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Impact of Teachers on Students

The impact of teachers on students has been described by Tomlinson-Keasey (1985) as follows:

Teachers have direct daily contact with students and turn school policies into classroom practices. Accordingly, teachers should be expected to play an important part in student achievement. Good teachers should prod students to achieve, and poor teachers should have less success. (p.593)

Because of the impact teachers have on student success it is important to conduct investigations of differences in teacher variables. It is only by knowing differences between teachers that there can be ongoing assessment of whether these differences contribute to differences in teachers' impacts on students' school and later career achievement.

The proposed study is an investigation of differences among teachers in the area of critical thinking skills instruction. Critical thinking was selected for evaluation because instruction in thinking skills has increasingly been cited as important to both education system success and academic excellence (Ediger, 1987). Thus, differences in teachers' views of what critical thinking is and how to teach it may have importance in terms of teachers' eventual impact on student success, influencing not only how well they learn these skills but use them in life.

Moreover, since a good deal of the existing work on teacher variables has shown teachers to differ depending upon whether they are elementary or secondary school teachers (Stone & Nielsen, 1982; Klausmeier, 1991), and since the cognitive development of students is lower in elementary school than it is in secondary school, it seems reasonable to examine whether teachers' views and opinions about critical thinking significantly differ depending upon whether teachers are elementary or secondary school teachers.

The purpose of the proposed study is to determine whether differences in teachers' attitudes, and opinions about critical thinking are signific...

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