Dr.: European University of Lefke, Dr. Fazıl Küçük Faculty of Education, Lefke, Northern Cyprus, Mersin 10, Turkey.
Problem Statement: The main function of education is to prepare individuals for life. In this context, education aims to equip individuals throughout the different stages of education, where most of the time individuals learn how they should behave, as well as how to manage problems with effective problem-solving and critical thinking skills. The educational process used to develop critical thinking in teacher candidates is known to be important for the preparation of educational environments; many studies have identified that a large proportion of what teachers teach is what they have learned (Beşoluk & Önder, 2010). Therefore, it is important to determine trends in the development of teaching candidates’ critical thinking skills and to address these features in the process of teaching and learning.
Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study is to analyze the level of teacher candidates’ critical thinking skills and to determine whether there is a significant difference in their critical thinking skills in terms of teacher candidates’ institutions, gender, and class, and their frequency of reading humor magazines.
Methods: The present research used a descriptive kind of general survey model with a quantitative method. Widely used, the descriptive approach aims to identify the condition of interest. Survey models refer to research approaches that aim to describe past or existing situations. The situation, event, individual, or object related to the study is used to determine their terms (Karasar, 2009).
Findings and Results: As a result of the study, it was found that teacher candidates’ critical thinking skills displayed significant differences in sensibility of critical thinking skills, consciousness, empathy, adoption, and assumptions in terms of their institutions; and in sensibility, consciousness, empathy, adoption, critical thinking about media and critical thinking skills in terms of gender; however, there was no significant difference found in assumptions in critical thinking and common sense in critical thinking. In general, the findings show that female teacher candidates’ critical thinking skills are at a higher level than those of male teacher candidates.
Conclusion and Recommendations: Analyzing the results of the article with the results of the available research, first-year candidates’ critical thinking skills are at a very low level, and critical thinking skills increase as candidates progress in upper classes and semesters.
On the basis of the results of this study, the following recommendation for future research can be made: All teacher-training institutions can provide required or elective courses to be added to their programs for training teacher candidates who are currently enrolled with “medium” levels of critical thinking skills and those in their first-year classes with the lowest level, considering the fact that there is a gradual increase in such skills in the upper classes.
Keywords: Teacher training academy, education faculty, teacher candidates, critical thinking skills.