Knowledge does not fall from the sky. Someone discovers it! There are complex processes that are essential to the functioning of each discipline -- and they take years to cultivate! How do we help students to build their understanding and use of these processes? Dr. Lois Lanning's Structure of Process, the complement to Dr. Erickson's… Continue reading Cultivating Thinking in the Disciplines
Imagine the following classroom assignment: Explain the causes and impacts of the Great Influenza outbreak of 1918 Photo credit:http://www.jhsph.edu/sebin/f/l/bluedeath1.jpg If we want to save the world, we need to learn to prevent (or at least very effectively treat) pandemics like this, right? We can imagine that studying the causes and effects of the Great Influenza… Continue reading Throwback Thursday: Discipline Their Minds
By now you've been asking students to think like disciplinarians for quite some time. You've modeled for them with a think aloud. You've asked them to coach each other using discipline specific questions. You've designed activities and discussions to help them learn to behave like experts in your field. How can you assess if they've… Continue reading Assessing disciplinary thinking 101
How many times have you stood in front of the class with an interesting situation or dilemma and narrated your thoughts aloud for your students so they can hear how you reason through it? If we just "tell" students what experts have "figured out", it doesn't help the students move in the direction of expert… Continue reading Try this: Model expert thinking
This week as we turn our focus to disciplinary thinking, we ask ourselves, How do we get kids to think like experts in each respective field? How can students think like mathematicians in math class and literary critics in English class? How can they behave as scientists and historians and artists do in the real… Continue reading Try this: Invite people in
"The best way to understand circles is to reinvent the wheel." Nicholas Negroponte, Founder MIT Media Lab My thinking about the purpose of academic subjects has evolved quite a bit over the last decade. Even the use of the word "disciplines" instead of "subjects" demonstrates how my thinking has changed. What I used… Continue reading What is the purpose of academic subjects?
For many students, the first word that comes to mind when you ask them about history class is "BORING!" They will complain that history is about thousands of names and dates that they are required to memorize "just 'cause." In fact, even students who love history tend to think about the discipline this way --… Continue reading Historical thinking 101
Imagine the following classroom assignment: Explain the causes and impacts of the Great Influenza outbreak of 1918 If we want to save the world, we need to learn to prevent (or at least very effectively treat) pandemics like this, right? We can imagine that studying the causes and effects of the Great Influenza might teach… Continue reading Stage 4: Discipline their minds