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Desiree Moodley (Capetown/ South-Afria)#

Critical Thinking Practice in Pre-service Teacher Preparation: From Pedantic Ignorance toward Pedagogical Enlightenment#

Critical times demand critical thought and action. In an age tarnished by terror, intolerance and hate, children remain vulnerable and victim (Report of Youth for Human Rights International, 2016), and education continues to be challenged by political and societal upheavals. There is a dire need for critical thinking skills and dispositions to create awareness, understanding and enlightenment of the self and of others to deal with change and transformation. Moreover, classrooms remain teacher-centred spaces of pedantic regurgitation and rote memorisation. Research confirms a disjuncture between school, college, and systems expectations in meeting the needs of individual and social advancement (Blackwell, Trzesniewski, & Dweck, 2007; Cochran-Smith & Villegas, 2015; Darling-Hammond, 2010; Kizel, 2015), revealing a serious gap for a socially relevant education that meets academic and social advancement in higher order and critical thinking skills and dispositions

A disconnect exists between meeting the needs of diversity and appropriate teacher expertise in fostering critical awareness and understanding for enlightenment. Teacher preparation programs do not adequately prepare future educators to deal with diversity, and often does not effectively prepare future educators to teach for critical thinking.

Literature in critical thinking practice claims that thinking critically is a skill and an art which nin education (Kizel, 2015; Lipman, 1988; 1998; Lipman, Sharp, & Oscanyan, 1980; Schiering, 2016). Philosophy for Children (P4C) and the Interactive Methodology (IM), employing philosophical inquiry, critical, creative, co-operative, and caring thinking and dialogue are important best practice models worth investigating (Kizel, 2015; Lipman, 1998; Schiering, Bogner, & Buli-Holmberg, 2011; Schiering, 2016; Topping & Trickey, 2013). Significantly, framed within situated learning theory (Anderson, Reder, & Simon, 1996; Bandura, 1977; Brown, Collins, &, Duguid, 1989; Lave & Wenger, 1991; Vygotsky, 1978) undergirding the work of Lipman (1996) and Schiering (2016), critical thinking, underpinned in metacognitive, situated, dialogical, experiential, and intentional practices requires explicit engagement within pre-service teacher learning.

This paper reviews literature that explores the ways that critical thinking pedagogical practice may be fundamental to pre-service teacher preparation toward an enlightened 21st century model of education making the case for explicit consideration within pre-service teacher programs. This study proposes to explore contributions, complexities, and contradictions of critical thinking practice in pre-service teacher preparation to address the research question: In what ways are pre-service teachers prepared (or not) to foster critical thinking skills and dispositions in their students from diverse backgrounds and cultures toward a socially enlightened society?

The call to visioning an enlightened education today for a socially just society requires courage, persistence and resolve (Zuniga, 2013). Developing awareness and knowledge of the interconnectedness and complexities of 21st century diverse societies requires a vision and will for explicitly enabling voices (Kizel, 2015), shaping identities, renewing hope and respect for all. It is hoped that this empirical study may contribute to bridging divides that separate teacher and learner, school and society, and peoples from each other, worthy of investigation for 21st century pre-service teacher preparation from pedantic ignorance toward a model of pedagogical enlightenment in education today.