The purpose of the research is a structural study of the conceptual system of “critical thinking” and possible ways of developing this quality in students of higher pedagogical educational institutions.
The following research methods were used in the study: test, description and analytical method.
As a result of the study, the essence and structure of critical thinking of future teachers were substantiated. The research presents a generalised definition of the essence of the category “critical thinking”, and identifies the vertical and horizontal structure of critical thinking, and its structural and substructural components. The leading provisions of the value-semantic paradigm in the system of higher education are presented in detail, including the scientific foundation of the value-semantic paradigm, understanding of professional training, the position of the personality of the future teacher as a social being, which is considered in a particular socio-cultural environment, in relations with others, free choice of the student from the potentially possible in the educational environment of higher education institutions. The study of the level of critical thinking of students of the National Pedagogical Dragomanov University is presented in the research. The results of the research demonstrated a high level of critical thinking of students of pedagogical specialities at the elementary, reproductive and constructive levels of critical thinking, however, the productive and creative level is equally low for all four courses of future teachers.
The results of the research can be used by scientists and educators who explore the issue of critical thinking.
Keywords: Knowledge acquisition, methods of teaching, educational process, professional training, critical thinking