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The Effectiveness of an Argument-Based Inquiry Approach for Improving the Critical Thinking Skills of Elementary Students in Inclusive Classroom

  • Journal of Special Education: Theory and Practice
  • Abbr : JSPED
  • 2014, 15(2), pp.285-310
  • Publisher : Research Institute of the Korea Special Education
  • Research Area : Social Science > Education

Park, Yungkeun 1 Yong-Wook Kim 2

1University of Iowa
2대구대학교 한국특수교육문제연구소

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of an argumentbasedinquiry approach for improving the critical thinking skills of studentsin inclusive classroom including student with and without special needs. This study would also introduce the Science Writing Heuristic (SWH) as anargument-based inquiry approach. From forty-eight public elementaryschools in the American Midwest, twenty-four elementary schools weredesignated as the treatment group and the remaining as the control group. The students in the treatment group were immersed in a learning environmentwhere a strong emphasis was placed on argumentation, while those in thecontrol group learned science in a traditional manner. All students weregiven the Cornell Critical Thinking Test. The findings indicated that thosestudents who were in the argument-based inquiry approach (treatment group)scored higher than those who were in the traditional science classroom(control group). In specific, these students scored higher in the subcategoriesof critical thinking skills such as induction and observation. Thisapproach provided meaningful learning experiences through argumentation inthe science classroom, and would contribute to increase the critical thinkingskills of students in inclusive classroom including students with and withoutspecial needs in Korean elementary schools. In addition, it will promotethe educational inclusion of students who study in the inclusive classroomthrough educational interaction between students with special needs andstudents without special needs.

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