Date of Award
Master of Science
Agricultural Education and Studies
Thomas H. Paulsen
The purpose of this thesis was to explore the critical thinking demonstrated within student teacher blog posts as student teachers discussed and reflected in an online community of practice during their student teaching experiences, and to determine the critical thinking demonstrated within student teaching blog posts as the blog posts related to the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) standards. The objectives of the thesis were to: (1) determine the frequency and the average level of critical thinking exhibited by Iowa State University agricultural education student teachers’ reflections through blog posts in an electronic community of practice, (2) determine the relationship, if any, between the number of blogs posted by each student teacher and the average level of critical thinking displayed by student teachers within the blog posts, (3) determine the frequency in which student teacher blog posts related to the ten InTASC standards, and (4) determine the relationship, if any, between the average level of critical thinking displayed within student teacher blog posts and the frequency with which those blog posts related to the InTASC standards.
Twenty-one agricultural education student teachers at Iowa State University comprised the convenience sample during the fall of 2013 and spring 2014. Provisional coding and simultaneous coding were utilized to analyze student teacher blog posts; frequencies, percentages, and Spearman’s rho were calculated.
Overall, student teacher blog posts were at the lower-order levels of critical thinking. Student teachers did not utilize blogging and the community of practice in a manner that has recently been researched to enhance critical thinking skills. There was no relationship between the number of blog posts a student teacher posted and that student teacher’s average level of critical thinking. Student teachers’ blog posts most often related to Professional Development and Ethical Practices and related to Content Knowledge least often. The average level of critical thinking demonstrated per InTASC standard decreased with an increase in the number of blog posts that related to that standard.
It is recommended that the University supervisors continue to facilitate student teachers throughout the student teaching experience. University supervisors should incorporate rubrics and question prompts to assist as student teachers provide meaningful feedback to their peers and develop critical thinking skills. It is also important to gain student teachers’ perspectives when coding to ensure that the researcher is coding consistently with student teachers’ blog posts discussions in a community of practice. A weekly focus group would help ensure truthful, rich data. Finally, it is recommended that further research be done to add to the baseline results obtained in this study.
Taylorann Kalin Clark
Clark, Taylorann Kalin, "Analyzing agricultural education student teachers' critical thinking skills through blogs in an online community of practice" (2015). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 14667.