This is a question that often comes up, particularly when putting together a plan of study without using any particular curriculum. In the elementary years you are giving your students the overall picture or flavor of the subject. By the middle school years you will begin nailing down the specifics, giving more details to the big picture. By the time the student is in high school, he is ready to begin using reason and discernment to think critically.
This is most easily applied to history, but if you think about it, critical thinking can be applied to all high school level subjects. To give the framework of critical thinking, I will begin with its application to history, but I will also touch on how this higher order thinking can be applied across the board.
I have found that students who can analyze historical texts can write better history papers themselves, for they both have the same elements. So, to begin teaching analytic skills, I give my ninth grade student written works that have opposing viewpoints. Students can, by closely looking at the works, learn the methods that were used to express the viewpoints. This will enable the student to determine for himself which is the stronger or weaker argument.
In this series, I will discuss teaching your students about assertions, detecting assumptions, evaluating sources, reliability of information, the five types of reasoning, analyzing arguments and the parts of an argument. In this way, you and your student can see how high school level studies can be done without a particular curriculum and with little or no cost.
- Teaching High School Students About Assumptions and Assertions
- Teaching High School Students About Primary and Secondary Sources
- Teaching Your High School Students About the 5 Types of Reasoning
- Teaching Your High School Student About Reasoning by Comparison and Contrast and Reasoning by Generalization
- Teaching Your High School Student about Reasoning by Proof and Reasoning by Debate
- Teaching Your High School Student About Analyzing Arguments
(originally published 3/15/17)