The pedagogical processes through which students are supposed to become more reflective are important for preparing critical thinkers in the healthcare field. The dynamics of knowledge production and acquisition is placing increasing demand on the ability to analyze information and integrate diverse sources of knowledge in solving complex problems. The concept of critical thinking has become paramount in the process of educating healthcare professionals in the practice of direct patient care. To date, however, there has been little engagement by institutions about what critical thinking means for the health care industry or how it can be effectively incorporated into educational curricula. Critical ethnography was the methodology chosen to help me understand how pedagogical practices influence students' development of critical thinking skills. I used participant observation, focus groups and in-depth interviews to examine how students, faculty and curriculum stakeholders navigate this subject at the College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota. Two semesters of fieldwork suggested that there is a subtle discrepancy between students' and faculty's perspectives when it comes to teaching and learning critical thinking skills in the classroom. The disconnection between teaching approaches and evaluation was pointed out as a factor that hindered critical thinking. Case studies, small group discussions and `experiential learning' were emphasized as pedagogical approaches that foster critical thinking learning, but there are factors associated with the classroom setting that may prevent them to fully achieve their goal. The knowledge that emerged from this study will allow educators to design learning activities to more effectively develop these essential skills in our future caregivers.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertsation. March 2014. Major: Social and Administrative Pharmacy. Advisor: Djenane Ramalho de Oliveira. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 217 pages, appendices I-V.
de Freitas, Erika Lourenço.
Why do I think the way I do? Troubling the concept of critical thinking in pharmacy classrooms.
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