The role of thinking frames in developing teachers' critical thinking skills and dispositions

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Teaching and Learning

First Committee Member

Eveleen Lorton - Committee Chair


The purpose of the study was to determine the role of thinking frames in developing teachers' critical thinking skills and dispositions. The subjects were 47 elementary teachers who participated in a ten-week in-service. Treatments were randomly assigned to three groups. The experimental group received instruction in Richard Paul's Critical Thinking Remodeling of Lesson Plans with the inclusion of a thinking frame, a graphic representation of critical reflection. The comparison group received the same instruction with the exclusion of the thinking frame. The base-line group was instructed using a traditional approach which excluded both critical thinking skills and a thinking frame. The major findings of the study were as follows: (1) Teachers who were taught in the experimental group did not obtain statistically different scores on the Ennis-Weir Critical Thinking Essay Test than the teachers taught in the comparison or base-line groups; (2) Teachers across groups showed nonsignificant differences in how they perceived themselves as thinkers when measured by Edward's Self-Concept as a Thinker Scale; (3) Teachers in the experimental group reached a higher level of reflectivity as assessed by Van Mannen's Levels of Reflectivity than teachers in the comparison and base-line groups. The results of one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) at the.05 significance level revealed that there were no statistically significant differences. However, in the qualitative analysis of the data the results indicate that teachers in the experimental group reached a higher level of critical reflection. Thinking frames seem to be a process for helping teachers become more critically reflective. They facilitate understanding of the mental constructs and processes that underlie teacher behavior, a must for the portrayal of cognitive theory in teachers' development. The discussion section offers valuable insights for educators interested in studying the complexity of teachers' thought processes and development of critical reflection. Recommendations for further research as well as the limitations of the study are included.


Education, General; Education, Adult and Continuing; Education, Teacher Training

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