Volume 53(2) - 2012 - DOI: 10.5032/jae.2012.02001


Abstract:

This study examined the effect of agriculture faculty training in and practice of methodologies to explicitly teach critical thinking skills related to course content and subsequent change in student critical thinking disposition.  Twelve instructors in 14 agriculture courses underwent a year–long program of instruction in effective critical thinking development.  Students completed the University of Florida–Engagement, Maturity, and Innovativeness assessment (UF–EMI) at the beginning and the end of the semester.  Pair–wise comparisons showed significant increases in all three critical thinking dispositions (i.e., engagement, cognitive maturity, and innovativeness).  In addition, a step–wise regression on the data gathered at the end of the semester showed that grade point average was positively related to all three critical thinking dispositions and being in one's first year of college was negatively related to each dimension.  The 300 course level was negatively related to innovativeness and engagement.  Being in the second and third year of college were also negatively related to engagement.  This study supports the notion that instructors can influence students’ critical thinking disposition within the limited time of a college semester.

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