Teaching critical thinking in mathematics using alternative strategies in Thailand

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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ---- The purpose of this study was to develop alternative teaching strategies to teach critical thinking skills to university undergraduates. The research was carried out using Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) and Cooperative Learning to teach critical thinking skills in Mathematics with first year students at Suan Sunantha Rajabhat University (SSRU) in Thailand. One hundred and twenty volunteer students aged 17-20 years were randomly selected, from students enrolled for the first time. They were randomly assigned to Traditional, CAI, and Cooperative groups using their Grade Point Averages (GPA), and reallocated to ensure approximately equal gender representation in Traditional, CAI, and Cooperative groups. The design of this study was described as a quasi experiment with three consecutive treatments (Critical Thinking, Mathematical Thinking, and Logic and Reasoning sessions). Data were collected by two parallel forms of pre-test, post-test for General Skills Test (GST), Critical Thinking Test (CT), Mathematical Thinking (MT), Logic and Reasoning Test (LR). A quantitative approach was used to investigate the research question. Qualitative data was accumulated from students' attitudes, interviews, and diaries. It was revealed that the gain score on GST of the Cooperative Learning group was significant and the gain on CT of the CAI group was also significant. Significant gains were also found in all three groups on the Logic and Reasoning. However, the differences of gains among the three groups were not statistically significant. This study was intended to be the beginning step of searching for new educational strategies. It would be beneficial to those looking for alternative strategies in teaching Critical Thinking in Mathematics. For further investigation, a longer period of study should be considered due to the fact that both teachers and students were not familiar with the new procedures. It is anticipated that with more practice, significant differences may occur. Basic training for the essential skills used in the alternative learning approaches should be included for those who do not have prior experience. The alternative strategies used in this study produced greater gains than the traditional course but the gains between the different teaching methods were not quite statistically significant. An important feature of the research was that the alternative strategies did not result in a lower performance.
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