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Critical Thinking in Syrian Secondary School History Education

Heinrich, Isaac LU (2011) ARAK01 20091
Arabic Studies
Abstract
Despite much research on the socioeconomic effects of public education in the Middle East
and Northern Africa (MENA) region, few studies have been made that investigate the
qualitative dimensions of these countries’ national education systems, modes of instruction,
and educational materials. Knowledge- and skills attainment should be at the core of such
research, as well as the sociocultural, historic and political implications of education. Syria is
a case in point.

A previous, tentative study by the author pointed towards a lack of classroom discussions and
analytical exercise in Syrian primary and secondary education. This stresses the need for
textbooks to provide for analytical skills training in a balanced and creative way.... (More)
Despite much research on the socioeconomic effects of public education in the Middle East
and Northern Africa (MENA) region, few studies have been made that investigate the
qualitative dimensions of these countries’ national education systems, modes of instruction,
and educational materials. Knowledge- and skills attainment should be at the core of such
research, as well as the sociocultural, historic and political implications of education. Syria is
a case in point.

A previous, tentative study by the author pointed towards a lack of classroom discussions and
analytical exercise in Syrian primary and secondary education. This stresses the need for
textbooks to provide for analytical skills training in a balanced and creative way.

The objective of this essay is to qualitatively evaluate a Syrian history textbook’s rationale for
promoting critical thinking among students, focusing on the structure and content of the
material. Using a grounded theory method, it is at once a descriptive and exploratory study of
a Syrian schoolbook and, as such, may add to knowledge on education in the Middle East
more broadly.

The study concludes that neither the textbook’s structure nor content is conducive to critical
thinking because it does not equip students with the necessary tools for developing thinking
that is clear, inquisitive, balanced and self-aware. Rather, the worldview presented in the
textbook is a subjective account that focuses on victimization of the own ethos and projecting
enemy images onto historic rivals, past and present, and the textbook leaves little room for
alternative views.

The findings of the research may be informative to the link between public education and
regime stability in MENA countries such as Syria, Iraq, Egypt or Libya. Such research would
indeed be relevant today as these countries may be forced to restructure their education
systems thoroughly in the face of late political upheaval. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Heinrich, Isaac LU
supervisor
organization
course
ARAK01 20091
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
Historical narratives, Syria, Critical Thinking, Education, Grounded Theory, Secondary schools
language
English
id
2172250
date added to LUP
2011-10-05 15:51:57
date last changed
2011-10-05 15:51:57
@misc{2172250,
  abstract     = {Despite much research on the socioeconomic effects of public education in the Middle East
and Northern Africa (MENA) region, few studies have been made that investigate the
qualitative dimensions of these countries’ national education systems, modes of instruction,
and educational materials. Knowledge- and skills attainment should be at the core of such
research, as well as the sociocultural, historic and political implications of education. Syria is
a case in point.

A previous, tentative study by the author pointed towards a lack of classroom discussions and
analytical exercise in Syrian primary and secondary education. This stresses the need for
textbooks to provide for analytical skills training in a balanced and creative way.

The objective of this essay is to qualitatively evaluate a Syrian history textbook’s rationale for
promoting critical thinking among students, focusing on the structure and content of the
material. Using a grounded theory method, it is at once a descriptive and exploratory study of
a Syrian schoolbook and, as such, may add to knowledge on education in the Middle East
more broadly.

The study concludes that neither the textbook’s structure nor content is conducive to critical
thinking because it does not equip students with the necessary tools for developing thinking
that is clear, inquisitive, balanced and self-aware. Rather, the worldview presented in the
textbook is a subjective account that focuses on victimization of the own ethos and projecting
enemy images onto historic rivals, past and present, and the textbook leaves little room for
alternative views.

The findings of the research may be informative to the link between public education and
regime stability in MENA countries such as Syria, Iraq, Egypt or Libya. Such research would
indeed be relevant today as these countries may be forced to restructure their education
systems thoroughly in the face of late political upheaval.},
  author       = {Heinrich, Isaac},
  keyword      = {Historical narratives,Syria,Critical Thinking,Education,Grounded Theory,Secondary schools},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Critical Thinking in Syrian Secondary School History Education},
  year         = {2011},
}