M.S. (Master of Science)
Department of Education
United States--History--Study and teaching
Problem. In recent years much has been written concerning the development of "critical thinking" and the use of generalizations and concepts in the social studies programs of our school. Few schools, however, have done anything about the implementation of these new ideas into the classroom. This paper is an attempt to provide a sample unit of American history which takes recent developments in the psychology of learning into consideration. An analysis is made of classroom activities, test questions, discussion topics, and objectives, to see what cognitive processes are in use by the student. Each activity is categorized according to the social studies skill it develops. Procedure. The data for this paper was gathered from recent articles in professional journals, yearbooks of professional societies, and books on related topics. Letters were written to organizations and people now working in related fields, and numerous curriculum guides in the social studies were analyzed. Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives served as the basis for much of the analytical work in the paper, and several document books served as sources for the appendix, which consists of excerpts from important writings from American history. Findings and Conclusions. After gathering data from many sources and analyzing many recent curriculum guides, several fallings were seen. Most guides were fact oriented, were lacking in the development of critical thinking abilities, and failed to articulate or develop an organized program of skill development. These failings led to the formulation of an outline and twenty-four plans which develop the outline and seek to avoid the fallings of previous curriculum guides in this area. The analysis of all classroom activity, using Bloom's categories of cognitive thought, is of real value to the classroom teacher in the development of a well rounded program of "critical thinking" and problem-solving situations. The integrated use of Audiovisual materials, library resources, and an organized skill development program are all necessary to a meaningful approach to the social studies.
Kraft, Richard J., "A unit of American history developed making use of historical generalizations and critical thinking abilities" (1965). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 929.
Northern Illinois University
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