Science for Education Today, 2023, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 53–75
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Developing system thinking skills in education students by means of cognitive mapping strategy

Druzhinina A. A. 1 (Tambov, Russian Federation), Garashkina N. V. 2 (Moscow region, Mytishchi, Russian Federation)
1 Tambov State University named after G.R. Derzhavin
2 State University of Education

Introduction. The article is devoted to the problem of developing Education undergraduates’ system thinking skills through cognitive mapping. The purpose of the article is to identify the specifics of the development of system thinking skills in Education undergraduates by means of cognitive mapping strategy.
Materials and Methods. The study follows competence-based, systemic and activity-based approaches to teaching Education students. The authors used a set of theoretical (analysis, synthesis, reviewing scholarly publications) and empirical methods. The empirical research was conducted as a formative teaching experiment (action research). The empirical data were analyzed and summarized. The sample consisted of 186 Education students (State University of Education, Tambov State University named after G. R. Derzhavin). In order to verify the research findings, the authors developed and used a system thinking skills scale and A. V. Panova and M. A. Fedorova’s system thinking assessment inventory. In order to assess system thinking skills, the authors selected a set of criteria based on the analysis of R. A. Excelsa, G. K. Semiz and G. Teksoz’s studies. The Mann-Whitney U-test was used to determine the reliability of the reported statistics and the accuracy of the results.
Results. Based on the analysis of theoretical studies and successful educational practices, the authors clarified the concept of developing the skills of systemic thinking in Education students, identified the specifics of this process on the basis of a formative experiment on the implementation of cognitive mapping strategy (setting the goal; choosing a topic for mapping; collecting information; preparing materials; definition of key terms; creation of the first level of the cognitive map; adding additional levels; analysis and evaluation; preparation for use; editing and updating). Summarizing theoretical and empirical data, the authors developed and justified diagnostic tools for measuring students’ system thinking skills (role levels include pre-aware; developing; developer and master), and identified the level of system thinking skills in future teachers. The study has proved the effectiveness of the purposeful development of system thinking skills in Education students by means of cognitive mapping strategy.
Conclusions. The article concludes about the effectiveness of developing systemic thinking skills in Education students through cognitive mapping strategy. Research findings on the level students’ system thinking skills are summarized.


Systems thinking; Systems thinking skills; Cognitive mapping; Cognitive maps; Initial teacher education; Didactic strategy

For citation:
Druzhinina A. A., Garashkina N. V. Developing system thinking skills in education students by means of cognitive mapping strategy. Science for Education Today, 2023, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 53–75. DOI:
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Date of the publication 31.08.2023