Evaluating the Teaching of Academic Debate and Critical Thinking Course at Iraqi Kurdistan Universities
The study is based on the assumption that the current curricula in the Iraqi Kurdistan Universities (henceforth IKU) were not satisfactorily compatible with the scientific, technological and industrial needs of the Region’s markets. These curricula neither help students to develop their skills nor assist them in thinking creatively. Therefore, the new curricula are supposed to educate undergraduates to increase their capabilities in research, information dissemination and learning a second/foreign language. The Academic Debate and Critical Thinking (ADCT) course was added to all freshmen programs in order to prepare them for university life and make them proficient cadre for their future occupation. This course helps students to be critical thinkers and effective communicators. Since the new version of this course has been implemented for four years, this study attempts to evaluate the course and find out how it is taught, how effective it is, what topics are studied, what activities are used, what types of assessment are employed and what are the main challenges that teachers and students face in dealing with this course. The sample of the study are the teachers of ADCT and the first year students in the English departments in both Colleges of Basic Education at Salahaddin University-Erbil and the University of Sulaimani in the academic year 2017-2018. Two questionnaires were prepared using Google Form. The students’ responses revealed that debating is focused on, general social problems are debated, academic posters are used more, and group work is dominating class activities. As for teachers’ responses, they think that the objectives of the course are clear and achievable, discussion and debating are mostly used, and the assessment system suggested by the textbook is used accurately except for poster design which some teachers do not teach.
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