Problem Statement: The economic and social changes in the 21st century have wide-ranging consequences for education systems. To acquire necessary competencies, what learners need most is to learn to learn by reflecting critically on their learning aims. To provide this kind of learning experience, teacher education curricula should be revised to promote critical thinking (CT).
Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study is to investigate current teacher education curricula based on pre-service teachers’ ideas about the development of CT skills (CTS). In order to fulfill that aim, courses in the curricula, teaching methods, evaluation and assessment methods, and the roles played by teachers were analyzed.
Methods:In this study, a qualitative research design was used. 44 participants were selected using a purposive sampling method from the senior classes of different departments in the Faculty of Education. Three main questions including the three components of curricula (content, methods, and evaluation) were directed to the students. The students’ answers compelled researchers add “the role of the teacher” to the entire process. Data were analyzed using a constant comparative method.
Results: Students think that professional courses and elective courses are more effective than courses solely on their discipline. Participants also think that courses on art, media, and philosophy should be integrated into the current curriculum. In terms of teaching methods, student-centered methods as well as teacher-centered methods can be effective in developing students’ CTS if they are used properly/effectively. However, the results of the study show that whatever method is used, the most important factor in developing CTS is the role/attitude of the teacher.
Conclusions and Recommendations: The results of this study reveal that teacher education curricula should be enriched with interdisciplinary courses. Further studies should be done including primary and secondary education teachers and teacher trainers in order to provide data for developing teacher education curricula.
Keywords: Developing skills, thinking, critical thinking, teacher training, teacher education curricula