Got Critical Thinking?
In the United States, 46 states have adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). As yet, there are no "content standards" for History-Social Science regarding which events, topics or themes all American students should examine about the human condition. Currently, there are only reading and writing standards for literacy in history. The bottom line for reading and writing is reasoning skills where students demonstrate clear understanding of logic and evidence.
Skills for the 21st century or for college readiness or for a competitive global market find their roots in the longstanding goal of rigorous critical thinking. Common Core standards are a renewed commitment to critical thinking, newly defined as literacy. It has been the CALIS mission that...
Critical thinking is the basis for literacy
analytical tools are the basis for critical thinking
Our Bold Claim:
"Four Worlds" is a new gateway to literacy
As outlined in our overviews of Four Worlds of History and Case Teaching & Analytical Tools, we have a different model -- a new paradigm -- for teaching and learning social sciences, grades 6-12. As students achieve better understanding of content and concepts, they acquire the vocabulary and background knowledge they need to be better readers and writers -- better thinkers. In the 4WH model, complex content and basic literacy are merged as one authentic process. In this sense, we have developed new tools to support and deepen critical thinking.
Karen West's 6th grade class of Developing Readers and Writers (DRW) were able to build their skills in expository reading and writing as part of increasing their understanding of history concepts and dynamics. From the state test, Karen attributed her students’ gains in English Language Arts to her history teaching… because 4WH focuses on active reading toward clear writing, allowing students to build vocabulary authentically—in context. 4WH gave her students a frame -- the structural support they never had before -- so they could naturally infer concepts, i.e. social science factors. These factors are found again and again, reinforcing learning and layering understanding. Students improved reading and writing through systematic support for critical thinking— e.g. inference, relationships, logic, significance and evaluation.
Martha Infante is a history teacher and GATE Coordinator at Los Angeles Academy Middle School in South Central LA. Martha was part of the initial 4WH Development Team in Summer 2009, and she recruited Jenn Manning, an LA Academy colleague who was teaching a 6th grade core, Language Arts and World History. Martha and Jenn saw immediate results for all students to achieve depth and complexity. In spring 2013, Martha reports that 4WH "is being used to great success in LA Academy. Jenn Manning has the highest scores in the school and it is her first year teaching 7th grade. She credits the 4W with the success of her students, both the lowest and highest in school being able to master the content so easily."
- Center for Active Learning in International Studies
- CALIS is an outreach project of the School of International Relations.
- Phone: (213) 740 - 7794
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org