Academic journal article International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education

The Effects of Using Concept Cartoons in Astronomy Subjects on Critical Thinking Skills among Seventh Grade Student *

Academic journal article International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education

The Effects of Using Concept Cartoons in Astronomy Subjects on Critical Thinking Skills among Seventh Grade Student *

Article excerpt

Introduction

Astronomy is a field of science that gives us historical information about humankind and data on the structure and history of the universe in order to understand what kind of a future the universe will have, as well as the phenomena taking place in the sky. In short, it is a field of science that is interested in every foundation stone of the universe, from the smallest to the biggest. As one of the oldest sciences, astronomy offers individuals scientific thinking skills and plays a role in their capacity to make judgements about the universe (Ministry of Education [MoNE], 2010). Astronomy enables human beings to understand the universe. It is necessary for human beings to make deductions about events and phenomena by using the information they have, their logic, scientific methods and critical thinking skills in order to be able to gather scientifically acceptable information about the world and they universe they live in. It is especially important for individuals to use critical thinking skills in order to be able to find out which of the existing assertions available to believe in.

Ennis (1985, p. 45) defined critical thinking as "reasonable and reflective thinking which focuses on what one believes in or what to do". Evancho (2000) defined critical thinking as the ability of "the individual to make analytic and assessment-oriented conscious judgments and express these judgments to reach a decision as to that s/he shall do or believe" (quoted in Seferoğlu & Akbıyık, 2006: 195).

According to Ennis (1991), critical thinking includes the following features:

1. Clarity: disposition to being clear about the meaning of what is expressed or written

2. Focus: disposition to finding out and continuing to focus on the question or the result

3. Total situation: disposition to consider the situation in all its aspects

4. Reasons: disposition to look for and present reasons to justify logical reasoning

5. Trying to be well informed: disposition to present proof about a subject

6. Alternatives: disposition to look for different ways to understand a situation

7. Precision: disposition to try to obtain definite information to the extent permitted by the subject

8. Self-awareness: disposition to try to be self-aware about each of one's primary needs

9. Open-mindedness, disposition to be open-minded by thinking of different perspectives other than one's own

10. Caution: disposition to refrain from making an important judgement when evidence and reason are not sufficient

11. Non-scepticism: disposition to have a position or change it when evidence and reasons are sufficient

12. Using one's abilities: disposition to foster and use critical thinking skills

According to educational philosophy, critical thinking is an indispensable part of education, rather than simply being another option (Norris, 1985). Today, around the world, it is widely accepted that a society that is not dominated by critical thinking cannot be a developed society (Aybek, 2007). As the future leaders or decision makers in our society, today's students should be able to think openly, with a sceptical and questioning attitude when deciding on social problems, while being able to assess the arguments of an issue critically and reach healthy decisions (Tümay & Köseoğlu, 2011).

Critical thinking enables students to synthesize, analyse and assess students' thoughts, beliefs and actions in order to guide them better. Critical thinking has become both a result and a necessity for human beings who are experiencing fast changes and who need and desire to predict the future and prepare for it ideationally (Aybek, 2007).

Besides, critical thinking and critical thinking skills can be earned and can be developed through education (Schafersman, 1991). Today, critical thinking, which is at the forefront of learning and teaching thinking skills, is an important factor in terms of increasing students' academic achievement, encouraging them to produce information, enabling them to learn by being less dependent on textbooks and teachers, helping them to assess social structures and encouraging them to change these structures (Anonymous, 2016). …

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