An Analysis of the Units “I’m Learning my Past” and “The Place where We Live” in the Social Studies Textbook Related to Critical Thinking Standards

Birsel AYBEK* Serkan ASLAN**

  • Dr. Cukurova University, Adana.
    **Ministry of Education, Elazıg.
    DOI: 10.14689/ejer.2016.65.03


Problem Statement: Various research have been conducted investigating the quality and quantity of textbooks such as wording, content, design, visuality, physical properties, activities, methods and techniques, questions and experiments, events, misconceptions, organizations, pictures, text selection, end of unit questions and assessments, indexes and glossaries, scientific content, readability, suitability for the target age group, and the opinions of teachers and students about specific textbooks. A literature review identified that no research has been carried out on social studies textbooks that has analyzed these textbooks in accordance with the standards of critical thinking. Therefore it was determined that such a study needed to be performed. With this study, it is thought that the standards of critical thinking should be considered when preparing textbooks in order to draw the attention of the authors so that the quality of textbooks will increase.

Purpose of the Study: The aim of the current study is to analyze the units “I am learning my past and the place where we live” in the primary education fourth grade social studies textbook, in accordance with the standards of critical thinking.

Method: A qualitative research model was used in the study. Data was collected through document analysis. Themes were formed within the framework of critical thinking standards (i.e., clarity, accuracy, significance/relevance, sufficiency, breadth/depth, precision) regarding the social studies textbook. Descriptive analysis was used to analyze the data.

Findings and Conclusion: According to the findings, the activities in the textbook meet critical thinking standards of clarity, accuracy, significance/relevance, sufficiency standards at a high rate, and partially meet the standards for breadth/depth and precision.

Recommendations: Arranging the activities in social studies textbooks so as to develop critical thinking skills will contribute to the development of higher level thinking skills of the students, which is one of the main objectives of education. The quality of education will improve provided that social studies textbooks are prepared according to the standards of critical thinking. Textbooks should be meticulously prepared by publishers. The preparation of social studies textbooks not only by the experts but also by other experts(e.g., program development specialist, field specialists from university, branch teachers, educational psychologists, etc.) to facilitate student acquisition of critical thinking skills within the context of modern education mentality along with performing pilot scheme will contribute to the improvement and advance in education.

Keywords: Elementary school, education, thinking, critical thinking