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Critical Thinking: A Pedagogical Instrument for New Engineering and Science Educators

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Tricks of the Trade I

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.370.1 - 25.370.16



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Paper Authors


Robert M. Brooks Temple University

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Robert Brooks is an Associate Professor of civil engineering at Temple University. He is a Fellow of ASCE. His research interests are engineering education, civil engineering materials, and transportation engineering.

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Jyothsna Kavuturu

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Jyothsna K. S., Department of English, St. Joseph’s College, Bangalore, secured a Gold Medal for the highest aggregate marks in the Post Graduate English Literature course at St. Joseph’s College (autonomous). K. S. has been working for the Department of English, St. Joseph’s College for almost two years now, teaching both undergraduate and Postgraduate courses in English. K. S. published papers
in intramural and extramural publications and presented papers at several conventions, conferences, and seminars.

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Mehmet Cetin Temple University

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Mehmet Cetin is a doctorate candidate of civil engineering at Temple University. He has master's degree. His research interests are engineering education, civil engineering materials, and transportation engineering.

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CRITICAL THINKING, A PEDAGOGOCAL INSTRUMENT FOR NEW ENGINEERING AND SCIENCE EDUCATORSAbstractCritical thinking refers to higher-order thinking that can be used to reach well-justifiedconclusions by questioning assumptions, discerning hidden values and evaluating evidence. It isa way of deciding whether a claim is true, false, or partly true and partly false. Critical thinkingis an important component of academic fields and most professions. It is a part of the educationprocess and is increasingly significant as students progress through university to graduateeducation (Wikipedia). Yet many courses do not use this significantly as a pedagogicalinstrument. Its importance and underuse provided the authors with strong motivation to pursuethis study.The objective of this study is to use critical thinking as a pedagogical instrument by newengineering and science educators. The scope of the paper is limited to new educators’ teachingeffectiveness. Several examples of critical thinking assignments are described in the paper.Two confidential surveys were conducted. The first one consisted of the new educators’ selfevaluations of their effectiveness as teachers. The surveys were administered before and after useof the pedagogical instrument. The pre-application and post-application scores showed anaverage rating of 79 and 92 respectively. The use of the pedagogical instrument improved thescores by 17%. The second confidential survey was on the students’ evaluations of the neweducators’ teaching effectiveness. Before implementing the strategy, the evaluation scores were72. The scores rose to 87 after the strategy was implemented. The use of the pedagogicalinstrument improved the scores by 21%. Both the improvements were statistically significant atan alpha value of 0.05 with calculated t values of 2.9 and 3.1 respectively.During informal discussions the new educators stated that, since they were relativelyinexperienced (average 1.4 years teaching) and had previously used traditional lecture methods,the improvements could be attributed to the innovative strategy. Prior to this study their teachingconsisted primarily of monotonous lectures with frequent writing on the black board where theyturned their backs to the students. However, the authors acknowledge that the improvementscould be attributed, at least in a small part to the new educators’ teaching experience.Over the next four years, the authors plan to implement this strategy with more new educators.The method presented in this study may be used at other institutions with appropriatemodifications in order to help new educators improve their teaching effectiveness.Reference

Brooks, R. M., & Kavuturu, J., & Cetin, M. (2012, June), Critical Thinking: A Pedagogical Instrument for New Engineering and Science Educators Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21128

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