Purpose - This study follows a previous one based on a comparison of styles of thinking among university students from two Italian regions with substantial socio-economical and cultural differences (Sofo, Berzins, Colapinto & Ammirato, 2009). This paper explores whether university students at some European universities report markedly different thinking style preferences from each other. A sample of students from two universities of Western Finland were surveyed using the Thinking Style Inventory (TSI) (Sofo, 2008); statistical results have been analysed and compared with the data from the two Italian samples in the 2009 study. Design/methodology/approach - The TSI approach is useful to identifying differences in thinking styles. The paper explores possible connections between thinking style and established different economic and socio-cultural variables. The TSI measures preferences for stylistic aspects of intellectual functioning and is based on the theory of reality construction (Sofo, 2008) whereby people create their own realities through their ways of thinking. A sample of total 624 European university students from Italy and Finland was tested and compared. The fifty items on the TSI require respondents to assess their ways of thinking using a likert-scale. To verify reliability and consistency of the TSI instrument, reported data have been studied calculating the Cronbach alpha coefficient. Originality/value - This paper presents new results of a study which is the first of a kind in comparing thinking styles of students coming from three different EU regions. Over the past few decades, researchers have hypothesized that difference in socio-economic status impacts on thinking style. However our previous study (Sofo et al., 2009) affirms that other factors such as greater ease, freedom of mobility and the massive use of ICT can have a positive effect in mitigating difference in thinking style. This study offers a confirmation in the earlier study on a larger scale. Practical implications - A practical significance of this study is that if economic and socio-cultural differences impact on preferred ways of thinking and learning of university students, the impacts may very well be mediated through various methods such as pedagogy or ICT. Student learning capability is a factor of thinking style. Differences do exist among three EU regions located in northern Italy, southern Italy and in western Finland. It is suggested that supporting a range of student thinking styles through a greater diversity and sensitivity of teaching styles can mitigate any deleterious effects emanating from the differences. This result unveils the rising significance of additional possible mediating variables that may have emerged as increasingly significant within the new global order.

Thinking about Geography: the effect of Socio-Economic and Cultural Differences on Styles of Thinking

AMMIRATO, Salvatore;
2011

Abstract

Purpose - This study follows a previous one based on a comparison of styles of thinking among university students from two Italian regions with substantial socio-economical and cultural differences (Sofo, Berzins, Colapinto & Ammirato, 2009). This paper explores whether university students at some European universities report markedly different thinking style preferences from each other. A sample of students from two universities of Western Finland were surveyed using the Thinking Style Inventory (TSI) (Sofo, 2008); statistical results have been analysed and compared with the data from the two Italian samples in the 2009 study. Design/methodology/approach - The TSI approach is useful to identifying differences in thinking styles. The paper explores possible connections between thinking style and established different economic and socio-cultural variables. The TSI measures preferences for stylistic aspects of intellectual functioning and is based on the theory of reality construction (Sofo, 2008) whereby people create their own realities through their ways of thinking. A sample of total 624 European university students from Italy and Finland was tested and compared. The fifty items on the TSI require respondents to assess their ways of thinking using a likert-scale. To verify reliability and consistency of the TSI instrument, reported data have been studied calculating the Cronbach alpha coefficient. Originality/value - This paper presents new results of a study which is the first of a kind in comparing thinking styles of students coming from three different EU regions. Over the past few decades, researchers have hypothesized that difference in socio-economic status impacts on thinking style. However our previous study (Sofo et al., 2009) affirms that other factors such as greater ease, freedom of mobility and the massive use of ICT can have a positive effect in mitigating difference in thinking style. This study offers a confirmation in the earlier study on a larger scale. Practical implications - A practical significance of this study is that if economic and socio-cultural differences impact on preferred ways of thinking and learning of university students, the impacts may very well be mediated through various methods such as pedagogy or ICT. Student learning capability is a factor of thinking style. Differences do exist among three EU regions located in northern Italy, southern Italy and in western Finland. It is suggested that supporting a range of student thinking styles through a greater diversity and sensitivity of teaching styles can mitigate any deleterious effects emanating from the differences. This result unveils the rising significance of additional possible mediating variables that may have emerged as increasingly significant within the new global order.
978-88-96687-05-5
thinking styles; socio-economic and cultural differences; European Union regional diversity
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/166286
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