Designing a Thinking Curriculum by Susan Wilks

By Susan Wilks

Responds to the problem of disengagement within the center years of education, by way of delivering lecturers and directors with rules for the implementation of a pondering curriculum of their faculties.

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Study tours To Durango—to study Native American culture and the influence of Mexico, to the Mountains—for a 3-day camping adventure, to Washington DC for a Schools’ Conference. The school takes advantage of the urban community in which it is situated. It lists its extended campus as the Denver Art Museum, State Capital, Museo de las Americas, Denver Health, University of Colorado, local Television Stations, Civic Centre Park, Stadium District and the Platte River. The school has an open admission policy and requests that students wishing to enrol should submit three pieces of work of which they are proud to help determine their learning styles, skills and needs.

It is also evident in what is expected of students. Today, many schools are committed to finding ways to develop the thinking of their students. Focusing on developing knowledge, passing tests, and getting through curriculum requirements are no longer seen as sufficient. Unfortunately, many schools only get as far as teaching thinking skills. Achieving the cultural change required to consolidate the critical thinking of students involves more than just learning some new skills. It requires changing viewpoints, goals and habits in a school community.

This is especially important for the student who is not normally a confident or active participant in class. Their lack of interaction can often exclude them from much of the learning that is taking place in the classroom. Students who have poorly developed dialogical skills are often disadvantaged in cooperative learning situations. As well, the absence of meaningful interaction about issues that are important to the adolescent can reduce their interest in school. They often have a strong emotional interest in serious social and environmental issues and the opportunity for their interests to be expressed and examined needs to be provided.

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