Major Research Project on Development and Validation of Tool on Critical Thinking Skills: An Evaluative Study of its Benefits for Institutional Leadership in India

Major Research Project on Development and Validation of Tool on Critical Thinking Skills: An Evaluative Study of its Benefits for Institutional Leadership in India

Dr S Srikanta Swamy

Additional Director- Centre for Research

CHRIST (Deemed to be University)

Bangalore – 560029

 

 

 

Abstract:

 

In any educational Institution, the head of the institution plays a vital role to achieve the goals and objectives of education. The head of the institution is expected to have a clear vision about the institution and work in that direction, keeping in mind his academic tasks and responsibilities. Apart from doing the tasks as per the planned curriculum, it is the creative outlook and critical thinking skills of the heads to contribute for appropriate decision making and effective functioning.

 

Critical thinking has become an important area of consideration in the process of education. It is the critical thinking that enhances educational leadership (Mao Yingshan, 2011, Sterblom 2010). To a large extent, critical thinking capabilities determine leadership capabilities. Through critical thinking, it is possible to judge or evaluate the quality of curriculum transaction and evaluation procedures. But the question is how to assess the critical thinking skills among the institutional heads? There are few tools available to measure the critical thinking skills of students and teachers (California Critical Thinking Dispositions Inventory, Watson- Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal ...etc). But seldom tools are available to measure the critical thinking skills of the head of the institutions of degree colleges. This felt need motivated the investigator to develop a Tool on Critical Thinking Skills (TOCTS) based on certain components. Standardization procedures are also followed while developing the tool.

 

Critical thinking skills, along with Institutional Leadership of the heads of Institution help for optimum utilization of human and financial resources. An institutional head using critical thinking skills and good leadership behavior will be able to solve many academic problems and take correct decisions. There are several types of leadership and leadership styles. In the field of education, Institutional Leadership is very important and often referred to assessing authorities.

 

According to John Adail (2011), there are three broad and converging approaches to the understanding of Leadership namely; Qualities (what you are); Situational (what you know) and Functional (what you do). All the three should blend together. An institutional leader is expected to have all these approaches. But the question is, how to asses these qualities among institutional leaders? What are the components or dimensions to be included to assess institutional leader behavior? Are there any specific tools available? Some of these questions inspired the investigator to develop the Institutional leadership behavior Scale (ILBS). The two tools developed by the investigator namely; Tools of Critical Thinking Skills and Institutional Leadership behavior scale were administered to 210 heads of institutions

selected from five states namely: Delhi, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

 

The main objectives of this study are:

 

1. To develop a tool to measure the critical thinking skills of heads of institutions.

2. To find out whether gender, levels of headship, experience, educational qualification, types of institution and regions have any influence on Critical Thinking Skills.

3. To develop a tool to measure Institutional Leadership of heads of institutions.

4. To evaluate the benefits of Critical Thinking Skills on the Institutional leadership.

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5. To find out if variation exists with respect to Institutional Leadership among gender, levels of headship, experience, educational qualification, types of institution and regions.

The variables considered in this study are; gender, levels of headship, experience, educational experience, type of institution and region. Hypotheses are also framed based on these variables. These hypotheses were tested using Anova, t-test correlation techniques. SPSS is used to analyze the data.

 

The major findings of the study are:

 

1. The critical thinking skills dimension did not significantly differ across the gender. However, across the educational qualification, there is a significant difference.

2. There is no significant difference across the levels of headship. However, private institution heads demonstrated significantly higher level of critical thinking skills.

3. There is a significant difference in the critical thinking skills across the regions.

4. Institutional leadership behavior does not differ significantly across gender, educational qualification. However, across the levels of headship and years of experience, there is a significant difference

5. Institutional leadership significantly varies across the regions

6. There is a low but negative correlation between critical thinking skills and institutional leadership (not in accordance with Godzyk and Karen 2008, Rickets, 2005)

 

Some of the findings of this study had to be tested through further research. The above findings will have policy implications in higher education and leads to the following recommendations.

Recommendations

 

1. Intensive training in critical thinking skills and Institutional Leadership by the Academic Staff College, Administrative Institutes and state higher education council.

2. The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) can insist on the training and assessment of Institutional Leadership during their visit and proper weightage can be given accordingly.

3. Higher education institutions and colleges can conduct more orientation and training programmes on Critical thinking skills and Institutional leadership by taking financial assistance under the RUSA scheme.

 

4. Collaborative programmes can be organized among different levels of headship across regions.

 

Year of Publication: June 2014

ISBN:    978-93-82305-40-8

Major Research Project : Vol 3

Pages :    xiv, 138

Price: available on request

Funded by Centre for Research-Projects-CHRIST (Deemed to be University)

Published by Centre for Publications, CHRIST (Deemed to be University)