ERIC Number: ED332880
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Jun
Reference Count: N/A
Higher Order Thinking in the Teaching of Social Studies: Connections between Theory and Practice.
Newmann, Fred M.
An attempt is made to synthesize the diverse perspectives on the teaching of thinking, especially in the area of social studies. A conception is developed that incorporates major theoretical orientations as well as the views of teachers. The conception emphasizes interpretation, analysis, and manipulation of information to solve problems that cannot be solved by routine application of previously acquired knowledge. Five main challenges emerged when the problems that social studies teachers who emphasized thinking wanted students to confront were considered: (1) empathy, (2) abstraction, (3) inference, (4) evaluation-advocacy, and (5) critical discourse. To promote thinking along these lines, the curriculum should stress a combination of in-depth content, skill-directed activities, and the reinforcement of thoughtful dispositions. Pedagogy should provide extensive student practice in problem solving, guided by substantial teacher feedback on students' work, along with increased student interaction with one another and community study. To support this, organizational changes such as reduced teacher load and more flexible scheduling are necessary. Ultimately, the successful promotion of higher order thinking in social studies will depend on increased opportunities for teachers to study and to discuss with colleagues the conceptualization of thinking, its application to social studies, conflicting priorities, and other obstacles that inhibit thoughtfulness. If decisions about specific pedagogy grow out of teachers' collaborative consideration of these issues, higher order thinking in social studies has a chance. (JB)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center on Effective Secondary Schools, Madison, WI.
Note: An earlier version of this paper was prepared for the Conference on Informal Reasoning and Education (Pittsburgh, March 26-29, 1987).