Event Title

Increasing Critical Thinking Pedagogy through the High School English Classroom

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of English

Honors Thesis Committee

Amanda Hiner, Ph.D.; Kelly Richardson, Ph.D.; and Jack DeRochi, Ph.D.

Location

West 214

Start Date

20-4-2018 3:45 PM

Description

Over the last couple of years, research has shown that high school students are experiencing and reporting increased amounts of stress. At the top of the list of stressors is school, course work, and anxiety over college. This is a problem perpetuated in many high schools by extreme rigidness to standards and using methods that teach directly to tests rather than the holistic student. Teachers are asserting the importance of content and correct answers, making students concerned with grade point averages and acceptance letters. Students are graduating with impressive resumes but no truth-seeking or problem-solving skills. The answer to these issues lies in increasing critical thinking pedagogy throughout the high school curriculum. Critical thinking emphasizes the ability to judge one’s own and another’s underlying thoughts, assumptions, and blocks, which all work to prepare students for college and the work force more than simple memorization and regurgitation of facts. In this paper, I argue that schools need to increase the amount of critical thinking skills they are teaching their students; furthermore, I believe the high school English classroom provides an opportunity to do just that. By examining the Paul and Elder approach to critical thinking and walking through a sample case study using a novel in the classroom, I will prove that critical thinking skills can not only be taught in tandem with content, but that when students master these skills, they actually respond better to and gain more out of their learning experiences.

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Apr 20th, 3:45 PM

Increasing Critical Thinking Pedagogy through the High School English Classroom

West 214

Over the last couple of years, research has shown that high school students are experiencing and reporting increased amounts of stress. At the top of the list of stressors is school, course work, and anxiety over college. This is a problem perpetuated in many high schools by extreme rigidness to standards and using methods that teach directly to tests rather than the holistic student. Teachers are asserting the importance of content and correct answers, making students concerned with grade point averages and acceptance letters. Students are graduating with impressive resumes but no truth-seeking or problem-solving skills. The answer to these issues lies in increasing critical thinking pedagogy throughout the high school curriculum. Critical thinking emphasizes the ability to judge one’s own and another’s underlying thoughts, assumptions, and blocks, which all work to prepare students for college and the work force more than simple memorization and regurgitation of facts. In this paper, I argue that schools need to increase the amount of critical thinking skills they are teaching their students; furthermore, I believe the high school English classroom provides an opportunity to do just that. By examining the Paul and Elder approach to critical thinking and walking through a sample case study using a novel in the classroom, I will prove that critical thinking skills can not only be taught in tandem with content, but that when students master these skills, they actually respond better to and gain more out of their learning experiences.