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A long and winding path: requirements for critical thinking in project work
Kristianstad University, School of Education and Environment, Avdelningen för Pedagogik. Kristianstad University, Forskningsmiljön Arbete i skolan (AiS).ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7494-6980
2013 (English)In: Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, ISSN 2210-6561, Vol. 2, no 2, 61-74 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Be prepared for assessment, be independent, creative, connected, and critical — students doing assessed self-regulated project work face extensive demands. Such work requires considerable capacity to undertake source criticism and think critically. In this article, I examine how secondary school students relate to demands concerning source criticism and critical thinking. Drawing on Goffman's frame analysis and social/cultural risk theory, I discuss how various conceptions of “what's going on” are connected to choices to be made. Various frames that can be related to an overall notion of an opaque and ubiquitous assessment regime simultaneously come into play. In examining dilemmas and analyzing various ways of framing them, I will try to illuminate and understand the obstacles students experience connected with demands for source criticism and critical thinking in project work. Although student handling of these demands can be questioned in relation to how a critical approach is traditionally described, I claim that what we observe can also be interpreted as a rational adaptation to a different framing of what school and education are really about, that is, being a “good student” by doing what is most rewarding in terms of how the school system displays appreciation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 2, no 2, 61-74 p.
Keyword [en]
Critical thinking, Frame analysis, Grade point average perspective, Risk, Self-regulated work, Source criticism
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hkr:diva-9988DOI: 10.1016/j.lcsi.2012.11.001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hkr-9988DiVA: diva2:583442
Available from: 2013-01-08 Created: 2013-01-08 Last updated: 2016-04-01Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Project work, independence and critical thinking
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Project work, independence and critical thinking
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis studies how students do projects in a Swedish upper secondaryschool. The students have to produce products and at the same time provethem self as independent in relation to the teachers, and negotiate therequirements of the project setting and the written instructions within thegroup. The study focuses on what comes out as problematic for the students,how they solve these dilemma situations and what resources are used in orderto do so.A choice was made only to analyse student group interaction in parts ofthe project process where the teachers were not physically present thus fillinga research gap.The empirical material was collected during three years in sex secondaryschool classes through filmed sessions of groups or pairs working with theirproject.Each of the four articles primarily focuses a special dilemma; structure,independence, instructions and critical thinking. By combining Goffman’sframe analysis with the concepts of risk and uncertainty from a Risk – societyperspective, issues related to what it means to do project work asindependent, critical 21st-century learner are illustrated and discussed.The choice to look only at situations in which students have to managewithout the aid of a physically present teacher illuminates several practicalconsequences like an unwillingness to go to the teacher and ask questions andan increased concentration on and interpretation of the written instructions. Adevelopment of Miller and Parlett’s (1974) discussion of student approach tocues are suggested. The concept of the cue choosing student are constructedin order to better respond to demands from an individualised interactionsociety. The study also emphasises how the students have to balance differentframeworks in order to be both authors and assessed students. Byimplementing a risk society perspective new ways of analysing andunderstanding independence and classroom interaction is suggested and arecontextualization of critical thinking proposed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Göteborg: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis, 2014. 216 p.
Series
Gothenburg studies in educational sciences, ISSN 0436-1121 ; 353
Keyword
project work, independence, individualisation, critical thinking, frame analysis, risk, uncertainty, Risk-society, Goffman
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hkr:diva-12138 (URN)978-91-7346-793-3 (ISBN)978-91-7346-793-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-06-13, Aulan Högskolan Kristianstad (7:314), kristianstad, 09:19 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-07-02 Created: 2014-06-16 Last updated: 2016-04-01Bibliographically approved

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