By María Isabel Mata Monge - School of Education Student

As a teacher, has it happened to you that when asking students questions during a class the typical answers are “yes”, “no”, “it depends”, “maybe”, “I agree”? In fact, when asking teachers questions during a training, answers are not far from what students answer. “The fact that teacher candidates do not possess critical thinking skills affects their problem-solving skills adversely, which, in turn, inactivates the teachers in organizing learning experiences” (Demirbag, Unisen and Yesilyurt, 2016, p. 377); thus, the learning process is hampered.

Disruptive and Augmented Teacher Thinking is an approach to teacher trainer that aids educators in the role of innovating education and breaking the normal paradigm (disruption) by promoting critical thinking among students. Critical thinking is no longer the exception rather than the rule since “professional critical thinking is an indispensable requirement for the development of teacher professional competences, which enables a student to become efficient and successful” (Afanasjeva, Vozgava, Fedotova, and Simirnova, 2020, p. 69).
Some experts such as Emadian, Gholami, and Sarkhosh (2018) argued that in designing a teacher training course, “the focus of the course designed for content instructors must be on new methods of teaching vocabulary and teaching the four skills” (p. 151). Although I agree that professional development should focus on new methods and teaching the skills, not all methods lead to disruptive education neither should the emphasis be on merely teaching skills. According to Surubaru and Isoc (2019), disruption does not happen in normal educational systems because of: “a) lack of training of trainers, b) lack of information; c) preconceived ideas from both instructors and students; d) time constraints” (p. 14). Hence, for innovation to take place, professional development programs must be augmented by complementing subject-specific content with a disruptive approach to education such as critical thinking.

In addition to what Surubary and Isoc stated, I want to add that there is a lack of reflective practices among teachers. Reflecting teaching “includes thinking and rethinking about one’s performance before, during and after class activities” (Zahid and Khanam, 2019, p. 33). To augment teacher thinking, it is essential that in educator training “teachers are expected to plan learning well to train students' critical thinking skills” (Erna and Dewi, 2021. p.40). This goal is achievable if the principle underlying professional development is based on critical thinking and the implementation of reflective practices.

Conversely, for some people critical thinking may be confused with criticality. However, the first term results in helping “teachers to think and make decisions related to teaching and the learning process” (Volungeviciene, Duart, Naujokaitiene, Tamoliune, and Misiuliene, 2019, p. 12); whereas the second results in being opinionated without actionable data. A study about the effects of reflective teaching practices carried out by Töman (2017) showed that “improvement in the reflective thinking skills has created awareness in the pre-service teachers about their professional development for the next teaching practices” (p. 237). So, I strongly believe that thinking is a skill that can be taught and developed through practice, and that is exactly what reflective teaching does. In this way, reflective practices as a pillar for teacher training will augment and disrupt teacher thinking.

Since the past year, education has been suffering an abrupt transformation; thus, by redirecting such disruption towards critical thinking and reflective teaching practices, professional development programs will enhance the students’ learning process as well as the teachers’ professional growth. If we use these two approaches in teacher training, “critical service learning (a) takes a social change orientation, (b) works to redistribute power, and (c) seeks to develop authentic relationships” (Jones and Kises, 2014, p. 147). Consequently, the backbone of disruptive education should be based on augmenting teacher thinking, this means assisting teachers to reflect about their pedagogical mediation and provide them with tools to develop that critical thinking among students. As Cooper (2018) best stated “the production of a critical mind that is capable of questioning, wondering, and doubting is a mind that never ceases to grow or evolve” (p. 42).


MOXIE es el Canal de ULACIT (, producido por y para los estudiantes universitarios, en alianza con el medio periodístico independiente, con el propósito de brindarles un espacio para generar y difundir sus ideas.  Se llama Moxie - que en inglés urbano significa tener la capacidad de enfrentar las dificultades con inteligencia, audacia y valentía - en honor a nuestros alumnos, cuyo “moxie” los caracteriza.

References List:
  • Afanasjeva, O., Vozgova, Z., Fedotova, M., & Smirnova, M. (2020). Critical thinking and teacher training development. Revista Espacios, 41(9), 64–71.
  • Cooper, T. (2018). Toward a Creative Criticality: Revisiting Critical Thinking. Integral Leadership Review, 18(1), 41–48.
  • Demirbag, B., Unisen, A., & Yesilyurt, A. (2016). Training of Critical Thinking Skills in Teacher Candidates and Placebo Effect: A Quasi-Experimental Study. Eurasian Journal of Educational Research, 63, 375–392.
  • Emadian, F., Gholami, J., & Sarkhosh, M. (2018). Towards a Sustainable Curriculum for ESAP Teacher Training Program: A Profile of ESAP Content Specialists’ vs. Language Instructors’ Needs. Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability, 20(2), 139–157.
  • Erna, M., & Dewi, C. A. (2021). The Development of E-Worksheet Using Kvisoft Flipbook Maker Software Based on Lesson Study to Improve Teacher’s Critical Thinking Ability. International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies, 15(1), 39–55.
  • Jones, A. L., & Kiser, P. M. (2014). Conceptualizing Criticality as a Guiding Principle for High Quality Academic Service Learning. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 26(1), 147–156.
  • Surubaru, T., & Isoc, D. (2019). Cybernetics and Precursors of Promoting Critical Thinking--A Way to Change the School. International Association for Development of the Information Society.
  • Töman, U. (2017). Investigation of Reflective Teaching Practice Effect on Training Development Skills of the Pre-Service Teachers. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 5(6), 232–239.
  • Volungeviciene, A., Duart, J. M., Naujokaitiene, J., Tamoliune, G., & Rita Misiuliene. (2019). Learning Analytics: Learning to Think and Make Decisions. Journal of Educators Online, 16(2).
  • Zahid, M., & Khanam, A. (2019). Effect of Reflective Teaching Practices on the Performance of Prospective Teachers. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology - TOJET, 18(1), 32–43.