Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

An Investigation of Students' Meaningful Causal Thinking Abilities in Terms of Academic Achievement, Reading Comprehension and Gender

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

An Investigation of Students' Meaningful Causal Thinking Abilities in Terms of Academic Achievement, Reading Comprehension and Gender

Article excerpt

Abstract

The main purpose of this study is to investigate whether students' meaningful causal thinking abilities vary with their academic achievement levels, reading comprehension abilities, and gender. The sample of the study consisted of 124 ninth grade students attending a secondary school in Adana City Seyhan District during 2008-2009 academic year. The Meaningful Causal Thinking Evaluation Test, the Biology Academic Achievement Test, and the Reading Comprehension Test (IOWA) were used to collect the data. The study documents significant relationships between meaningful causal thinking and academic achievement, and between meaningful causal thinking and reading comprehension. On the other hand, no significant difference is found between male and female students' meaningful causal thinking abilities. It is concluded that students' academic achievement levels and reading comprehension scores are significant predictors of their meaningful causal thinking ability, but their gender is not. An individual carries all these characteristics in the same cognitive structure and probably uses them in coordination when he/she needs. Therefore, educational activities can be designed based on the relationship between meaningful causal thinking and academic achievement, and between meaningful causal thinking and reading comprehension.

Key Words

Meaningful Causal Thinking, Academic Achievement, Reading Comprehension, Gender, Biology Lesson.

Individual that thinks effectively and has awareness of his thinking process always searches for a meaning throughout his life. During this search, he questions the events surrounding him and his behaviors. He tends to set up his life around meaningful things and lives according to internalized meanings (Berkant, 2007).

Many thinking activities exist in thinking processes such as causal thinking, critical thinking, logical thinking, intuitive thinking, analytic thinking, scientific thinking, and etc. These thinking activities emerge as a result of innate biological characteristics supported and improved by teaching activities. Therefore, teaching activities should be designed in a way that support students to interpret and especially give personal meanings to the events and facts during the development of their thinking abilities. Common experiences are provided for all students in a learning environment. However, each student has different perceptions about this learning environment and knowledge units, and derives different meanings from these perceptions, because they differ from each other in terms of socio-cultural backgrounds, cognitive, affective and psychomotor readiness, and brain functions (Berkant, 2007).

Causal thinking processes, including meaning dimension, that are experienced by students may be affected by various factors. Following this argument, students' meaningful causal thinking processes may be related to their academic achievements, reading comprehensions, and gender. This study may provide a different perspective on learning processes by investigating whether such relations exist.

Meaningful Causal Thinking

Assigning meaning to information is essential for our learning process. During this process, we resist to learn information that is not compatible with our meaning structures. Besides, we strongly need to comprehend our experiences. According to Mezirow, we try to have functional viewpoints within the boundaries of our meaning structures (Fear et al., 2003).

Kegan reports that, meaning occurs in a zone between the fact and the individual's reaction to this fact. Kegan defines this zone as the zone of mediation. The zone of mediation is a place where a fact occurs and has a meaning for the individual. Being an individual and assigning a meaning are the same things. When we fail to assign meanings, we cannot have experiences, ideas, and perceptions (Ignelzi, 2000).

In this context, meaning is the basic concept of human psychology. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.