Embrace Critical Thinking Challenges

Allow time to think critically through puzzles, questions, discussions,etc. even if it means taking time away from the demanding curriculum.

Photo of Christina McCann
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Photo of Linda Delgado
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I'd argue that taking time to puzzle things out IS the demanding curriculum! In a classroom holding forth is the easiest thing ever, but facilitating understanding never seems to involve telling students how a thing is. Further, it perpetuates the myth that we teacher-folk are all knowing.

Photo of Christina McCann
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Yes! I am human, I don't know the answer. Good question, let's google it.

Photo of Alexandrea Alphonso
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Would love to dive into this idea more. How can we take this idea and scale it to every classroom? What resources / support would you need from administration to make this happen? What would a school day look like? Would this be applicable for all subject/grade levels? How would we support teachers to implement this change?

Excited to see the possibilities around this idea. For extra tips on ideating, check out this link: https://medium.com/teachersguild/tips-for-ideating-b2f8563a16b0

Photo of Christina McCann
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First of all, the pressure from the administration surrounding PARCC can be overwhelming and deterring. I think proving to the administration that incorporating critical thinking skills will enhance the students test scores would be helpful for support.

I use different critical thinking puzzles, word games, and abstract problems in my English 9-12 class and my AP Psychology class. I have found that the students have so much fun getting involved with thinking that is "outside the box" of the curriculum. Their projects have also acquired a more creative freedom and risk taking attitude.

I think providing examples and lessons that teachers could use would be a first step. Followed by aiding them in creating their own critical thinking lessons. A school day would become more of a learning environment- where the classroom was a learning room.