Conversely, the lack of any significant change in analysis, inference, or evaluation skills in the nonwriting group indicated that the traditional lab instruction used in the general education biology control courses did not help students develop critical thinking skills. Based on the results of this study, it could be argued that traditional lab instruction actually prevents the development of critical thinking skills, which presents a rather large problem when one considers how frequently these traditional methods are used in general education biology courses. One also has to consider that the critical thinking gains seen in the writing group might also have resulted from the relative absence of traditional lab instruction rather than writing alone. Additional research will be necessary to gain further insight into this question. Either way, changes to the traditional model of lab instruction will be necessary if the goal is to enhance the critical thinking abilities of general education biology students.
The analysis of component skills provided greater insight into the particular critical thinking skills that students changed in response to writing. Specifically, writing students significantly improved their analysis and inference skills whereas nonwriting students did not. Writing students also improved their evaluation skills much more than nonwriting students, although not significantly. These results indicate that the process of writing helps students develop improved analytical and inference skills. Prior research indicates that the writing to learn strategy is effective because students must conceptually organize and structure their thoughts as well as their awareness of thinking processes (; ; ; ). More specifically, as students begin to shape their thoughts at the point of construction and continually analyze, review, and clarify meaning through the processes of drafting and revision, they necessarily engage and apply analysis and inference skills (; ). In this study, the process of writing appears to have influenced critical thinking gains. It also seems likely that writing students experienced a greater cognitive demand than nonwriting students simply because the writing act required them to hypothesize, debate, and persuade (; ) rather than memorize as was the case in nonwriting control courses.
Although critical thinking gains were influenced by writing, they did not appear to be affected by gender, ethnicity, class standing, or age. In fact, statistical results indicated that these variables collectively had a very small effect on critical thinking performance. Gender distribution was nearly identical across the writing and nonwriting groups, and was predominantly female (nearly 62%). Ethnic distribution was also highly similar across the writing and nonwriting groups, but the sampling was largely Caucasian (>84%). Class standing varied a little more across the writing and nonwriting groups, with the sample largely comprised of underclassmen (70%). Although nearly three-quarters of the sample was between 18 and 21 years of age, nearly 10% was over 21, with a fair number of older nontraditional students represented. It is possible that a more diverse sample would have produced different results, or it may be that the individuals participating in this study responded particularly well to writing. Although further investigation of these variables is necessary and important, it was beyond the scope of the current study.
The decision to use collaborative groups to support writing in the laboratory was partly based on existing literature (; ; ; ; ) and prior research by Quitadamo, Brahler, and Crouch (unpublished results), who showed that Peer Led Team Learning (one form of collaborative learning) helped to measurably improve undergraduate critical thinking skills. Small group learning was also used in the nonwriting treatment groups to a greater or lesser extent depending on individual instructor preference.
critical thinking - Essay by Amytrickett - Anti Essays
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Critical Thinking Memorandum | Assignment Essays
Critical thoughts should not be confused by opposing or criticizing others. Critical thinking ability can be used to expose misunderstandings and rational logic, but it also plays critical role, crucial tasks, and critical thinking. Critical thinking can help us gain knowledge, improve his theories, and strengthen arguments. We can use critical thinking to improve the work processes and improve social institutions.
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Key Critical Thinking Skills for Great Essay-Writing
In this discussion forum, you will examine your critical thinking, inquiring, and communication skills as they relate to the subject of physical education. Questioning compels thinking and, as thinkers, you assess what you read and incorporate knowledge with your prior understanding of the subject. As part of this discussion, you will read about concepts surrounding physical education and evaluate your previous knowledge on this subject. Then, you will create your own question for your classmates to answer.