Effects of Teaching Critical Thinking to Saudi Female University Students Using a Stand-Alone Course

  •  Amani K. Hamdan Al Ghamdi    
  •  Philline M. Deraney    


Teaching critical thinking, an educational goal widely discussed in the last 30 years (Halpern, 1993), is an essential element of professional and higher education as it promotes reasoned judgments under ‘conditions of uncertainty,’ a hallmark of professionalism (Levine, 2010; Shulman, 2005; Perry, 1970). In this study, the researchers present the implications of teaching CT in a course format in a Saudi private university that is preparing female professionals for the workforce. The course is taught as part of the general education requirements in the freshman year of study. Female students in the fields of business, computer sciences, and interior design participated in a CT pre-test /post-test sequence given at strategic times throughout the semester. The data illustrate significant improvement in the area of argument identification and analysis, but moderate to low improvement in the other markers of critical thinking. The results not only reflect course instruction as well as other external factors. The study suggests and recommends that in order for students to be critical thinkers, critical thinking would ideally be embedded or integrated throughout the students’ academic career, not just in one, stand-alone course.

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