V. Smetanová, E. Flamíková, L. Hrašová

University of Hradec Králové (CZECH REPUBLIC)
The ability to think critically is essential in today´s world. In spite of this fact, however, the trend prevailing in the Czech education system seems to be learning specific facts. Students are not being led to self-dependent studying and searching for answers. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to find out how well can those who will teach the next generation, critically think. The research presented is aimed at finding out the level of critical thinking abilities among pre-service teachers in the Czech Republic as well as finding out the differences within individual aspects of the stated ability. Descriptive research is the core of this study. The data has been collected by means of Cornell Critical Thinking Test. Level Z had been used, which contains fifty-two tasks oriented on induction, deduction, observation, credibility, assumptions and meaning. The obtained data was processed via descriptive statistics and comparison of the means. It was ascertained that critical thinking abilities among pre-service teachers are on a relatively low level. The maximal achieved figure was 34 out of 52 possible points (m=24,9; sd=4,11). The best scores achieved by students were in the induction part, in which, at the same time a significant difference was proved between the pre-service teachers for nursery school children and pre-service teachers for basic school pupils. The conclusion may be that the level of critical thinking abilities among pre-service teachers in the Czech Republic is on an average to low level. This corresponds with the findings of some other countries. These results are alarming, considering the fact that there is a high probability that pre-service teachers will teach their students likewise in the future – by handing down ultimate knowledge without the necessity of critically thinking about it.