Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Description of an Expert Teacher's Constructivist-Oriented Teaching: Engaging Students' Critical Thinking in Learning Creative Dance

Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Description of an Expert Teacher's Constructivist-Oriented Teaching: Engaging Students' Critical Thinking in Learning Creative Dance

Article excerpt

The focus of this study was to investigate how an expert teacher implemented constructivist-oriented teaching strategies to engage students' critical thinking skills in learning creative dance. The data were collected through videotaping 16 creative dance lessons taught by an expert teacher to 2 kindergarten, 2 first-grade, and 4 third-grade classes and conducting two formal interviews and several informal interviews with the teacher. In addition, one group interview was conducted with 4 kindergarten students, 4 first-grade students, and 8 third-grade students. The three salient themes were: (a) relating students' knowledge and ideas to lessons to spark dispositions, (b) encouraging and facilitating students' inquiries and creative products, and (c) engaging students' metacognition in refining the quality of dance movement.

Key words: engagement of creative thinking, metacognition

Since McBride (1991) proposed the critical thinking framework in the psychomotor domain, scholars and physical education teachers have explored the possibilities of incorporating critical thinking theory into physical education teaching practices (Cleland & Pearse, 1995; Ennis, 1991; McBride & Cleland, 1998). This insightful exploration helps teachers and researchers recognize that physical education settings could potentially provide unique opportunities for fostering students' critical thinking skills. Engaging students' critical thinking skills in learning movement content is instrumental for helping them gain a deeper understanding of content and develop their cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains holistically. Accordingly, promoting students' critical thinking skills has been documented as a primary objective in teaching physical education (National Association for Sport and Physical Education, 1995).

Scholars have thoroughly examined the nature of critical thinking. Ennis (1987) defined critical thinking as "reasonable and reflective thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or do" (p. 10). Lipman (1988) viewed critical thinking as skillful and responsible thinking that helps students make good decisions by considering parameters such as criteria, self, and context. McBride (1991) proposed that critical thinking in physical education is "reflective thinking that is used to make reasonable and defensible decisions about movement tasks or challenges" (p. 115). Despite different definitions, it is agreed that critical thinking involves dispositions, creative thinking, problem solving, decision making, and metacognition (Ennis, 1987; McBride, 1991; Tishman & Perkins, 1995).

Dispositions involve people's affective desire, inclination, and urge to develop open, alert, and flexible attitudes toward the world and others and to use critical thinking abilities (Ennis, 1987; Tishman & Perkins, 1995). Creative thinking is referred to the production of novelty (Perkins, 1991). The creative acts, such as thinking broadly, striving for originality, working at the edge, and taking intellectual risk, are important components reflected in the flow of critical thinking (Ennis, 1987; Tishman & Perkins, 1995). Problem solving is defined as "using basic thinking processes to resolve a known or defined difficulty" (Presseisen, 1991, p. 58). Decision making involves choosing the best alternative by comparing advantages of possible solutions, judging the most effective decision, and justifying that decision, if needed (Presseisen, 1991). Metacognition is characterized as being aware of one's own thinking; self-controlling one's beliefs, attitudes, and commitment to tasks; and self-monitoring one's planning, cognitive actions, and evaluations of tasks (Ennis, 1987; McBride, 1991; Presseisen, 1991). These distinct but mutually related dimensions are associated with each other and work together in practice (Ennis, 1987).

To promote students' use of critical thinking skills in learning, we must view students as active and self-regulated constructors of knowledge, which reflects a constructivist view of learning (Cobb, 1994a, 1994b; Ennis, 1987; McBride, 1991). …

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