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Teaching for Critical Thinking: Perceptions and Practices of Chinese Elementary School Teachers

Patrick Severine Kavenuke*


In recent years, researchers have shown an increased interest in studying about critical thinking. Individuals with critical thinking are self-confident, and can listen and learn from others. This study examined the perceptions of Chinese elementary school teachers on critical thinking. It also examined how they teach to develop critical thinking among pupils. The study employed a qualitative approach. In particular, a case study design was used to examine the research questions. The study was conducted at Dong Bei Wang Zhong Xin Xiao Xue (东北旺中心小学), an elementary school in Beijing, China, located in HaiDian district, using a sample of 6 English language teachers. It employed focused group discussions and direct observations as methods of data collection. The results indicate that the teachers understand what entails critical thinking; and they are aware that critical thinking can be developed in actual classroom practices. Nevertheless, the results revealed that the teachers minimally practised what they understood about critical thinking in actual classroom practices. Since the results indicated that the teachers understand what entails critical thinking and are aware that critical thinking can be developed in actual classroom practices, the study recommends that teachers’ classroom practices should reflect their perceptions of what constitutes critical thinking.


Chinese elementary schools, classroom practices, Confucian teachings, critical thinking, qualitative approach

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