The association of faculty's teaching philosophy and teaching behaviour, and critical thinking and self- direction in learning
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The intent in this study was to investigate in what ways teachers· beliefs about education and teaching are expressed in the specific teaching behaviours they employ, and whether teaching behaviours, as perceived by their students, are correlated with students· critical thinking and self-directed learning. To this end the relationships studied were: among faCUlty members· philosophy of teaching, locus of control orientation, psychological type, and observed teaching behaviour; and among students· psychological type, perceptions of teaching behaviour, self-directed learning readiness, and critical thinking. The overall purpose of the study was to investigate whether the implicit goals of higher education, critical thinking and self-direction, were actually accounted for in the university classroom. The research was set within the context of path-goal theory, adapted from the leadership literature. Within this framework, Mezirow·s work on transformative learning, including the influences of Habermas· writings, was integrated to develop a theoretical perspective upon which to base the research methodology. Both qualitative and quantitative methodologies were incorporated. Four faCUlty and a total of 142 students participated in the study. Philosophy of teaching was described through faCUlty interviews and completion of a repertory grid. Faculty completed a descriptive locus of control scale, and a psychological type test. Observations of their teaching behaviour were conducted. Students completed a Teaching Behaviour Assessment Scale, the Self-Directed Learning Readiness Scale, a psychological type test, and the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal. A small sample of students were interviewed. Follow-up discussions with faculty were used to validate the interview, observation, teaching behaviour, and repertory grid data. Results indicated that some discrepancies existed between faculty's espoused philosophy of teaching and their observed teaching behaviour. Instructors' teaching behaviour, however, was a function of their personal theory of practice. Relationships were found between perceived teaching behaviour and students· self-directed learning and critical thinking, but these varied across situations, as would be predicted from path-goal theory. Psychological type of students and instructor also accounted for some of the variability in the relationships studied. Student psychological type could be shown as a partial predictor of self-directed learning readiness. The results were discussed in terms of theory development and implications for further research and practice.