Critical Thinking and Btecs

Topics: Critical thinking, Educational psychology, Education Pages: 22 (8585 words) Published: June 23, 2013
Evaluating Proposed Changes to the Level 2 BTEC ICT Curriculum: Improving the development of critical thinking skills in students Abstract
Our society is changing at a faster pace than ever before, principally as a result of the increasing use of information technology in our daily lives (Nemcik, 2011). Many governments (OECD, 2004; European Commission, 2009) have recognised the part that critical thinking skills play in making individuals reflexive and adaptable to this constant change. Vocational qualifications have an important part to play in developing 14 – 19 year olds’ critical thinking skills and the BTEC is a popular choice in schools and further education colleges, with over 780 providers in the UK (Alps, 2012). However, widespread change is filtering through all BTEC courses, partly as a consequence of the findings of the Wolf Report (2011). It is the level 2 BTEC First in ICT that is the focus of this paper: to assess whether the changes introduced as a direct result of the findings of the Wolf Report provide better or worse opportunities for developing students’ critical thinking skills.

Contents
Abstract1
Introduction3
What is “Critical Thinking”?3
Why is Critical Thinking Important?5
What are BTECs and Why are they Changing?8
Does the Current BTEC First ICT Curriculum Facilitate Critical Thinking?8
Personal Learning and Thinking Skills11
Allocation for Critical Thinking in the new BTEC Level 2 ICT Curriculum12
External assessment13
Synoptic Learning13
Reduction in Summative Assessment Attempts14
Move away from Personal Thinking and Learning Skills16
Training for Teachers17
Discussion18
Potential Further Research19
Conclusions19
References20
Appendix : BTEC Level 2 ICT Personal, Thinking and Learning Skills (PLTS)25

Introduction

In “Brave New World Revisited” (1958; Chapter XI paragraph 8), Aldous Huxley commented:

“…children are nowhere taught, in any systematic way, to distinguish true from false, or meaningful from meaningless, statements.”

Although Huxley was stating his own personal view of 1950s education in relation to points made in his fictional novel “Brave New World”, faint echoes of the above refrain have continued to sound along political and educational hallways worldwide, with recent comments in the press lamenting young school leavers’ lack of critical thinking skills (Vedder, 2011; Paton, 2012; Wallace, 2010; McDonnell et al, 2011) and indicating a desire to facilitate the learning of critical thinking skills for children and youth (Unicef, 2013; Simon, 2012).

In this paper, I aim to review the key definitions of critical thinking and briefly discuss why critical thinking is important to BTEC ICT students. I will then compare critical thinking skill allocations between the existing BTEC Level 2 ICT curriculum and the new curriculum which comes into force in 2014, with the aim of providing some insight for curriculum policy makers at EdExcel regarding the future for critical thinking skills in the BTEC ICT curriculum.

What is “Critical Thinking”?
Critical thinking comprises taking a logical problem-solving approach: assessing and prioritising key points within their context, making choices then using reflection on the process and consequences to improve the choice. It is not a new subject: it has its roots in Socratic learning and elements of critical thinking theory were touched upon by Dewey at the turn of the 20th century. There are a number of tests and definitions of critical thinking, some of them extremely complicated. For example, Ennis (1987) developed a taxonomy of critical thinking skills which contained over 100 subcategories. For ease of use in the classroom, I have adopted the definition in the Delphi Report (Facione et al, 1990). Facione’s panel of experts concluded that critical thinking consists of the following steps (although these may not necessarily be undertaken in a linear...

References: 2B, L. 2013. Do Top Unis Reject BTECs? [Online]. Available: http://l2b.thelawyer.com/do-top-unis-reject-btecs/1006560.article?PageNo=2&SortOrder=dateadded&PageSize=10#comments [Accessed 14/03/13 2013].
ALPS 2012
ANDERSON, K. 1984. Implications of BEC Philosophy. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 8.
ANDERSON, T., HOWE, C., SODEN, R., HALLIDAY, J
BROOKFIELD, S. D. 2011. Teaching for Critical Thinking: Tools and Techniques to Help Students Question Their Assumptions, Wiley.
BROWNE, M
BROZEL, P. 2012. EdExcel BTEC Benchmarking Data 2011 - 2012. In: EDEXCEL (ed.) Issue 1 ed.: EdExcel.
BYRNE, G
CAVANAGH, M. & PRESCOTT, A. 2010. The growth of reflective practice among three beginning secondary mathematics teachers. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 38, 147-159.
CHIN, C
CLAXTON, G. 2001. Wise Up, Bloomsbury Academic.
COMMISSION, E
D 'EON, M. & PROCTOR, P. 2001. An Innovative Modification to Structured Controversy. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 38, 251-256.
DE VITA, G
EDEXCEL. 2013. BTEC - The Basics [Online]. Available: http://www.edexcel.com/btec/New-to-btec/BTEC-Explained/Pages/basics.aspx [Accessed 01/02/13 2013].
ENNIS, R
FACIONE, P. 1990. The Delphi Report. Millbrae, CA: American Philosophical Association.
FACIONE, P
FISHER, R. 2003. The golden age of BTEC: the business education curriculum in 1980s further education. The Curriculum Journal, 14, 253-277.
GEISER, K
GLASER, E. M. 1941. An experiment in the development of critical thinking, Teachers College, Columbia University.
GLASER, R
GUNSTON, M. 2011. BTEC Student Handbook 2011-2012. In: SCHOOL, T. J. O. G. (ed.) online.
HAMMER, S., CHARDON, T., COLLINS, P
HUXLEY, A. 1958. Brave New World Revisited [Online]. Available: http://www.huxley.net/bnw-revisited/index.html [Accessed 03/01/13 2013].
JOHNSON, G
KIRKUP, J. 2013. Apprenticeships overhaul to offer school-leavers way into professions without university degree. The Telegraph.
KLEIBRINK, A
KOLB, D. A. 1984. Experiential learning: experience as the source of learning and development, Prentice-Hall.
KUHLTHAU, C
KUHN, D. 1991. The Skills of Argument, Cambridge University Press.
LEE, M
MCDONNELL, C., ENNIS, P. & SHOEMAKER, L. 2011. Now for the science bit: implementing community-based learning in chemistry. Education + Training, 53, 218-236.
MCMAHON, T
MUMSNET. 2012. Do not understand why BTEC equal to 4 GCSEs [Online]. Available: http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/am_i_being_unreasonable/a1394587-To-not-understand-why-a-Btec-is-considered-equivalent-to-four-gsces [Accessed 12/02/13 2013].
MURPHY, V
NEMCIK, B. 2011. You can teach an old dog new tricks - the modern practice of adult learning, Kindle, Amazon Media EU.
OBSERVER, O
POLYA, G. 2008. How to Solve It: A New Aspect of Mathematical Method, Princeton University Press.
RAPAPORT, W
SCHOEN, H. L., CEBULLA, K. J., FINN, K. F. & FI, C. 2003. Teacher Variables That Relate to Student Achievement When Using a Standards-Based Curriculum. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 34, 31.
SCRIVEN, M
SEMERCI, C. 2011. The relationships between achievement focused motivation and critical thinking. African Journal of Business Management, 5, 6180-6185.
SIMON, S
TES. 2010. Assignment Verbs for BTEC [Online]. Available: http://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resource/Assignment-Verbs-for-BTEC-work-3010154/ [Accessed 14/03/13 2013].
TES
UNICEF. 2013. Providing children with a quality basic education [Online]. Available: http://www.unicef.org/myanmar/education.html [Accessed 24/2/13 2013].
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, L
UNIVERSITY, D. 2013. Do you accept critical thinking A Level? [Online]. Available: http://www.dur.ac.uk/law/undergraduate/apply/admissionsfaq/?faqno=1483 [Accessed 09/03/13 2013].
VEDDER, R
WAITE, S. & DAVIS, B. 2006. Collaboration as a catalyst for critical thinking in undergraduate research. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 30, 405-419.
WALLACE, L
WEILER, A. 2005. Information-Seeking Behavior in Generation Y Students: Motivation, Critical Thinking, and Learning Theory.
WOLF, A., GREAT BRITAIN
YANG, Y.-T. C. 2012. Cultivating critical thinkers: Exploring transfer of learning from pre-service teacher training to classroom practice. Teaching and Teacher Education, 28, 1116-1130.
ZHAO, K
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Essay about Critical Thinking
  • CRITICAL THINKING Essay
  • critical thinking Essay
  • Critical thinking Essay
  • Essay about Critical Thinking Reflection 2
  • Critical and creative thinking skills Essay
  • Why is critical thinking important Essay
  • Critical Thinking Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free