Identifier

etd-12012009-155424

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Human Resource Education and Workforce Development

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to determine the influence of selected personal and professional demographic characteristics on the critical thinking abilities of teachers in a parish in Southwest Louisiana. The study is a correlational design using a descriptive survey technique with questions for the data collection. The examiner looked at attribute independent variables – characteristics that a subject has before a study begins such as gender, age, race, highest level of education completed, and years of teaching experience. Three hundred and twenty-four teachers in twelve public schools (three high schools, four middle schools, and five elementary schools) participated in the research. The examiner hypothesized that critical thinking is a by-product of higher-level post-graduate degrees. However, this theory was not proven in the study. There were few findings that showed relationships to the independent variables. One finding was that Caucasians had higher critical thinking scores than other races. Another finding was that social studies teachers at the middle school level had higher scores on the Watson Glazer Critical Thinking Appraisal Short Form Test sub-scale of “Interpretation” than did middle school teachers in other content areas. The researcher found that 51 males (15.8%) and 272 (84.2%) females participated in the study, showing a gender disparity among teachers who participated in the study. The researcher concluded that high school mathematics teachers had higher critical thinking skills in three sub-scales than other high school teachers in other areas. This conclusion was based on the finding showing that high school mathematics teachers had higher scores on the WGCTA sub-scales of Deduction, Interpretation, and Overall Scales than high school teachers who did not identify mathematics as a primary content area of teaching. The researcher recommends that additional research should be done to confirm or disprove the finding that math content influences critical thinking. The researcher also recommends that additional research studies should concentrate on public school teachers of algebra versus teachers of geometry versus teachers of calculus.

Date

2010

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Burnett, Michael F.

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