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Obstacles to critical thinking: A qualitative study on secondary school learners in Masvingo, Zimbabwe

Prayers Wekwete
Leonie Higgs


The research reported on in this article was mainly undertaken to determine the obstacles to the enhancement of critical thinking in the  learning of history at Form 3 level in secondary schools in the Masvingo urban area of Zimbabwe, in terms of the rationale of developing  the learners’ critical thinking. The promotion of critical thinking abilities is vital in education, since doing so helps to improve the learners’  academic performance, as well as aiding in producing graduates with a multiplicity of skills that are required in the 21st century  job market and in society as a whole. We used semi-structured interviews and lesson observations to reach conclusions on what  recommendations to make in addressing the research problem. Several factors were identified as hindering the learners’ acquisition of  critical thinking, including the learners’ and teachers’ lack of self-efficacy, motivation and the poor learning environment. In addition to  reflecting on the possibility of improving the learning and teaching of critical thinking, we recommend that the Ministry of Primary and  Secondary Education, Zimbabwe’s Schools Examination Council, teacher training colleges and teachers should all work together to   develop the learners’ critical thinking skills within the parameters of the Zimbabwean education system.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2076-3433
print ISSN: 0256-0100