The Relationship between Student Teachers' Citizenship Skills and Critical

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Abstract


The aim of the research is to investigate the relationship between student teachers' citizenship skills and their critical thinking skills. The New Turkish Primary Curriculum aims at educating pupils with pre-requisite skills and knowledge that are necessary for operating efficiently in a knowledge based society.
There has been a shift in policy with the curriculum both in terms of its structure and its philosophy from a€˜creating good citizens' to a€˜empowerment'. The teachers will be the agents for the proposed shift to occur in schools and in pupils' hearts and minds. That is why it is important that teachers themselves should be equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge. In order to predict whether those aims will be realized or not, it is important to know whether teachers have those knowledge and skills. Thus, the question of whether there is relationship with citizenship qualifications and critical thinking skills will be investigated through student teachers.
This study employs a survey research method. In order to collect data two different research tools are used. The data on student teachers' citizenship skills were gathered through a a€˜Citizenship Qualifications Scale' developed by Yucel, Acun, Demirhan and Goz. The scale has to parts. First part contains questions on demographic information about teachers and teachers' professional practice. Second part of the scale includes question/statements to determine teachers' level of knowledge on citizenship themes, level of their behaviors and level of their importance attribution on the same themes. Those themes are categorized as a€˜Active Citizenship', a€˜Enviromental Issues', a€˜Economy and Consumer Rights', a€˜Global Issues', a€˜Democracy: Equality and Respect' and a€˜Society and Individual'. In order to obtain information on their level of knowledge, behaviors and importance attribution on those 6 categories, 94 items were formulated.
In order to measure the level of student teachers' critical thinking skills, the Cornell Critical Thinking Test Level Z (CCTTLZ) developed by Ennis and others and adopted into Turkish by Akar, Acun, Gulveren and Yucel was employed. Cornell Critical Thinking Tests consists of two measurement tools, the first one is Level X and the second one is Level Z. The Level X is designed to be used for the students attending grades 4-14. On the other hand, the Level Z appropriate to be used to measure the thinking skills of talented secondary school students and bachelor degree students or those in graduate level. Considering the age and education level of the participants, the Level Z test was used in this study. The sample of this study consisted of 82 first year student teachers studying in the Faculty of Education in Usak University.
According to the research findings, student teachers' level of information/knowledge on various aspects of citizenship, their citizenship behaviors and the importance they attribute to citizenship are all in quite high level. The findings also show that there is an average level of relationships between student teachers' citizenship skills and their critical thinking skills.

Keywords


Citizenship, Critical Thinking Skills, Citizenship Skills, Student Teachers

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