ABSTRACT

To progress beyond this current state of affairs, two tasks must be undertaken. First, we must assess the current state of the theoretical and empirical literature with reference to the role of cooperative learning as a tool for the advancement of critical thinking in the secondary schools. Second, working with that preliminary knowledge, we must develop and test cooperative learning strategies which show promise for advancing critical thinking in the disciplines and programs that exist within the secondary program. The purpose of this chapter is twofold:to review the current theoretical and empirical literature on cooperative learning as a vehicle for advancing the goal of critical thinking and to make recommendations for further research and instructional practice in the secondary schools. Four questions will be addressed. First, what is the current state of the theoretical literature with reference to utilizing cooperative learning methods for the development of critical thinking? Second, what evidence is there that cooperative learning can be used to promote critical thinking? Third, what research is needed to improve the effectiveness of cooperative learning in educating for critical thinking? Fourth, what are the implications for instructional practice? This chapter opens with a brief discussion of the conflicting definitions of critical thinking followed by a short review of the evolution of critical thinking in the cooperative learning literature. Next, a review of the theoretical and empirical literature on cooperative learning and critical thinking is presented. This chapter closes with a

discussion of needed research, issues to be addressed, and the implications for future instructional practice for the secondary schools.