Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines

Volume 25, Issue 1, Spring 2010

Critical Thinking and Disability in Higher Education

Juliann Mathis, Amy L. Skinner
Pages 29-38

Enhancing Pre-Service Students’ Learning and Thinking about Bipolar Disorder Via Lecturer Descriptions of Living with Mental Illness

Two lecture styles were examined to determine which was more effective for enhancing content learning in college students. The same experienced guest lecturer presented information about bipolar disorder (a combination of depression and mania) to college students in human service-related fields. Students in classes assigned to the control group received a standard, didactic lecture. In classes assigned to the experimental group, the presenter began the lecture by informing the students that she had bipolar disorder and enhanced the standard didactic lecture by interspersing descriptions of her personal experiences living with bipolar disorder. Content-specific pre-tests and post-tests developed by the researchers were used to compare acquisition of knowledge about the disorder across groups of students. Results showed that students who received the personal/experiential lecture acquired significantly more knowledge about bipolar disorder than did students who received the standard, didactic lecture. Theories and procedures that may enhance student learning and thinking in related areas are discussed.