A DESCRIPTIVE STUDY: STUDENTS’ PERSPECTIVE ON CRITICAL THINKING IN BILKENT UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE READING CURRICULUM
This study aimed descriptively to inquire into the BUSEL reading curriculum to identify the place of critical thinking skills from the Upper and Intermediate students’ perspective. Through this aim of the research, the interviews, national and international literature related to critical thinking and curriculum are reviewed. As for the method, qualitative method was employed since qualitative methods are typically more flexible in terms of allowing greater spontaneity and adaptation of the interaction between the researcher and the study participant (Qualitative methods, p.4). As the data collection instrument, the open-ended interview questions were used. They were prepared to explore students’ perceptions of critical thinking in reading. It included both “Wh-” and yes/no questions in English which were followed by some justification questions like “why /not” and “how”. The use of open-ended questions and probing gives participants the opportunity to respond in their own words. That is, open-ended questions have the ability to evoke responses that are rich and explanatory in nature. They also allow the researcher the flexibility to probe initial participant responses – that is, to ask why or how. With open-ended questions, participants are free to respond in their own words, and these responses tend to be more complex than simply “yes” or “no.” Participants have the opportunity to respond more elaborately and in greater detail than is typically the case with quantitative methods. In turn, researchers have the opportunity to respond immediately to what participants say by tailoring subsequent questions to information the participant has provided (Qualitative methods, p.4). The content of the open-ended interview questions was based on the main components of critical thinking from Semerci’s study (2010). In this respect, the questions were formed considering the key four notions “Intellectual Criticism”, “Autonomy and Independence”, “Use of knowledge” and “Improving a Multi-oriented point of view” (Semerci, 2010). Moreover, to increase the reliability of the questions, these notions were matched with the higher order thinking skills like “analysis”, “synthesis” and “evaluation” from Bloom’s taxonomy,s. We discuss the findings in relation to the recent literature and institutional beliefs and practices. Implications for practice and future research are also suggested.