Monday, June 1, 2009

Topic: Critical Thinking

10-second review: Turn whatever you are reading with the students into an issue and have the students discuss both (or more) sides of the issue.

Title: “Authentic Literacy and Students Achievement.” R. Van DeWeighe. English Journal (July 2008), 105-108. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary/Quote: “Schmoker [‘Radically Redefining Literacy Instruction: An Immense Opportunity,’ Phi Delta Kappan, 88.7: 488-93] would have us imagine a classroom where students spend their time reading, writing and discussing different points of view—about literary texts, social problems, scientific phenomena, ethical challenges, legal rulings, political issues, and the like.” p. 108.

Comment: In short, critical thinking. The challenge for me, the teacher, will be in finding and defining issues that have two or more perspectives in the literary works that I normally use with the class. It begins with the reading, followed by discussion and concludes in writing. The key will be how the students and I express the issue to invite the discussion. Maybe one of my standard questions should be, “What is the issue here?” For example, maybe the issue in reading Pride and Prejudice could be the role of women in society or the role of class in British and American society. In addition to the topics of “pride” and “prejudice.” RayS.

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