Juhari, Mohamed Shamsuri (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This thesis documents the researcher’s exploratory investigation into the effectiveness of community learning programmes, run primarily by local social welfare organizations, in building up the critical thinking capacities of Malay-Muslim youths in Singapore. The premise is that a lack of critical thinking competencies among members of the Malay-Muslim community at large has contributed to the many problems that they are currently facing such as negative stereotyping, the lag in educational attainment and the inability to match the socio-economic progress achieved by the other ethnic groups in the country. Essentially, this research points to such issues as resulting from the prevalence of negative mental models within the Malay worldview. Underpinned by an eclectic research framework based on the theories of Freire, Giddens and Bourdieu, the study begins by seeking Malay-Muslim youths’ perceptions of issues facing their community. However, what is more crucial is that it asks these youths to relate their personal experiences in participating in the activities conducted by these organisations and how they subsequently were, or were not, ‘conscientised’. The research sees such effects as an indication of capacity building for critical thinking. Based on the participants’ responses, this study has identified five experiential categories which, when encountered by the youths, played a role in conscientising and subsequently building up their capacities for thinking critically of themselves and their community. The findings of the research will now be shared with all relevant parties interested in such issues. Several recommendations have also been subsequently formulated.
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