Lack of Critical Thinking Ability Among the Primary and High School Students of Bangladesh and its Effects on their Tertiary Level Education and Employment Prospects


Master's Thesis, 2013
49 Pages

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Content

Abstract

Literature Review

Statement of The Problem

Research Hypothesis:

Research Questions:

Method

Primary data collection and analysis

Why would this hinder critical thinking?

A critical analysis of a book of class VII and VIII

The analysis of Social Science texts used in class 9 and class 10 in Madrasa Curriculum

Read the following paragraph about “Kamal’s Hobby” and follow it to write a paragraph about “Your Hobby”

Reasons for including tasks of NCTB and its implementations:

Reasons for including the aims and objectives of the curriculum

Results of the survey on the levels of students of class IX and X

Results of the survey on university level students

Discussion

Recommendations

References

Abstract

The topic of concern of the research is the critical thinking ability of the primary and high school students of Bangladesh and its effects on their tertiary level education. In the research the critical thinking ability of these levels of students has found out to be deficient to an extent. The research has found that the recently introduced creative method has proved to be more favorable for developing the critical thinking ability of the students than the previous methods, though the creative method is struggling for effective implementation for various reasons. For example, the lack of trained teachers, partial knowledge of the students about the creative method and accessibility to guidebooks are contributing to the unsuccessful application of the method. Moreover, the research found out that there is an urge on the part of students for modification of the creative method. Besides, fragmented knowledge on different topics in different classes or grades , lecture-based classes , the tendency of taking down lecture notes in H.S.C and university levels are also responsible for lack of critical thinking abilities of the students. Furthermore, the tendency of memorizing essays and question- answers has not been lessened as memorized essays and notes carry good marks even in the new system of examination. Indeed, the research findings do agree with the fact that the lack of critical thinking ability among the students of Bangladesh is particularly due to the effects of our education policies, memorizing and passive learning on the part of students on a large scale. Therefore, proper knowledge of and training in the creative method on the part of both the students and teachers, adequate implementation of the creative method at school and college levels, effective interactive classes, banning of guidebooks are necessary for the development of critical thinking ability of the students of Bangladesh.

Lack of Critical Thinking Ability among the Primary and High School Students of Bangladesh and its Effects on their Tertiary Level Education and Employment Prospects The concept of critical thinking came to my mind when I was doing one of my master’s courses, and the name of the course was Critical Reading. While doing the course, I came to know of the idea of critical thinking, which is necessary not only for problem-solving tasks but also for interpreting, analyzing, and reasoning process. In addition to that, I came to know of the fact that foreign universities put a lot of emphasis on the critical thinking ability of students. In fact, most of the universities offer critical thinking courses to their students, and so I researched on this topic to focus on this neglected area in our education system. Therefore, I have dealt with this topic thoroughly in my research paper which aims to find out about the critical thinking abilities of the primary, secondary and higher secondary students of Bangladesh and the effect of their level of critical thinking on their performance in the university.

Besides, it is important to have critical thinking abilities in this global world. In the global job market, companies seek for individuals who can provide proper analytical views of any issue. With the analytical views, individuals can possess the insight to understand the pros and cons of any problem and think about the possible solutions to the problem. Individuals having critical thinking abilities can make inferences and thus come to conclusions. While describing the importance of critical thinking in the job sector, Drecher (2002) (as cited in Schneider, 2002) predicted that ‘workplace literacy’ in the coming ‘millennium’ would be identical with ‘problem-solving’ skills (p.1). He further predicted that this working ability is also affected by ‘self-regulating’, ‘monitoring’, ‘understanding’, ‘emphasizing’, ‘analyzing’ and ‘evaluating’ abilities, which constitute critical thinking abilities (p.1).

Therefore, students of Bangladesh must possess critical thinking abilities in order to fit in the competitive world. Not only for the sake of good performances in work places but also for educational purposes especially for higher studies critical thinking is important.

Literature Review

Critical thinking ability is the ability to investigate a text critically, and a critical thinker is an independent thinker. Critical thinkers go into the deeper layers of a text and discover its underlying hidden meaning. They can initiate and carry on an argument about a text, scrutinize it and so relate it to its political, social, moral, philosophical contexts of the then society or time. Critical thinkers know how to analyze a book with a purpose and question the validity of a text. In addition to that they can discover the various tonal qualities embedded in a text. According to Burbules and Berk (1999), the practice of critical thinking is involved with the principle of knowledge and with the fact that knowledge must be adequate knowledge. They believed critical thinkers are judicious people because they can easily identify opinions, which are wrong and decisions, which are taken in a hurried manner. Moreover, they can also find out deficient facts and vague ideas (p.46). Besides, Burbules and Berk (1999) asserted that a critical thinker is the seeker of knowledge and is motivated by rationale and facts. So critical thinking means acquiring specific abilities such as learning to analyze arguments, formulating and protecting peculiarities (p.47). Giroux (1994) has described critical thinking as follows:

The most powerful, yet limited, definition of critical thinking comes out of the positivist tradition in the applied sciences and suffers from what I call the Internal Consistency position. According to the adherents of the Internal Consistency position, critical thinking refers primarily to teaching students how to analyze and develop reading and writing assignments from the perspective of formal, logical patterns of consistencyWhile all of the learning skills are important, their limitations as a whole lie in what is excluded, and it is with respect to what is missing that the ideology of such an approach is revealed (pp.200-201).

Giroux thought that we can find out the limitations of learning skills when we start to deal with the learning skills and it is only then can we discover the lacking in the ‘ideology’ of such an approach.

Subsequently, Fani (n.d.) reported that during 1990, a group of experts was joined together in a study, named as the Delphy study. In that study, the skills and characteristics of critical thinking were brought into light. The skills of critical thinking include:

Interpretation: The capacity of understanding information.

Analysis: The capability of identifying main arguments.

Evaluation: The ability to evaluate the credibility and validity of an argument.

Inference: The ability to give reason for any belief and the ability to comprehend the consequences.

Explanation: The ability to ‘communicate’ the ‘process of reasoning’.

Self-regulation: The ability to evaluating other’s thinking and correcting faults. faults.

The seven characteristics of critical thinking include:

Inquisitiveness: To have concern for being well informed.

Truth-seeking: To have desire to deal with one’s own biases’ and to ‘reconsider views’.

Critical thinking self-confidence: To possess ‘trust’ for reasoning.

Open-mindedness: To have broad-mindedness to reconsider ‘alternative views’.

Systematicity: To have systematic thinking for following a continuous process.

Analyticity: To have the eagerness to analyze one’s own anad others ‘logic’.

Cognitive maturity: To have persistence for seeking the truth (Fani, 2011, para. 5).

Therefore, to examine the critical thinking ability of students of Bangladesh I have studied the academic courses of primary, secondary and higher secondary levels. By examining the academic courses, I was able to understand the existence of critical thinking questions in the books. Furthermore, I have examined how questions are set after each of the lessons and how students are required to answer those questions.

Statement of The Problem

Because of the lack of critical thinking ability in the primary, secondary and higher secondary levels, the tertiary level students suffer in their performances in the university courses.

Research Hypothesis:

The lack of critical thinking ability among the secondary and higher students of Bangladesh is the result of the curriculum followed by the NCTB. As NCTB is regarded as an agency for planning, designing, and developing the curriculum of the primary, secondary and higher secondary levels, it is responsible for the curriculum and materials development. Because of the lack of critical thinking ability in primary, secondary and higher secondary levels, university level students cannot use their capacity for independent thinking or nurture it further in their university life. Not only the Bangla medium students but also the madrasa level students are facing the same problem. Our teacher-oriented classes and the tendency to memorize are some of the determining factors for lack of critical thinking of our students.

Moreover, our parents’ attitudes towards learning are another key factor for the lack of critical thinking abilities of the students. For instance, most of the parents do not encourage their children to do the problem-solving tasks and creative writing tasks on their own. Either parents or the private tutors do the problem-solving tasks or writing tasks for them. In this matter, the traditional attitude of the parents is that the writing or explanation of the children will not carry good marks in the examinations.

Altogether our out-dated education system, lack of implementation of our existing education policies, lack of knowledge of teachers, especially at the primary, secondary, higher secondary levels are responsible for the lack of critical thinking among students.

Research Questions:

I have had identified the following questions to investigate:

- Do the primary and secondary level students of Bangladesh lack the ability to think critically?
- Does the curriculum of Bangla medium schools encourage students to think critically?
- Are the students of S.S.C .and H.S.C. trained up as independents learners?
- How are lessons taught in teacher-oriented classes in schools, colleges and universities?
- What are the objectives of the new creative method?
- Is the new creative method helping students?
- Do teachers think learners should be critically aware?
- How does the critical thinking ability of primary, secondary and higher secondary level students affect their performances at the university level?
- Should the situation be improved?

Method

I have divided my paper into different sections where each section has discussed one of the questions. Before doing that, I have provided an introduction of critical thinking ability and studied its presence in the textbooks of Bangla and Madrasa mediums. Besides, I have discussed in class- teaching, question patterns, evaluation process of students in Bangla, and Madrasa mediums. Furthermore, I have critically studied a secondary and intermediate level book and a book used in madrasa to examine the books as well as to see how questions are presented in the books. In addition, I have conducted a survey questionnaire among 30 students of a Bangla medium school to take their first hand experience about the strengths, weaknesses of the creative method and about their critical thinking ability and its implementation in the examinations and classroom. Besides, I have taken another survey among 30 students to know how the critical thinking ability affects the university performances.

The research paper consists of three -subjects, procedures, and data analysis.

My subjects are the students of primary, secondary, higher secondary level students as well as university level students, and I have used both the primary sources such as direct observation, interviews and questionnaires and secondary sources such as available literature and data or prior books for the completion of the paper.

Primary data collection and analysis

Secondary level students of Bangladesh lack the ability to think critically because of various reasons. Richmond (2007) in his article suggested that because of the adoption of rote learning in the educational system in the developing countries, the learners remain passive recipients. Because of passive learning, they cannot develop critical and creative thinking abilities. According to him, ‘parrot’ learning of this sort lacks ‘practical implication’ (p.1). Ng Aik Kwang(2001) (as cited in Richmond, 2007) who in his famous article “Why Asians are Less Creative than Westerners,” tried to find out the reasons of passive education in the Asian cultures. Ng (2001) suggested that westerners seek for individual identity. They feel free to express their reaction. On the other hand, in an Asian culture, a person is dependent on his/her in-groups. He has to follow the norms of his in-group. The value of individual ‘uniqueness’ is important in western culture whereas in the east those individual uniquenessesare ‘corrected’ to comply with the norms of the society. He emphasized that different factors deteriorate ‘creative and critical thinking’ abilities. While one factor is the obligation to obey and meet up the ‘expectations’ of one’s society ,the other is the awkwardness of looking ‘different’ because of the differences of opinions (as cited in Richmond, 2007, p. 2).

We do find the same scenario in the social context of Bangladesh. In our families, we teach our children not to raise questions about the so-called norms of society. Here our children are not made independent. For example, from an early age, parents or other caregivers do all the things for their children. With respect to children’s education, the parents decide the choice of subjects for their children. In our social context, we do not encourage our students to ask questions to teachers. In addition, we consider it a great disrespect for any teacher if students argue with him or her. Therefore, from an early age we make our students become dependent on others. In this scenario, independent thinking is not possible.

Besides, the curriculum of Bangla medium schools does not encourage students to think critically. Absar (n.d) reported that with the aid of UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) the contents of primary and secondary textbooks were modified in 2004 to increase the critical thinking ability of students. The UNDP Programme tried to modify the “lack of explanation of the contents in the primary and secondary textbooks”. There was a hope that through this modification the critical thinking ability of the learners would be increased (p.1). UNDP ran the study on the primary and secondary textbooks of Shomaj (Social Studies). Shomaj Porichiti and Shamajik Bigyan were used respectively in primary and secondary levels in Bangladesh. In the study it was found that seven year old students of class III had to study various topics in only one book called ‘Shomaj’. However, the teachers were specialized in only one subject, so they could not explain the various topics as a specialized teacher would. The topics, which were taught in class III, are given below in a chronological order:

Table 1 Class III Shomaj Text Contents by Chapters and Disciplines Class III

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: Derived from Shomaj Porichitiof Class III, 2004p.5, 6

Absar (n.d.) has suggested that different topics should be chronologically developed e.g. from the lower grades to the higher grades and he termed this chronology as ‘transition’. By ‘transition’, he meant that any topic of any subject of a lower grade or class should be more elaborately discussed in the next grade, and by doing this, a relationship would be built between the topics of the two classes. Thus, a better grasp of knowledge will be achieved (p.8).For instance, he referred to some chapters of class III and IV where he pointed out the lack of transition between content and chapters. The following tables shows it elaborately-

Comparison of Class III and Class IV Shomaj Text Contents by Chapters

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Source: Derived from Shomaj Porichiti of class III and IV, 2004 (p.7)

Absar (n.d) suggedted that the chapters of the junior classes e.g. the 1st chapter on ‘environment’ should coincide with the ‘content’ and ‘chapter number’ of class IV and thus a better grasp of knowledge is possible; otherwise, fragmented information creates misunderstanding among students.

Why would this hinder critical thinking?

Because of a discontinuity of the subject matter between different grades, students get some sort of fragmented knowledge of different topics. As fragmented knowledge does not give a clear concept of any topic, students cannot make inferences from different ideas and come to any solutions. As a result, the lack of continuity in syllabus materials gives only partial knowledge of any topic. The following section critically analyzes two textbooks of class VII and VIII to find out the relation of subject matter and topics between these two classes.

A critical analysis of a book of class VII and VIII

Bangladesh and Bishoporichoy’ (Bangladesh & Global Studies), a book of class VIII, similarly discusses different topics in a single textbook. The book is divided into different chapters and each chapter is subdivided into different lessons. Topics about Bangladesh are predominant in the book as there are 11 chapters about Bangladesh and its different aspects. Between the remaining two chapters, chapter 1 deals with the colonial period of Bangladesh and the other chapter is about the society and its people .

Table 1 Class viii Bangladesh and Bishoporichoy Text Contents by Chapters and Disciplines

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: Derived from Bangladesh and Bishoporichoy class viii, 2011.

The title has shown that it is a book of ‘Bangladesh and Bishoporichoy’ (Bangladesh & Global Studies) but in reality, students are not exposed to any of the different historical aspects of the world. It is a book which seems to have no purpose other than to give bits and pieces of knowledge of different historical aspects of Bangladesh.

Again, ‘Bangladesh & Bishoporichoy’ is a book of class VII as well. After comparing the two books of class VII & VIII, I found the following things:

Most of the chapters of class VII and class VIII have a link, e.g. they have a transition in the contents and the topics, which would help students to have a better grasp of contents. However, the extension of subject matter has not been done in an organized manner. For example, the 1st chapter of the book of class VII discusses the struggle of independence of Bangalis up to 1857 but different revolutions e.g., Koibarta rebellion, Fakir –Sanyasi rebellion, Indigo rebellion, Santal rebellion are dealt with in a very brief manner.

- After examining the 1st chapter of class VIII, I found that it is an extension or elaboration of the first chapter of class VII.
- Although the title of class VIII shows that it is a book about ‘Bangladesh & Bishoporichoy’, I did not find the presentation of the history, economy, and government systems of different countries of the world, whereas one of the chapters of class VII book introduces different ‘Asian countries’ to the students.

Recognizing the problems of inadequate syllabus materials, the government of Bangladesh introduced creative method in 2010. Though the creative method was introduced to reduce memorization and dependency on guidebooks, it is also lagging behind because of lack of knowledge about the creative method among teachers as well as students. In fact, Rahman (n.d.) stated that the creative method has been enacted to discourage students from memorizing. Earlier, teachers used to take questions exactly from the texts, as there were questions set after each lesson. In the creative method, questions are not taken exactly from the text. The questions in the creative method are designed in such a way that those who read a chapter fully and carefully can answer them. National Curriculum and Textbook Board has suggested the question pattern of the creative method. According to the question pattern, the creative question format should start with an introductory statement. A brief paragraph must be added to the statement. The statement must not match with that in the text; rather it must coincide with the content of the book. The statement should be followed by four questions. The first question will test the basic knowledge of the content of the text whereas the second will evaluate the ability of ‘perception’. While the third will examine the ability of the application of the acquired knowledge of the students, the fourth will test the critical thinking ability of the students. Rahman (n.d.) reported that teachers are having difficulty in understanding the question style in the creative method. Besides, the learners do not know how to give answers to the questions because of the lack of knowledge of the creative method. Moreover, the creative method is not practiced in most of the schools because the teachers do not know how to prepare questions. Furthermore, Rahman (n.d.) pointed out that as teachers are not clear about the style of the creative method, they depend upon the ready-made creative question papers. According to him, there exist 25 presses which publish ready-made question papers. As teachers from many schools lack the ability to make questions based on the creative method, they are dependent upon the ready-made creative question papers. As no teachers are involved in publishing the creative question papers, people having no knowledge about the texts or grades are making these.

This research discovers that the creative question system is helping students but not to a fullest extent because of the lack of implementation. Firstly, students are getting guidebooks of creative question papers in the market and teachers are following those books while taking classes or making questions. Secondly, students have not given up memorizing as they are learning whatever question/ answers they get by heart. Thirdly, students get suggestions for possible topics of paragraphs, essays, letters and applications that might be used in the exams. They have not stopped learning these things by heart because in the exams their own writing does not carry good marks. Lastly, though the urge of reading the textbooks has increased because of the creative method, the dependency on guidebooks has not been lessened.

Moreover, I think that creative method is not becoming successful completely because of the lack of organization and modification in the questions. As in the following sample of creative questions, the language of the questions are exactly taken from the chapter and thus helping the students to easily identify the answers. Furthermore, two questions are not relevant to the given ‘incident’s of the questions. Therefore, these types of questions do not involve students to perform critical thinking activities, as they do not have to involve themselves in problem-solving tasks.

The chapter in the book of class VII (Bangladesh & Global Studies) is about different countries of Asia and the relationship of Bangladesh with those countries. After a brief description of the countries, questions are given based on the description.

Sample of a Creative Question:

The following is a sample question of class VII.

Incident 1 : Mr. Shafiul went to visit a country in south east Asia. The landscape of the country surrounded by the sea is very beautiful. Though the country consists of many islands, mainly four islands play the major role in its economy.

Incident 2 : Mr. Kabir has been working in an east Asia [ sic ] country for a long time. Though the country has the largest population in the world, it is very rich.

a. What is the largest mountain range in the world?
b. Why is India called the country that has one of oldest civilization in the world?
c. What is the climate of the country that Mr. Shafiul visited? Describe.
d. Make a comparative analysis of the economics [ sic ] of the two countries in incident 1 and in incident 2

- The questions are not organized logically as the incidents and the questions are not related with each other. For example, the 1st two questions are not related with the incidents. In answering the 3rd question students would identify the phrase that Mr. Shaiful visited the country consisted of four islands in the first incident of the question. This phrase works as an identifier of the country and the task of the students is only to guess which country is meant in this incident, as the exact phrase exists in the book. In answering the 4th question the students have to identify only which country is meant by which question and give a comparative description of the economic scenario of the two countries. In fact, students cannot give detail description of the economies of two countries unless they have learnt the economic situations of the two countries. Hence, I think the new creative method is not quite successful in creating the students independent learners and make them critical thinkers.
- The questions are not very creative in the sense that students are not using their analytical views in answering these questions; rather the students will use their learned knowledge in answering these questions.
- The creative question pattern is no more creative for the students as study guides are available for every subject. Students take help of these notebooks for solving the problems. Therefore, the concept of developing creative thinking skill is actually not happening, as students are taking help from those books without trying to solve the problems by themselves.

I think memorization and notes prepared by others at intermediate and university levels are making students utterly uncritical. They only look for given answers in the guidebooks, textbooks, or keep themselves busy in writing down the lecture notes of teachers. These activities block their capacity of thinking, as they do not think about what they write and thus cannot discover for themselves the problems they face. Furthermore, every subject at the higher secondary level has two parts. After examining the questions used in both the parts, I found that all the questions are essay type, especially for the humanities and commerce groups. Students memorize the answers to essay type questions. Therefore, they are tested on their memorization skills in the examinations.

Identifying this problem, Mohanan (n.d.) claimed that the educators who have the authority in teaching, textbook writing, making syllabus, and taking examinations are responsible for the student’s lack of critical thinking ability. According to him, except for a few rare institutions and educators it is applicable worldwide. He indentified two causes, which discourage critical thinking among students. These are:

- Teaching: The manner of teaching is lecture-based and that is why it is limited only to note taking for the learners.
- Testing: The use of content based questions in the exams like writing down essays, answering objective type questions and providing mechanical application which requires to give content information (Mohanan, para.3).

According to Mohanan, in the lecture-based classes, learners keep themselves busy in writing down the important points of what the teacher says. Learners have no time to think about the topic of discussion and to ask questions to the teacher. Furthermore, they know that by writing down the exact points they will get good grades in examinations. Therefore, they do not want to waste their time by asking questions. Moreover, learners are not confident enough to express their opinions, and so they opt for writing down the points the teacher says without even thinking about it. Mohanan asserted that during the ‘formative’ time of students life this kind of lecture-based teaching gradually causes the independent thinking skills of students to ‘weaken’ and ‘disappear’ ( Teaching Strategies, para. 5-6).

Mohanan observed that most of the learners want to get ‘better’ marks in examination only to ensure good jobs in future. In this respect, learners want to follow the strategies that will ensure a good job in future and do not want to concentrate on activities e.g. trying to do problem-solving tasks and creative writing that will not increase their position in examinations and thus resulting in a better job in future. According to Mohanan “It does not matter what teachers emphasize in their teaching; students will pay attention only to those things which are directly relevant for the examination. The examination determines what the students learn from a course” The Motiviation, para. 8-9)

Mohanan claimed that for designing examination questions, both students and teachers feel comfortable with essay type questions, which is a special favorite to humanities and social science students (The Design of Examination Questions, para . 10). Mohanan noted that sometimes teachers do not want to instill the critical thinking ability among students. Even if any A grade independent thinking student writes his/her views which may contradict the views of his/her teacher, the teacher will generally consider the student’s view as ‘wrong’ or give his/her a lesser grade than what he/she deserves. In this situation, learners will not try to explore their critical thinking ability; rather they will opt for following the safest way that is just to memorize the lectures of the teacher and secure good grades in examinations (Grading Criteria, para. 20). Even if any teacher is concerned about critical thinking ability of students and discusses any topic from a critical and analytical point of view, the teacher would expect that the learners would copy the exact lecture of the teacher in the examination. The learners know very well that regurgitating will ensure good results rather than trying to write anything from analytical point of view (Even Thinking Teachers can Promote Regurgitation, para. 21).

In this respect, I completely agree with Mohanan and my research has found that in Bangladeshi schools, colleges and universities, classes are mostly lecture-based. Another thing I found is the presence of questions which require essay type answers. For example, I found its existence especially in our H.S.C. and university level question papers. In essay type questions, students can copy everything from the book. They do not need to analyze critically the answers of questions from their own point of views, as their writing does not carry good marks. Further, we have teachers who provide their own notes in coaching centers, which compels students to go to the teachers for coaching. Overall, writing the notes of the teacher ensures good marks of the students. There are even instances where a teacher does not explain the topic clearly to the students in the class; rather she/he tells them to attend her/his coaching center. Because of these matters, students do not try to write anything after studying several books. Our education system, teachers and parents do not encourage students to think critically.

Moreover, in some subjects, especially in the case of madrasa, over emphasis only on religion gives a narrow view of the society to the students and thus makes the students uncritical. Regarding the education in madrasa, Mannan & Mannan (2010) opined that the difference between Aliya and Quomi madrasas is in respect of syllabus and curriculum. Whereas the Aliya madrasas deal with a wide range of subjects, the syllabus of Quomi madrasa has not been changed for almost one thousand years. The Quomi madrasas follow some ‘general courses’ and maintain similar ‘Islamic coating’ in all of the courses. The examples of a few courses are:

- The courses like Geography and Social Studies part 1 contain chapters like festivals, which includes only Muslim festivals leaving behind festivals of other communities of the country.
- The same book has a chapter named ‘Institutions that build the country and nation’, which includes only mosques, maqtabs and madrasas excluding other kinds of institutions of the country.
- While discussing the ‘Indian Freedom Movement’ in the ‘Introduction to History’, only the contributions of Muslims are highlighted totally ignoring the contributions of people of other religions and communities. Again, in the ‘Introduction to History’, students read only about the life of 23 prophets. They are not exposed to any other historical facts of the country.
- The picture of a ‘sword’ is present in almost every chapter of class I & II Bangla textbooks. For example, the Bangla textbooks of class I & II have a chapter named ‘Courageous Boy’. The boy is courageous because he carried and beheaded a Roman general who was entertaining himself with ‘dancing girls’.

Mannan & Mannan emphasized that the exposures to this kind of information limit the thinking ability of students and create hatred among students for the people of other religions and communities. He expected that the syllabus and books designed for young learners should make the students ‘creative’ and ‘tolerant’ and make ‘interesting’ to the content of the syllabus and books. On the contrary, it is doing the reverse.

Besides, I think the lack of support materials for the teachers makes it difficult for teachers to make any topic understandable and interesting. Because of the absence of support materials, students receive distorted knowledge and cannot develop their critical thinking ability.

The analysis of Social Science texts used in class 9 and class 10 in Madrasa Curriculum

The subject ‘Social Science’ of class 9/10 of the Dakhil level discusses a whole lot of things in one book. The book is divided into many sections and each section deals with a single topic. The book focuses on three different genres and each genre is subdivided again into different lessons. Three disciplines such as civics, geography and economics are there in the book. Students can choose one of these subjects as the additional subject in class IX and X. After studying the books and talking to a few students, I found that the topics e.g. different topics of geography are discussed in classes orally with the help of drawing pictures on the blackboard. The teachers do not bring any maps or materials to make different geographical aspects clear to the students. In this case, the madrasas do not provide adequate materials, because either they do not feel the need to bring different materials or they have financial constraints.

Moreover, the book has followed the new creative method, but the number of creative question is only one or two at the end of a chapter. In the same book, different aspects of Geography have been dealt with among the 15 chapters, and among those chapters, only six chapters have only one creative question each and the rest of the chapters have multiple-choice questions. I think more creative questions should be given in every chapter, and the questions should require the students to practically demonstrate different geographical aspects elaborately.

In addition to that, teacher-oriented classes make students inactive in the class. Because of the authority of teachers in classes, students cannot participate in class discussions. While discussing the teacher- dominated classes of Bangladesh, Sarwar (2007) reported that different types of tasks e.g. ‘peer-teaching/checking’, ‘role play’, cannot take place because of ‘teacher-oriented’ classes. In a totally lecture-based class, students cannot act upon tasks such as ‘problem-solving’, ‘decision-making’, and ‘opinion exchange’, which are important for developing the critical thinking consciousness of learners. Students cannot carry out these tasks because of the dominance of teacher in our classes (p1).

Likewise, most of the classes of our country both at primary and secondary and higher secondary levels have students ranging from 60 to 100. It is next to impossible for any teacher to make students to do pair work, role-play effectively with students of such huge numbers. In these huge classes, students cannot perform problem solving, decision-making or opinion-exchange, which are necessary for developing the critical thinking consciousness. In such classes, students merely listen or just take notes of what the teacher says.

The memorization of English essays is a still a common characteristic in our country. In spite of creating a new method and making unseen questions, the memorization of essays has not been stopped. Upton (2006) observed that in Bangladesh students are encouraged to learn essays from essay books, which are low in quality. Particularly parents, teachers as well as publishers of different essay books persuade students to learn essays by rote for getting better marks in examinations. However, rote learning of such kind weakens the ability of self-expression skill of the students (p.2).Below are the examples of two essays about Kamal’s Hobby.

I think parents persuade their children to learn the essays by heart as they think that the writing of their children will not carry good marks in the examinations. More than that, another assumption of the parents is that their children are not knowledgeable, mature, or skilled enough to express their thoughts critically.

Read the following paragraph about “Kamal’s Hobby” and follow it to write a paragraph about “Your Hobby”

MODEL: Kamal’s Hobby

Kamal is a student. He has a hobby of his own. It is gardening. It is his favorite hobby. He spends his leisure time is his garden. Every early in the morning he goes to his garden. He looses [ sic ] the soil with a spade and weeds out the grasses and then waters the little plants. He also puts fence around his garden so that children and cattle can do no harm to the garden. Every morning his mind fills in joy to see the garden full of various kinds of flowers. Besides, the work, which he does in his garden, helps to make his body strong and active.

My Hobby

I have a hobby my own. It is gardening. It is my favorite hobby. I spend my leisure time in my garden. Every early in the morning I go to my garden. I loose [ sic ] the soil with a spade and weed out the grasses and then I water the little plants. I also put fence around my garden so that children and cattle can do no harm to the garden. Every morning my mind fills in joy to see the garden full of various kinds of flowers. Besides, the work, which I do in my garden, helps to make my body strong and active (p.3).

These two paragraphs are almost the same. Students are taught about how to memorize only one paragraph on a topic e.g. the topic ‘Kamal’s Hobby’and with the help of this memorization write essays of a similar topic e.g. ‘My hobby’. Likewise, these essay books teach students techniques of how to write paragraphs on similar subjects as ‘My favorite teacher’, ‘My aim in life’ etc. This kind of memorization destroys the creative thinking ability of students. They do not need to think what they will write. While writing essays like “My favorite teacher”, students memorize the essay from any essay book and write down what that writer had written.

Moreover, another characteristic of our education system is getting ‘common’ or suggested questions in the exams. My research has found out that even in English second paper where unseen paragraphs, essays, and comprehension are supposed to come in the school examinations, students get the comprehensions ,essays or paragraphs ‘common’ in their examinations, because they practice suggested essays, comprehensions or paragraphs from their teachers. They are being prepared for the board examinations in the same manner. So, I can say in the existence of the above mentioned scenario, developing critical thinking will not be possible, though the students think that the ‘creative method’ is far better than the previous one.

As NTCB is responsible for the lack of critical thinking ability of the students of Bangladesh, the tasks of NCTB and implementation of the tasks is being reviewed. In this regard, Hussain & Jahan (n.d) reported that NCTB is responsible for the curriculum and material development activities. National Curriculum Development Centre and Textbook Board were combined together and NCTB was formed in 1982.The following are the tasks of NCTB:

- The curriculum should be completed and it should be revised for all primary grades.
- For classes of I-V, teaching/learning materials along with ‘field trials’ and ‘pupil assessment schemes’ should be included.
- Training of primary school teachers should be done. In addition to this, modification of the curriculum for ‘pre-service’ education and for curriculum in education should be made.
- Throughout the country the revised curriculum and material should be introduced.
- ‘Supplementary’ teaching materials should be developed.
- ‘Experimental’ and ‘innovative activities should be the content of ‘primary education’.
- The ability to address women’s development issues should be introduced.
- ‘Formal’, ‘non-formal’ and ‘religious education’ should be interlinked for the improvement of the curriculum.
- The revised ‘primary curriculum’ should be spread by developing ‘training packages’ and ‘training programmes’.
- Participating in ‘Training programme’ and developed ‘reinforcement materials’ should be assessed on regular basis.
- For the coverage in the media, the ‘motivational materials’ should be developed.
- Modification of the ‘primary education curriculum’ and ‘field trips’ should be made with a revised ‘junior secondary curriculum’ and ‘materials’.
- A ‘modification’ plan should be developed for the analysis of existing ‘secondary curriculum’ (pp.67-67).

Reasons for including tasks of NCTB and its implementations:

The books of primary levels are modified every now and then, but the revised curriculum has not brought any changes to the content of the books. Besides, there are no teaching/learning materials for the classes I-IV. This research did not find the presence of any ‘supplementary teaching material’ in the books. Furthermore, one of the tasks of the NCTB is the introduction of ‘experimental’ and ‘innovative activities’ in the contents of the books, but nothing significant has been changed in this sphere. However, one thing which has been initiated so far is the introduction of the creative method and in this method the questions are creative requiring independent thinking. Then again, the reliability of the creative method is in question because students get guide books in the market and most of the schools are unable to implement the creative method because of the lack of trained teachers.

The table describes the ‘curriculum development’ and its implementation:

TABLE 1. The curriculum: who makes which choices?

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(From Curriculum planning, development, and reform for primary and secondary education by Muhammad Abul Hossain and Shawkat Jahan)

Reasons for including the aims and objectives of the curriculum

In this section, the purpose of my research was to find out the implementation of the aims and objectives of the curriculum. The research found that in both the regional or school level, NCTB has failed to reach its aims. In the regional level, the local authority is supposed to give suggestions for developing the curriculum. The research did not find the co-operation of the local authorities in developing the curriculum. In the school level, the objective is to make sure the teachers prepare lesson plans based on the curriculum. However, in reality teachers are not following the instructions. There are even teachers who do not know how to make lesson plans. Moreover, there is no authority present that regularly monitors the implementation of the curriculum at school levels. It is time that the creative method aims to reduce memorization of students and thus gradually develop independent thinking ability of students.

In addition to that, the same sorts of activities in textbooks make students indifferent to the subject and thus lead to the lack of participation of students in class. It eventually makes students uncritical regarding the activities in the texts. In relation to this Hasan (2004) complained about the ‘stereotypical’ presentations of activities in ‘ English for Today ’ of class 6. In the English for Today of class 6, the lessons start with a stereotypical ‘Look at the picture’ type of activity. Below some examples of this are given:

Section A, Lesson 1, Unit 8: Talk about the picture … (a pre-reading task presented with two pictures)

Section A, Lesson 7, Unit 7: Talk about the picture … (a pre-reading task presented with a picture and a table)

Section A, Lesson 8, Unit 7: Talk about the picture … (a pre-reading task presented with a picture)

Section A, Lesson 9, Unit 7: Talk about the picture … (a pre-reading task presented with a picture)

Section A, Lesson 10, Unit 7: Talk about the picture … (a pre-reading task presented with a picture)

Section A, Lesson 11, Unit 7: Talk about the picture … (a pre-reading task presented with a picture)

Section A, Lesson 12, Unit 7: Talk about the picture … (a pre-reading task accompanied by a picture)

Section A, Lesson 10, Unit 7: Talk about the pictures … (a pre-reading task accompanied by two pictures)

According to Hasan (2004), this type of conventional activities makes the students as well as the teachers indifferent to the subject. The same types of stereotypical ‘Talk about the picture’ activities are present in the books of classes 7 and 8 which make the students bored. Hasan reported that in the textbooks of class 9 and 10, the language items and their functions are presented in isolation from the everyday happenings. More than that, the lives of rural Bangladesh is absent in the lessons. Urban Bangladesh is highlighted in most of the lessons. It seems an attempt to introduce Bangladesh to a non-Bangladeshi.

In addition, Hasan (2004) observed that most of the madrasa schools use traditional grammar books which are not suitable for communicative language teaching. In madrasas the textbooks from classes 6 to 10 do not follow the guidelines of national curriculum & textbook board. Besides, the grammar books used in the madrasas follow the traditional grammar. The grammar translation methodology seems to be a favorite of most the teachers as well the students.

I think the above-mentioned points are important to consider for improving the critical thinking ability of students. Because of the presence of urban culture in most of the lessons, students of the rural Bangladesh will not able to relate themselves to the lessons and to the activities as well. Besides, the monotonous activities will not help them to use their thinking ability; the same activities will make the students bored.

For establishing thinking ability among students, I think it is very important to publish books which contain lessons and activities which engage students to solve problems, and this kind of activities should be included from an early age.

Moreover, for developing the critical thinking ability we must teach students how to develop the independent thinking ability. Billah (2011) pointed out some methods following which students will develop the qualities of a lifelong learner. According to him, some of the qualities of a lifelong learner are:

Active Investigator: Students should be taught to ask questions or form hypothesis. Various methods are required for locating, collecting, sorting, and recording information. In the last step, they must be taught to form conclusions.

Critical Thinker: Learners are required to be critical thinkers for analyzing and synthesizing information (p.1).

Self-directed learning: Depending upon the learners ‘learning styles’, ‘prior knowledge’, ‘strengths’ and ‘weaknesses’, learning should be directed. It will eventually help children to plan, and organize thinking.

Effective Communication: For ensuring good communication, collaborative work between learners is important. For investigation, students need to express ‘feelings’, ‘thoughts’ and ‘ideas’(p.2).

I think Billah’s (2011) qualities of a lifelong learner are absent among most of the students of Bangladesh for many reasons. First, our education system does not encourage students either to ask questions or form any sort of hypothesis on anything. Second, the perception of being ‘critical thinkers’ is totally absent, as our education does not encourage students to analyze or synthesize on anything they read. In the same way, we do not teach the students to gradually develop critical thinkers of their own. Therefore, I can say that our educational systems, our assessment system, teacher-oriented classes all are responsible for the lack of critical thinking ability of our students.

However, we can train our teachers on how to teach learners critical reasoning. In this regard, Bowers (2006) proposed that the teacher education programmes must prepare teachers to teach critical reasoning among learners (p.15). He has brought the reference of Paul in his article. Paul (1995) proposed that five factors contribute to teaching of critical thinking, which instructors must consider in developing course-learning materials. The first factor in the teaching of critical thinking is the ‘instructor'. The instructor must be able to ‘reduce big questions’ or ‘problems’ and make ‘approachable tasks’ for the students and ‘contextualize learning’. He must be able to help learners in focusing of their thinking, in integrating, and synthesizing information. He must encourage students to discuss difficult concepts with each other. The instructor must be a guide in finding out, evaluating, and accessing of ‘learning resources’. The second component is called the ‘Socratic questioning’ and in the second component, learners must be taught to think deeply, to ‘focus on topics’, and to develop skills which are related to ‘sensitivity’, ‘clarity’, ‘accuracy’ and ‘relevance’. In the third component, the instructors must help learners the use of ‘role play’ and ‘reconstruction of opposing views’. In the fourth component, the learners are required to contextualize their experience with that of the ‘global context’. In the last component, the instructor must be able to teach learners the differences between ‘fact’, ‘opinion’, and ‘judgment’ (p. 19-20).

However, my research found that in Bangladesh, the concept of critical thinking is very new and there exists no teacher education programmes following which our teachers can learn on how to teach critical thinking to students. Particularly, our education system was not encouraging for the teachers to bring on critical thinking to the students. However, lately, a dramatic change has been brought into our education system in which the development of critical thinking would be possible. Nevertheless, because of lack of implementation of the creative method the system is failing to achieve its goals.

Training individuals to become critical learners has not become successful from a very young age for various reasons. While discussing the reason of students not being critical, Hussain (2009) reported that the aim of S.S.C. curriculum is to develop the ‘cognitive skills’ of learners. However, during assessment, the cognitive skills of learners are not tested. On the other hand, during the assessment the ‘rote learning’ ability of learners are evaluated. He pointed out to a survey, which included the last five years question papers. In the survey, it was found that, 80% marks are given for the ‘straight recall of facts’. He claimed that education means ‘memorizing huge amount of useless, frequently outdated, and sometimes inaccurate facts’. In order to increase the ‘validity’ and reliability of the examination and to meet up the curriculum objectives, reforms were taken (p.34). From Hussain’s (2009) perspective, the aim of the revised NCTB curriculum of 1995-1996 was to meet up the teaching/learning objectives of each subject. The curriculum must be equal with the curriculum of developed countries in quality and it must aim to develop the intellectual qualities of learners. But, the assessment process reveals that it is way too far to fulfill the objectives of the curriculum. Whereas the developing of intellectual skills was a matter of concern in the new curriculum, the assessment does not focus on the skills; rather it judges a student on his/her ability of the recall of ‘facts’ or ‘statements’ directly from the textbook. Hussain (2009) reported that whereas the examination system of Bangladesh is penalty for someone and it is a reward for others. It is a penalty for some because the examination board does not check the standard of question papers; rather it checks the content of a question paper. It is a reward for others for the same reason as setting up standard question papers is not the aim of the examination board. On top of that, Hussain mentioned the unreliable marking system of the board (p.35).Hussain mentioned the outcomes of the S.S.C. examination:

- is dependent on rote learning
- limited engagement of students in the classroom.
- little coverage of national curriculum during assessment.
- inadequate and limited assessment skills.
- little or no responsibility for the performances or duties of the teachers (p.36).

This research has found that in our education system, teachers discuss with the students possible answers of the questions of the chapters they teach. While dealing with the answers of the questions, teachers show students from where an answer will start and end in the textbook. Thus, we literally tell them the answers of every question, and in the examinations the highest mark goes to those students who can reproduce exactly from the book. Even the subjects, which follow creative method, teachers help students with how to start and write the answer of a question. By doing this we gradually block the independent thinking power of our students. In simple terms, I can say that we make our students dependent from a very young age. As a result, their thinking ability does not develop.

Therefore, Hussain (2009) emphasized that reform is necessary in the examination system of Bangladesh. According to him, the following factors are important to consider:

- The quality and standard of question paper should be maintained. It would lead to less cheating in the examination.
- Marking in the examination should be accurate so that the result becomes dependable.
- The schools should be informed about its result so that the teachers can improve their teaching.
- A standard marking should be achieved by the standardization of the marking system (p.36).

But can we actually teach our students about how to think? In this regard Willingham (2007) in his journal “Critical Thinking’ why is it so hard to teach” clarified whether critical thinking can actually be taught. He viewed decades of cognitive research, which says that critical thinking skill cannot be taught. However, people who wants to teach critical thinking think that critical thinking is a skill, and they compare the skill with that of the riding a bicycle. Once the skill of riding a bicycle is learnt, anyone can apply it anytime. Likewise, they think critical thinking is also a skill and once anyone learns how to think he or she can apply it anytime. However, cognitive psychologist disagreed with them. Cognitive psychologists view that the skill of critical thinking is interconnected with ‘domain knowledge’ or ‘content of thought’. Only knowing to think critically does not bring any solution, as one has to relate the skill with the content knowledge for reaching any solution. Cognitive researchers observe that by knowing to look at a problem from different perspectives will not help to conclude, because the process of thinking is related to the content of thought. Anyone may know to look at any problem critically, but without the ‘content knowledge’ and ‘practice’, it will not be successful, because students may be taught the formulas of how to think but without having ‘background knowledge’ and ‘practice’, the students will not able to execute it (pp.9-10).

I have found that in our context, our teachers are very concerned with providing the content information of the subjects they teach. To illustrate, we want our students to copy the answers exactly from the textbook. So, in our context students have the content knowledge, but most of the students are not clear about the content knowledge. Even after memorization, learners cannot write, as they memorize without thinking or understanding.

Therefore, to test the critical thinking ability of the students of Bangladesh I conducted a survey on students of class IX and X. More than that, I have conducted another survey to test the effects of the critical thinking ability on the students of university. Below the survey results on the students of the school of class IX and X are given.

Results of the survey on the levels of students of class IX and X

I have conducted a survey among 30 students of a school of Dhaka. The Level of the students was grades 9 and 10. In order to show the results, I mentioned each of the questions and showed the result of the survey after each question, and after that, I have shown the result in percentage. The questions are:

1. Do you know about the new creative method?

The result of the survey question was

Table: 1

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Analysis

This chart shows the result of the question in three bars. The first bar shows the number of students responded in affirmative way and the 2nd bar shows the number of students responded in a negative way.

The result of each answer is turned into 100 to bring out the result in percentage. Among 30 students’, yes’ has been answered by 10 students, so among 100 students ‘yes’ has been answered by 33.33 students or .33% of students. In the second option ‘partly’ has been answered by 20 students out of 30 students, and after converting it into 100, I found that among 66.66 or .66% of students answered in this manner.

Therefore, after analyzing the answers of the 1st question I can come to the conclusion that to more than 50% of students the creative method is still not clear. The students are still confused about this method, and if this is the scenario of the Dhaka city, then it is clearly understood what the scenario in the small towns and villages would be.

Question 2. Do you have clear instructions about how to give answers in this creative method?

Table: 2

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Analysis

In the second question, I found that 27 students said that they know how to give answers in the creative method whereas only three students answered that they have confusion in answering in the creative method.

After converting the result among 100 students, I found that 90 out of 100 students have clear idea how to write answers in the creative method. Therefore, I can say that most of the students know how to give answers in the creative method.

Question 3. Do you think the existing creative method gives you an opportunity to cultivate and express your thinking ability?

Table: 3

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Analysis

The chart shows that among 30 students 27 of the students think that the method is promoting the creative thinking ability. After converting the result into 100, I found that 90% students expressed positive response towards this method and so I can say that the creative method is cultivating their thinking ability.

Question 4. In the creative method, do you need to memorize the answers?

Table: 4

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Analysis

In answering the question no.4, the students replied that they do not need to memorize the answers a lot. However, 23 of the students answered they need some sort of memorization while answering, and after converting the result I found that 73.33 students among 100 answered that they are dependent on memorization to some extent. Again, the answer of this question proves the reliability of the creative method than the previous one.

Question 5. Is the creative method enhancing your thinking ability more than the previous one?

Table: 5

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Analysis

While answering the question, 24 of the students replied that the method is more effective than the previous one, and after converting the result into 100 students, I found that 80% students think this creative method is enhancing their thinking ability more than the previous one.

Question 6. Can the teachers implement the creative method in class?

Table: 6

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Analysis

While responding question no. 6, 28 students replied that teachers need more training for taking classes in the creative method, and after converting the result into 100, I found that 93.33 students out of 100 think that teacher needs more training for taking class in the creative method.

Question 7. Do you think the question pattern in the creative method should be modified?

Table: 7

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Analysis

In this graph, I found that 19 students think that the creative method needs modification whereas only 11 students do not think of drastic modification. After converting the result into 100, I found that 63.33% students said that modification in the question pattern is necessary. For that reason, I can come to the point that though the students think that the creative method is cultivating or developing their critical thinking ability more than the previous one, the students think more modifications are necessary.

Results of the survey on university level students

At this point, the research aimed to focus on the effects of critical thinking courses on university level students, and so I have asked students whether they had critical thinking courses in their school and college life, and because of the absence of the critical thinking course, the problems they are facing in their university life.

1. Do you think you are facing problems in your university because of the absence of critical thinking courses in your school or college life?

Table: 1

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Analysis

The result of the graph shows that almost 21 students out of 30 think that they are facing great difficulties because of the absence of the critical thinking courses in their university life while 9 students out of 30 think that they are not so much affected because of the nonexistence of critical thinking courses. After converting it into 100, I can say that 66.66 students out of 100 replied that they are t facing great difficulties for the absence of the critical thinking abilities.

2. Do you think the existing curriculum of your university provides enough scope to develop the independent thinking ability of students?

Table: 2

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Analysis

In this survey question most of the students replied that the existing curriculum of their respected university provides little scope for developing the creative thinking ability. For example, half of the students think that the curriculum of their university is not helping them to nurture their critical thinking abilities and after converting the result into 100 students I found that 50 students think the current curriculum of their university does not giving enough scope for developing creative thinking.

3. Why did you think your thinking ability did not develop? Because of -

Table: 3

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Analysis

In answering the 3rd question, 20 students out of 30 replied that their thinking ability did not develop because of the present educational system of Bangladesh. However, 8 students answered spoon feeding of parents is the main factor for not developing the thinking ability. In this context, spoon-feeding is doing problem-solving tasks and writing tasks for their children. After converting the result into 100 students, I found that almost 66.66 out of 100 blamed our education system for their not developing critical thinking ability.

4. Do you depend on memorization in completing any answers, quizzes or assignments?

Table: 4

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Analysis

The purpose of the question is to bring out the dependency of memorization among university level students and to find out the reason of memorization. The survey result shows that 13 students out of 30 replied that they memorize the answers ‘partly’. So, I can say that our students are not completely devoid of the habit of memorization and when I converted the result into 100, I found that 43.33 students still to some extent or other.

5. Do you think lecture-based classes are a cause for your lack of critical thinking ability?

Table: 5

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In answering the question, 26 students out of 30 answered that lecture-based classes hamper their critical or reasoning ability. After converting, the result into 100, I found that 86.66% students thought that lecture-based classes are a reason for their lack of critical thinking ability.

6. Do you think you become dependent on your peers in finding solutions while doing the problem solving tasks?

Table: 6

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Analysis

The purpose of the question is to find out whether the students become dependent on their peers while doing the problem-solving tasks and the result of the survey question shows that the students do not become dependent on their peers in the problem solving tasks. The graph shows that 17 students out of 30 thought they do not dependent on the friends in problem solving tasks and after converting the result into 100, I found that 56.66 students replied that they do not become dependent in problem solving tasks.

7. Do you think notes prepared by others hinder your reasoning or critical thinking ability?

Table: 7

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In answering the 6th question, 28 respondents among 30 opined that only lecture notes prepared by others hampers their critical or reasoning thinking ability. After converting the result into 100, I found that 93.33% students thought that note prepared by others hamper their critical or reasoning ability.

8. Are you facing problems in doing the problem-solving tasks in your workplace because of the absence of problem-solving or creative writing tasks in your university life?

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In answering the question, 29 students out of 30 indicated that they are facing problems in their workplaces because of the absence of problem-solving or creative writing tasks in their university life. The purpose was to find out the effects of the lack of critical thinking workplaces after the graduation of students. After converting the results into 100, I found that 96.66% respondents opined that they are facing problems because of the absence of the absence of problem-solving tasks in their university life.

Discussion

After examining the responses of the first survey, I can say that my hypothesis, which claimed that the education system is responsible for the lack of critical thinking ability of the students of Bangladesh, is apparently wrong as 90% of students opined that the new creative method is developing their critical thinking abilities. In addition, 80% students answered that the creative method is enhancing their thinking ability more than the previous method. Furthermore, 73.33% students expressed that they do not need to memorize because of the introduction of the creative method. However, I cannot say that my hypothesis is not very wrong because it is been only two years that the creative method has started its journey. More than that, it has started its journey with only two subjects e.g. Bangla and Islamic studies and it will take time to implement the method into other subjects. Moreover, before the emergence and implementation of the method, students used to follow the traditional method. The effects of the traditional method are there among the students of Bangladesh because the students having spent twelve to fifteen years of their academic life in the traditional method will not come out of the effects of the traditional method all of a sudden. Moreover, the creative method is struggling for a better implementation for various reasons. As guidebooks are available in the market for the books which follow the creative method, students do not try to do the problem-solving and reasoning tasks by themselves; rather they look for the solutions in the guidebooks. As a result, their creative and problem-solving ability are not developing. Furthermore, while making questions teachers give questions exactly from the guidebooks and thus students get similar questions in their exams. Therefore, my hypothesis that blamed our education system for the lack of critical thinking ability of students is not very wrong. In spite of all the praise of the creative method, 63.33% students expressed that modification is necessary in the question pattern of the creative method. I have found that modification in the question pattern is necessary, as the questions are taken from the text. Not only in the pattern of question, but in the content also modification is necessary. Although the students have praised the creative method, 93.33% students thought that training of teachers is necessary. Teachers are struggling to implement the method in class as they lack educate training on how to take classes in this method. In the second part of the survey, the effects of the critical thinking among university students were analyzed. My hypothesis was that because of the lack of this ability in the primary, secondary and higher secondary levels, the university level students suffer in their performances in the university courses. This part of the hypothesis proved to be true as 66.66% students said that they are facing problem is their university because of the absence of critical thinking courses in primary and secondary and higher secondary levels. In universities the evaluation process of students are a lot different from that at the primary, secondary and higher secondary levels. The evaluation process involves quizzes, assignments, presentations and exams where the students need to analyze assigned topics critically. Then again, except a few universities, in most of the universities of Bangladesh, students do not have to go through this kind of evaluation process. In those universities, students are tested only by their writing skills. Again lecture-based classes is a reason of the lack of critical thinking of students. The effects of the lecture-based classes are obvious in the survey result where 86.66% students answered that lecture-based classes undermine their thinking ability. The alarming news is that about 50% of students involved in the survey said that the curriculum of their universities did not provide enough scope for developing critical thinking abilities. Moreover, 66.66% students blamed our education system for not having critical thinking abilities. While answering another question, 43.33% students responded that they did some sort of memorization while writing their quizzes and assignments. The result clearly indicates that large numbers of our students are still struggling to get rid of the habit of memorizing. In answering the fifth question, 56.66% students answered that they are not so much dependent on the friends while they try to do problem-solving tasks. While giving an answer on prepared notes, 93.33% students replied that prepared notes by others hampered their thinking ability. In following the prepared notes students do not have to think or study about the topic, they just memorize the notes prepared by others. This is a common scenario of our higher education system where students are mostly judged by their writing skill. The effects of the absence of the critical thinking in the courses of university is shocking as 96.66 respondents say that they are facing problems in doing the problem-solving tasks in their workplaces because of non-existence of the problem-solving tasks in their university life. The respondents of this question were from various professions; some were bankers and teachers while others were working in different private organizations. Therefore, my hypothesis that claimed that because of the absence of the critical thinking ability in the primary, secondary and higher secondary levels, the university level students suffer in their performances in the university courses has proved to be true.

Recommendations

After the completion of the research, I have focused on some suggestions following which we can improve the creative thinking ability of students.

- We must ensure that all the students possess a clear idea about the creative method. Not only the students but teachers also must know about the method and for that to happen of the teacher training is a must. Therefore, we have to prepare the teachers as well as the students so that they do not have any confusion about the method.
- The schools should work hard in making standard creative questions.
- The teachers must be discouraged to take help from guidebooks while making questions for school examinations.
- The proper education of the teachers is necessary so that they can take classes, make questions following the creative method, and gradually develop the thinking ability of the students.
- The publication of the guidebooks should be banned and for that to happen we must make adequate rules and enforce them.
- Our parents must encourage the growth of individual uniqueness of their children as it fosters children’s problem-solving and critical thinking abilities.
- In some cases, the subject matter of the madrasa education should be made more sensitive to other religions.
- The schools should provide supplementary teaching materials in classes so that adequate learning takes place.
- For enacting role-play, peer teaching, we must reduce the large number of students in classes.
- Our classes should be made more interactive by stopping the note-taking tendency of students.
- Students must stop wasting their time in memorizing essays or paragraphs from books; rather with the help of books they should practice developing their own writing.

The result of the study showed that the students of university are failing to show better performances because of the absence of critical thinking courses in primary, secondary and higher secondary levels. As a result, in workplaces the sufferings of the respondents are the worst, as they have to practically demonstrate or solve different problems in their workplaces. The study demonstrates the factors responsible for the lack of critical thinking ability of the students of Bangladesh in different levels of their academic life. The study revealed that learning style of the students is a determining factor for not having creative thinking of our students. The research brought to light an interesting factor of our culture of learning and education of the students which was to be inactive recipients in classes. As inactive recipients, students only receive what the teacher says but do not participate or perform any problem-solving tasks by their own. The study also investigated the reasons of passive learning of the students and found out that asking questions or arguing with teachers is considered indecent in our culture. Moreover, the research found out the reasons of our students not trying to analyze, synthesize and evaluate different topics or problems. Lack of encouragement from parents is a cause in this respect. Parents do not encourage their children because they think their children’s writing or explanation will not carry as good marks as the writing of the teachers or writing from any books. Additionally, lecture-based classes, dominance of teachers in classes and notes prepared by others also proved to be causing non-creativity among students. The study found out that creative method is failing to promote critical and creative thinking and students are still looking for guidebooks, private tutors and going to coaching centers. As students are getting common questions in the creative method, they are not becoming critical thinkers. Therefore, the study blamed our education system and memorizing tendency of students but we can easily promote creative and critical thinking among students if we follow the creative method and do some modification in the content and pattern of questions of it.

References

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49 of 49 pages

Details

Title
Lack of Critical Thinking Ability Among the Primary and High School Students of Bangladesh and its Effects on their Tertiary Level Education and Employment Prospects
Author
Year
2013
Pages
49
Catalog Number
V351056
ISBN (Book)
9783668377493
File size
792 KB
Language
English
Notes
This text was written by a non-native English speaker. Please excuse any errors or inconsistencies.
Tags
critical thinking, secondary education, employment prospects
Quote paper
Thauhida Hussain Rupa (Author), 2013, Lack of Critical Thinking Ability Among the Primary and High School Students of Bangladesh and its Effects on their Tertiary Level Education and Employment Prospects, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/351056

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