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STRATEGIES TO ENCOURAGE CRITICAL THINKING IN A VIRTUAL COURSE FOR ONLINE TUTORS

M. Osnaya-Moreno1, M. Mijangos-Torres2, C. Barona1

1Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos (MEXICO)
2CETEC (MEXICO)
Critical thinking is now thought to be a skill needed to effectively solve most of the everyday problems that people face, to maintain and to get a job, and even though to sustain the economy of a country.

In this project, it was analyzed if the module number two form four called "didactic strategies to foment the critical thinking in the virtual education" which belong to the course "didactic strategies for the virtual tutoring", promotes critical thinking. The course was carried out in a virtual way through the Moodle platform. The participants were ten virtual teachers, with one year of experience as virtual tutor.

The course’s tutor (teacher) generated reflection and discussion through questions of different types such as Socratic ones, ordinary and inquiry, encouraged individuals to ask questions or, to solve problematics in groups, encouraged them to read and discuss with the other participants. The tutor was the student's guide in the analysis to be carried out, as well as in the organizational field (to set delivery dates, dynamics to be done) and as the support for group conclusions. The instructional models used in this module were dialogic thinking (Paul, 1975) and research communication (Lipman, 1998).

In the discussion forums, it was observed that the tutor and the participants, did an individually and group feedback, which impacted positively the critical thinking development in those involved (López, 2012).

The guiding function was basically done by the course´s tutor, the didactic strategies proposed by Piette (1998) during the course were: to exercise the skills of critical thinking, direct teaching and their transfer.

At the analysis of each session, it was observed that the dimensions with the highest frequency were those of evaluation of the results obtained, development of inferences, analysis and discussion to find out the solution.

The less frequently presented dimensions were: recognition of limitations and learning abilities, establishment of learning goals and Approach to the problematic situation or topic to be clarified or to be solved.

The debates were characterized by analysis and discussion to find the solution. It should be noted that the participants were the ones who found the solutions to various problems presented, with the guiding intervention of the tutor, but the solution was found by the participants.
In the forums, the participants were the ones who had the greatest participation, while the tutor only did generating questions and gave feedback to the participants.

Educational activities and strategies will be described and exemplified throughout the work. It is recommended that for future sessions, the tutor encourage a greater goal setting by the participants, as well as that the participants pose problematic situations according to the themes carried out.