Modifying and Integrating Critical Thinking into the Traditional Pedagogy of Saudi Girls' Elementary School

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

John R. Murray


This study is motivated by the current national problem of poor and inadequate teacher preparation and teaching quality in Saudi elementary schools. This thesis focuses on Saudi girls' elementary schools. To date, not a single scholarly effort has been made in Saudi Arabia to study if teachers facilitate children's thinking skills and to determine why thinking strategies and effective study skills are not encouraged in young elementary school children. The absence of such knowledge is rather depressing, given the overwhelming evidence that children's experiences during the elementary school years play a vital role in the beginning and development of learning and thinking strategies. It is argued in this study that in order to address the problem resulting from a lack of critical thinking skills, Saudi Arabia must move beyond a traditional evaluation of teachers which is based solely on the lecture method. It is necessary for the Saudi Arabian education system to examine more practical elements of teaching and learning. Extensive changes in teachers preparation are necessary if Saudi elementary schools are to establish a workable and effective model of national teacher preparation and development. Literature on the study of teaching students how to think effectively and the development of useful teaching strategies has convincingly informed us of how essential these skills are to students' progress. The implications of such research are quite clear: 1) the elementary school years are a crucial time for children to develop and acquire thinking strategies, 2) the elementary classroom context is ideal for the acquisition, development, and exercise of thinking strategies, and 3) instructional success depends, in great part, on a teacher's interaction with students and the students' in interactions with one another. This study will take a two-pronged approach to addressing the needs listed above. First, it will provide an assessment and critique of Saudi girls' elementary lessons currently in use. Second, it will offer a sample of modified lessons and the development of a suggested questionnaire for the evaluation of elementary teachers.


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