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Monday, November 23, 2009

Some of My Thoughts on Teaching Critical Thinking Skills

Help students use research and reasoning to arrive at conclusions. You don’t have to know/give the “answer” when you can help kids interpret the evidence (that is, whatever we have now for data and whatever new data is uncovered). Teach the skills.

1491 by
Charles Mann’s is one of my most recent favorite authors at the moment on the topic of Native Americans because he includes the social experience – it wasn’t just “physical equipment” like writing and weapons that came with Europeans into the Americas, but also ideas about who should be subservient to whom.   I don't like his book, 1493, as much because he "doesn't know what he doesn't know" when it comes to the story of Columbus.

Teachers can guide students to ask questions like, “Is this a stereotype?” and “Is this the whole story?” These questions will serve students well as they move through life and learn about many different cultures and multiple perspectives on history.