following critical thinking skills: (1) ability to differentiate between fact, opinion, and fancy; (2) ability to make assumptions; (3) ability to make generalizations; (4) ability to make inferences; and (5) ability to determine relevancy. Each of the taped lessons was analyzed to determine the level of teacher use of probing questions with a mean split used to make the distinction between high and low level use. A 2 x 2 factorial design was employed with the level of teacher use of probing questions crossed with the content used in the instruction. [...]

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Keywords

Educational tests and measurements, Reasoning, Education, Primary

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