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CHAPTER 5

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION

5.0 INTRODUCTION

In this chapter, the findings from the collected data are being discussed based
on the three research questions posed in the study. This chapter presents the
summary, discussions of the findings, recommendations and conclusion of the study.
The objective of the discussion is to investigate whether the objectives of this study
were achieved from the collection of data using the survey research. This chapter
also aims to suggest the recommendation needed for future researches.

5.1

Restatement of Research Questions

This study aims to answer the three research questions posed, namely;
i.

What do respondents understand about the meaning and the importance of


critical thinking?

ii.

What are the respondents inclinations in their habits of mind when they are
facing life issues, problems, and questions?

iii.

How do the respondents perceive their own thinking abilities when they face
issues, problems, and questions that they wish to answer?

5.2

Discussion of Findings Pertinent to Research Question One

Research Question One: What do respondents understand about the meaning and
the importance of critical thinking?

Principally, most of the respondents had satisfactory clear understanding of


the definition of critical thinking. This can be evident based on the findings from the
collected data, in which generally, it is found that the respondents possessed critical
thinking conceptions as the thinking that involves interpretation, analysis, evaluation,
explanation, and self-regulation. However, there were some misconceptions found in
this study, which critical thinking was regarded as thinking out of the box, problemsolving skill, and just a form of hard or deep thinking. Based on the results too, it is
also found that the respondents viewed critical thinking as important to deal with
issues, problems and challenges in life, for personal and professional development
and to provide alternatives for decision-making.
Although the respondents perceived the definition of critical thinking by the
skills required in critical thinking, only two respondents who involved in this study
perceived critical thinking as the thinking to make rational and reasonable judgment.
The skills of inference also were not included in any of the answer of the respondents
in explaining what they have understood by thinking critically. Facione (1990) in the
summary of Critical Thinking: A Statement of Expert Consensus for Purposes of
Educational Assessment and Instruction explained that inference is the skill to identify
elements needed to draw reasonable conclusions, form hypotheses, consider
relevant information and to deduce consequences from the information retrieved by
an individual, which includes the skills of querying evidence, conjecturing alternatives,
and drawing conclusion. Yet, many respondents perceived critical thinking is
important for providing alternatives for decision-making.

This

study

initially

assumed

that

the

respondents

could

give

the

comprehensible meaning and the importance of critical thinking in their life after four
years learning in the education course. It is significant to discover whether the
graduates from education major, especially in Bachelor of Education (TESL) have
clear concept of critical thinking after learning in the education course. This is mainly
due to the emphasis of critical thinking skills in tertiary education through the
instructional programmes and approaches, especially designed for teacher education
(Nagappan, 2001). According to Nagappan, in teaching critical and creative thinking
towards prospective teachers, direct instruction of thinking through non-curricular
texts and the use of methods to promote thinking in the content lessons were taken
by teacher educators. This might be the reason why the respondents could present
satisfactory understanding of the concept of critical thinking in the survey
questionnaire.
A study by Kaddoura (2013) explored the perceived definition of critical
thinking from the new graduate nurses based on the first critical nursing experience.
It was found that three major themes were identified by the researcher, which are
multi-perspective thinking, analytical activities and decision-making process. Almost
the same themes emerged in this study, however, the themes in the findings were
identified by referring to the proposed definition by Facione which is used for the
purposes of educational assessment and instructional. For example, multiperspective thinking and the analytical activities could be explained with the process
of examining ideas, in which is included under the skills of analysis by the expert
consensus.

5.3

Discussion of Findings Pertinent to Research Question Two

Research Question 2: What are the respondents inclinations in their habits of mind
3

when they are facing life issues, problems, and questions?

Generally, it is discovered that most of the respondents were disposed to think


critically while some respondents were quite hesitant in inclining towards critical
thinking. This can be evident in the findings of the study, in which 70% of the
respondents were inclined towards positive disposition of critical thinking. The rest of
the respondents were found to be ambivalent in their disposition of critical thinking. It
is found that the highest disposition of respondents habits of mind is willing to
honestly reconsider a decision after getting new information (open-mindedness), in
which 97% of the respondents were inclined to do when facing life issues, problems,
and questions. The least inclination of respondents habits of mind was found to be
reading reports, newspapers, or books or watch the news or documentaries just to
learn something new (truth-seeking) with only 54% of the respondents were reported
to be inclined to adopt the habit in their life. Besides that, it is found that there were
significant numbers of respondents who were not inclined towards thinking critically.
This is evident in high percentage of inclination of the respondents in negative habits
of mind. For instance, 30% of them were inclined to try to find information to build up
their side of argument but not for the other opposite side, while 20% of the
respondents were inclined to act indifferent for the possible adverse consequences of
their choices.
Apart from that, it is found that the respondents were highly inclined to view
situations from different perspectives with the reported mean of 4.16. However, the
lowest inclination among the listed habits of mind that was identified from the finding
was thinking independently, with the reported mean of 4.00. It can be concluded that
most of the respondents were usually or normally disposed towards thinking critically
based on the listed characteristics of respondents; thinking actively, exploring

situations with questions, thinking independently, viewing situations from different


perspectives, discussing idea in organized manner, and self-regulating.
Facione (1990) proposed that the expert consensus had their agreement in
proposing the importance of critical thinking disposition. It is believed that the
teaching of critical thinking is the most effective if the instructors themselves models
critical thinking dispositions and the appropriate use of critical thinking skills in the
instructional process. This research question is very important as most of the
respondents (83%) are planning to advance their career in education field. They
should possessed the dispositions towards critical thinking after being trained in the
education field during their tertiary education in the university.
Cohen (2010) conducted a study to investigate the critical thinking
dispositions of postprofesional graduate athletic training students and establish a
critical thinking disposition profile for graduate athletic training students using
California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory. It was found that the graduate
athletic training students had the highest score on inquisitiveness subscale and the
lowest on the truth-seeking subscale. This study also found similar pattern in the
lowest score of critical thinking dispositions on truth-seeking subscale. However,
compared to this study, Cohen used California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory
(CCTDI) that indicates more precise findings of the study of critical thinking
dispositions. However, this study only aims to offer brief overview about the critical
thinking dispositions of the TESL graduates based on the self-rating questionnaire to
provide brief information about the selected sample study.

5.4

Discussion of Findings Pertinent to Research Question Three

Research Question 3: How do the respondents perceive their own thinking abilities
5

when they face issues, problems, and questions that they wish to answer?

Thirdly, it is discovered that most of the respondents perceived their thinking


abilities as well. However, the ability or cognitive skill that was perceived by the
respondents as the least acquired or possessed is explanation ability with the mean
of 3.60. It is also discovered that interpretation is the ability or cognitive skill with the
highest score perceived by the respondents as the most acquired or possessed
among other abilities listed, with the mean of 4.10. It is found that one (3%)
respondent perceived his analysis ability as not well and one (3%) respondent
perceived his ability in inference as not well. Surprisingly, 13% of the respondents
perceived their ability of explanation as not well, and one of the respondents involved
in the study perceived her ability in explanation as not well at all.
This research question is significant in gathering the perception of the
graduates about their own thinking abilities. Besides that, it is important to investigate
whether the respondents have well perception about their own thinking abilities or
not. Ali, Bantz, & Siktberg (2004) investigate the graduates of nursing baccalaureate
and masters critical thinking skills and found out that the respondents had adequate
critical thinking skills in the areas of analysis and synthesis, but needed more
improvement in the evaluation domain. Compared to the previous study, the highest
score of perception of the respondents ability is the interpretation ability while the
lowest score is the explanation ability. This indicates that the respondents were aware
of their process of thinking, although there were still significant number who opted to
be indifferent about their own thinking abilities.

5.5

Recommendations

5.5.1

Recommendations based on the research findings


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The findings in this study can benefit the prospective teachers to enhance
their critical thinking skills during the learning process in the duration of eight
semesters. Besides that, it is important for the respondents and the participants of the
study to reflect on their thinking process to improve their critical thinking conceptions,
dispositions, and perceptions on their own thinking abilities. It is important for the
prospective teachers to always reflect their own process of thinking to enable them to
make reasonable and rationale judgment, not only for the sake of their personal and
professional development, but also in their life. It is important for them to improve
themselves by gaining information and knowledge about critical thinking and allow
themselves to adopt thinking critically in many aspects of their life.
It is also important for the students of higher learning institutions to be
included with the teaching of critical thinking. Direct instruction may be suggested to
lessen the misconceptions about critical thinking. The application of critical thinking in
their assessments and evaluation should also be increased to ensure that they
benefit extensively in the application of critical thinking.

5.5.1

Recommendations based on the research findings

This study did not use California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory
(CCTDI) that indicates more precise findings of the study of critical thinking
dispositions. CCTDI should be used as the means to collect data for critical thinking
dispositions in the future research if other researchers are interested in investigate
the area of study. Besides that, a more detailed research should be conducted to
investigate the understanding of critical thinking concept among students in Malaysia
higher education institutions, especially in education major, so that more extensive
and comprehensive literature can be offered in the critical thinking area of studies in
Malaysian context.
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5.6

Conclusion

This study aims to investigate the Bachelor of Education TESL graduates


critical thinking conceptions, critical thinking dispositions, and perception of thinking
abilities. This study found out that most of the respondents had satisfactory clear
understanding of the definition of critical thinking. Most of the respondents were also
disposed to think critically while some respondents were quite hesitant in inclining
towards critical thinking. Besides that, most of the respondents perceived their
thinking abilities as well, based on the five core cognitive skills investigated in this
study. Thus, more emphasis of critical thinking in the curriculum and instruction
should be imposed towards the students of higher institutions.