Scaffolding to Promote Critical Thinking and Learner Autonomy Among Pre-Service Education Students

Sara Weinstein, Devorah Preiss

Abstract


This study explored the use of a scaffolding technique in order to develop critical thinking skills and dispositions while using the infusion method of teaching critical thinking within the context of specific subject matter. Two specific skills were examined: the students were asked to compare and contrast Biblical textual stories (analysis) and then to generate abstract categories to describe the elements they had compared (evaluation). The disposition examined was the self confidence to reason independently, without teacher direction, in order to encourage learner autonomy. The study developed as action research in a teachers college Bible class, after pre-service education students complained that they were unable to compare and contrast texts on their own. In an attempt to solve this problem, the study began with a preliminary non-textual exercise involving analyzing and evaluating two everyday leisure activities. It then continued by transferring these skills to Biblical text comparisons. Findings showed that beginning the study with the scaffolding step of a non-textual exercise before moving on to text comparisons was an effective method of helping students overcome their former reluctance to autonomously compare texts without teacher intervention.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jet.v4i1.9871

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