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    Teaching for Thinking: an action research inquiry into the Pedagogical potential of modern literature to foster critical thinking and facilitate critical consciousness in third level students.


    De Brún, Christa (2016) Teaching for Thinking: an action research inquiry into the Pedagogical potential of modern literature to foster critical thinking and facilitate critical consciousness in third level students. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Abstract

    This thesis explores the pedagogical use of modern literature in fostering critical thinking and facilitating critical consciousness in adulthood. This thesis will make a small but significant contribution to knowledge in the field. My original contribution to knowledge lies in releasing the pedagogical potential of modern literature to foster critical thinking and critical consciousness in adulthood. The gap I intend to fill with this research is the gap between theory and practice; while we aspire to develop critically engaged students, the banking model (Freire 1970) we employ negates the very possibility of this outcome. My research aims to consolidate the role of critical thinking and critical consciousness in education and to embed these concepts in third level education through the medium of literature. This research is focused on third level students in their first year of study. It is facilitated by literature circles and class discussion, and independent learning is fostered through a critical lens approach to literature that requires students to think critically about a topic, evaluate a topic from different perspectives and engage critically with the world around them. The objective of this qualitative research is to explore the role of literature in fostering critical thinking and facilitating critical consciousness in third level students. The review of the existing literature indicates that while there are several major strategies for encouraging critical thinking in programmes, there has been little research on the role literature can play in facilitating critical thinking. The methodology used to carry out this research is Critical Constructivist Action Research which acknowledges that the world is socially constructed, so too are people and the knowledge they possess, and there is no neutral perspective. Research in this context involves understanding the nature of these constructions and the purpose of this research is not to transmit a body of validated truths or outcomes but to reveal how perspectives come to be constructed and to enable students to understand the nature of interpretation which is, after all, a central feature of being an educated person. This research employs literature to facilitate critical thinking and consciousness-raising and concludes that modern literature is a valuable medium through which students can learn to think critically and become more critically conscious citizens. Ultimately, this thesis aims to re-appropriate literature as a disruptive force, breaking up our fictions about the world we live in and showing us new possibilities for the future. The objective of using literature as a pedagogical tool is twofold, firstly, to facilitate critical thinking and critical consciousness, and secondly, to encourage students to read thus improving literacy skills whilst fostering critical awareness. The overall aim is to provide students with an empowering education. Through empowering education, a democratic discourse can be developed to ease student-teacher alienation and promote a critical learning process that develops critical scholars and critical citizens both of which contribute to a fuller potential of humanity. Therefore, this thesis makes, to paraphrase Mezirow (2000), an insufficient but indispensable contribution to the field of education by outlining the possibilities of embracing such a framework; possibilities for growth, for transformation and for a humane education.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Teaching for Thinking; action research inquiry; Pedagogical potential; modern literature; critical thinking; critical consciousness; third level students;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Adult and Community Education
    Item ID: 7558
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2016 11:45
    URI:

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