Ed.D. Dissertation Proposal Defense: Shannon Bretz

Wednesday, January 23, 2019 1:30pm - 3:30pm

GSE 211

Improving Secondary Teachers’ Critical Thinking Pedagogical Content Knowledge: An Intervention Study

Shannon is a doctoral student in the Teacher Leadership concentration of the Doctor of Education program. 

Committee: Dr. Carrie Lobman (chair), Dr. Dan Battey, Dr. Ben Justice


Critical thinking, the ability to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information, is a necessary skill for success in the 21st century. Reflecting this need is a recent report from Google stating that soft skills, such as critical thinking, make their employees more effective (Strauss, 2017). Yet, while employers state their employees need to know how to think critically, students across the United States are graduating without these skills. One possible reason for this lack of critical thinking is that teachers do not possess sufficient critical thinking pedagogical content knowledge (CTPCK). A lack of CTPCK causes teachers to have difficulty infusing their lessons with critical thinking opportunities; negatively affecting students' improvement of critical thinking skills.

Teachers can improve their critical thinking practices by participating in training that encourages the clear and purposeful infusion of critical thinking into their lessons. However, there seems to be a general lack of training to improve teachers' thinking skills and practice (Stapleton, 2011). Therefore, the purpose of this qualitative study is to create, pilot, and evaluate an 8-week professional development designed to improve secondary educators' critical thinking pedagogical content knowledge. Qualitative methods, such as a participant questionnaire, collection of artifacts, reflective writing, and a focus group interview, will allow participants' knowledge, beliefs, and practices to be measured regarding critical thinking. Additionally, participants will share their perceptions of the intervention, so that the researcher may determine what aspects of the intervention are most effective for the participants' learning and what areas need improvement.


Who to contact:

Matthew Winkler