Promoting Critical-Thinking Dispositions by Using Problem Solving in Middle School Mathematics

Lars F. Leader, James Middleton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This review of research generates principles for the design of instructional programs that foster critical-thinking dispositions. The dispositional aspect of critical thinking may be considered part of attitudinal memory, readily activated if sufficiently strong. We describe evidence suggesting that ill-structured problem-solving can provide middle schoolers with motivating activities that strengthen critical-thinking dispositions, thus fostering sensitivity to occasions for thinking critically and the inclination for engaging in such practices. The Jasper Series and Decision Making are reviewed as cases of programs for middle level mathematics learning that afford opportunities for ill-structured problem-solving activities that incorporate five important attitudestrengthening elements. Fazio (1995) identified these elements as direct experience, sensory experience, emotional reaction, freely chosen behavior, and attitude rehearsal. We describe how the design of the two mathematics programs incorporates attitude-strengthening elements that can potentially foster critical-thinking dispositions. Based on this review, we present a set of design principles to promote those dispositions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalRMLE Online
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Promoting Critical-Thinking Dispositions by Using Problem Solving in Middle School Mathematics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this