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Examining educators’ conceptualisation of critical thinking in the Algerian higher education context and exploring the challenges faced in promoting critical thinking among students: A qualitative investigation

CHERGUI, AMIRA (2024) Examining educators’ conceptualisation of critical thinking in the Algerian higher education context and exploring the challenges faced in promoting critical thinking among students: A qualitative investigation. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF (PhD thesis) - Accepted Version


This thesis addresses two substantial questions, namely: how critical thinking is conceptualised in the Algerian higher education context and to what extent teachers believe they support its development and how they support students’ development of critical thinking in this particular context. The research aims not simply to make an evaluative judgment of the nature of critical thinking, but rather, to capture teachers’ authentic, precise and significant perceptions around critical thinking conceptualisation and development. The research also aims to draw out some significant implications for teaching and learning in the Algerian higher education context which may be pertinent in similar contexts.
The research is qualitative in nature adopting an interpretivist approach based on social constructionism that aims to include richness in the perceptions collected and in turn addresses the central research questions. The aim is to comprehend how people perceive, believe, and feel about the world, seeking to understand their different perceptions. Qualitative data was elicited through semi-structured online interviews with 16 teachers at Larbi Ben Mhidi university in Oum El Bouaghi, Algeria. Analysis of the teachers’ perspectives in their answers to the interview questions is presented in a thematic analysis.
Overall, it seems that the conceptualisations of critical thinking provided by the interviewed teachers overlap in respect of their provided definitions which understand critical thinking as a set of skill and/ or dispositions. The responses provided by these teachers do also reflect their awareness of the importance of critical thinking and the purposes it could be serving either academically or personally. Key findings emerging from the data analysis show that to develop critical thinking among students, the teachers implemented during their classes different methodologies including classroom discussions, debates, workshops, brainstorming, problem- solving activities, asking questions and lastly self- assessment. However, it the degree to which these teachers supported their students critical thinking is limited as they highlighted different challenges, notably in respect to the context, students, teachers, policy and the social norms. These challenges they believe have significant implications in their support of their students’ critical thinking development.
The study is unique in that it provides valuable insights for teachers and researchers in the area of critical thinking conceptualisation and development in higher education, especially for those in Algeria, or in other similar contexts, where graduates are missing such skills. Finally, it is hoped that the current study will inform curriculum designers about future directions and much-anticipated reforms of the Algerian program and practitioners about areas that need to be addressed to further improve the integration of critical thinking into their pedagogical practices.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Keywords: Critical thinking, Algerian Higher Education, Qualitative approach, Semi- structured interviews.  
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Education, School of
Thesis Date:2024
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:25 Mar 2024 15:33

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