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South African Journal of Education

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Critical thinking abilities among prospective educators: ideals versus realities

BJJ Lombard, MM Grosser

Abstract


One of the key educational ideals of the African Renaissance is the elevation of learners to the highest level of human development. The challenge put forward to the education and training sector is to provide for the necessary capacity and conditions to ensure sustainable holistic development and growth amongst all levels of learners. Parallel to this the South African Qualifications Authority's critical cross-field outcomes should be considered. One of these outcomes states that learners should be able to think critically. Although this outcome articulates well with the cognitive domain of holistic development, it also gives rise to some concern. One area of concern deals with the cultivation of critical thinking skills among learners. Research indicates not only that these higher order thinking skills are unlikely to develop simply as a result of maturation, but also that they are notoriously difficult to teach and learn. Furthermore, if it is assumed that educators should play a pivotal role in accompanying learners to develop critical thinking skills, it is perhaps also reasonable to assume that educators themselves should possess the capacity to think critically or to apply critical thinking skills. The purpose in this article is to elucidate the critical thinking abilities of a group of prospective educators in the light of the ideals being put forward by the African Renaissance and the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).

South African Journal of Education Vol.24(3) 2004: 212-216



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