Developing higher order thinking skills of Arab high school students in Israel
AffiliationUniversity of Derby
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AbstractThe present research project represents a case study that examines the outcomes of the intervention programme based on the “Pedagogical horizons” (2007) policies in order to develop the higher order thinking skills (HOTS) of high school students (the HOTS programme). This is the first study that presents the results of the implementation of the HOTS programme in an Arab public high school. In addition, the study reflects on how the implementation of the HOTS programme could impact on the Arab school culture in Israel. The study employs a concurrent mixed method design in which qualitative investigation is a core component and qualitative findings are used for the interpretation of quantitative results. Qualitative data collection tools include semi-structured teacher interviews, teacher focus group interview, teachers’ instruction plans and written reports, and students’ responses to the questionnaire open-ended questions. Data were analysed through thematic analysis in which inductive coding was used. The quantitative strand involved teacher control and intervention groups and the student control and intervention groups. Based on the Critical Thinking Diagnostic Questionnaire (CTDQ) (Weiss, 2010), teacher and student questionnaires were developed, using a six-point Likert scale. Both qualitative and quantitative findings suggest an improvement in teachers’ perceptions of the HOTS-based instruction and students’ perceptions of their cognitive and dispositional skills, as a result of the intervention. The study shows the factors that have impeded the implementation of the intervention, including time constraints and the preference of many teachers for a traditional, instruction. As a result, the programme’s guidelines regarding a desired balance between traditional and constructivist instruction were not fully implemented. Due to the governmental policies and lack of research background, the conditions were not created for developing the HOTS of Arab students through studying civics and the history of Israel. The study’s recommendations point to the necessity of intensive measures for creating the HOTS-promoting environment in Israeli Arab schools, including the improvement of education of Arab teachers.
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