Volume 38 - Number 1 - 1997 | DOI: 10.5032/jae.1997.01046



The American higher education system has been under close scrutiny for more than a decade. The cause is clear: a lack of correspondence between that which is believed to be required for critical thinking in adulthood and that which universities are teaching. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to describe the opportunities given to students to reach higher cognitive levels through professors' classroom discourse. The researchers sought to explore relationships between classroom discourse and class size, course level, and progression across the semester. Sixteen College of Agricultural Sciences faculty were purposefully selected. Researchers observed and recorded their teaching four times during the semester. Classroom discourse was presented predominately at lower cognitive levels. No statistically significant relationship existed between frequency of opportunities given students to think at higher cognitive levels, class size, course level, nor progression across semester. Teacher educators in agricultural education must prepare and present seminars and workshops designed to assist faculty in Colleges of Agriculture in learning techniques for increasing the frequency of opportunities given to students to think at higher cognitive levels, thereby enhancing the cognitive processing skills of students.

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