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Title: Factors influencing teaching for critical thinking in Vietnamese lower secondary schools :a mixed method study focussed on history
Authors: Ngoc Du, Nguyen
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Critical thinking (CT) has been introduced into the curriculum of numerous secondary schools worldwide. Whilst the literature on instructional and assessment approaches related to CT is abundant, few studies have been conducted to investigate factors that influence teachers’ decision-making about the development of CT in learners. In Vietnam, although education reform emphasises the importance of developing learners’ dispositions and skills for CT, traditional instructional methods continue to be prevalent. The aim of this thesis was, therefore, to identify factors affecting teaching for CT in Vietnamese lower secondary schools. A mixed methods sequential explanatory design was adopted with questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and focus groups as key data collection instruments. Data collected from 145 lower secondary history teachers in the Northern Province of Thai Binh, Vietnam indicate that assessment practice and school culture exert considerable influence on teaching for CT. Teachers understand the benefits of teaching for CT but regard it as extraneous to the requirements of tests, the criteria of teacher evaluation and the general expectation of many parents. Limited school democracy, low teacher autonomy and collegiality inhibit the application of innovative teaching techniques to enhance learners’ CT. The study suggests the influence of national culture and perceptions about teaching and learning on pedagogical practices. It challenges theories that support test-based accountability regimes by indicating that accountability pressures discourage teaching approaches that promote student interaction and critical engagement in learning. In contrast to recent research, it is found that many teachers teach against their beliefs and knowledge, because they encounter strong obstacles when attempting to change. Informed by rich empirical evidence, it is expected that this research will not only support the upcoming education reform in Vietnam but also provide useful lessons for policymakers and school leaders in countries with similar educational problems.
Description: Phd Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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