critical thinking

woman's hand with henna typing on a laptop

The College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) were created by the U.S. Department of Education to align adult basic education and ESL instruction across the states. They also provide learners attending ABE and ESL classes with the academic and critical thinking skills to be able to be successful in careers or higher education once they leave those programs.

Cover of the Shaping the Way We Teach resource book

Shaping the Way We Teach English: From Observation to Action

Shaping the Way We Teach English is a teacher-training course consisting of fourteen video-based modules with a supporting training manual and supplementary resources. Each modules is a ten to fifteen minute video segment with examples from classrooms and educators around the world. Each module also has corresponding readings and support materials that can be printed and copied.

Pyramid of Bloom's Taxonomy Labeled from the bottom to the top: Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analyzing, Evaluating, Creating

“Good learning starts with questions, not answers.” –Guy Claxton

Critical thinking is required in the workplace, in educational settings, and to address everyday challenges.  In ESL classes, teachers often ask only factual questions that rely on short-term memory, such as “What did Lee Pa do yesterday?” and “What is the capital of Minnesota?”  While memory is an important skill, teachers should ask questions and plan activities that dig deeper. Even in beginning level classrooms, it is essential that learners are asked questions that challenge them to think critically.

A blue W with hands, feet, and a smiling face

Purpose:  A wrap-up activity that gives learners a chance to reflect on what they learned during the lesson and think about how they will use what they learned outside of the classroom

Preparation Time:  None

Materials Needed:  None

Procedure:

  1. Students think about their responses to the following prompts and write their answers independently on a piece of scratch paper:

What did we learn today?

blue and white stripped circle with red stars and the word vote

Thanks to Meredith Sommers for creating and contributing this great resource!

Thousands of students who are taking English, Adult Basic Education or Citizenship classes are, or will be, eligible to vote in the upcoming elections. Even if students are not eligible to vote, they can encourage and coach others on the voting process. They also have values and opinions that they can express to friends or family who are eligible voters.

film unrolling behind a movie film canister

Purpose:  A fun and engaging way to practice speaking that incorporates media and encourages student to get creative and utilize critical thinking skills.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Materials Needed:  A short clip from a movie or TV show. Ideally the clip will have lots of action or physical humor, or show a scene where something confusing or mysterious is happening.

Procedure:

Male detective wearing a trench coat and a hat holding a magnifying glass up to their left eye

Purpose: To have students use context to find the meaning of words and the main idea of the overall passage.


Transitions Integration Framework category/skill/sub-skill:

·         Learning Strategies

o   Skill 3: Apply appropriate strategies to compensate for and fill in gaps in knowledge

§  Sub-skill  c: Use context and what you know to figure out or guess meaning of language

 

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Male detective wearing a trench coat and a hat holding a magnifying glass up to their left eye

Purpose: To have students use context to find the meaning of words and the main idea of the overall passage.


Transitions Integration Framework category/skill/sub-skill:

·         Learning Strategies

o   Skill 3: Apply appropriate strategies to compensate for and fill in gaps in knowledge

§  Sub-skill  c: Use context and what you know to figure out or guess meaning of language

 

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Choose a topic T-chart like/dislike

Activity name: T-Chart

Thanks to Ellie Purdy for sharing this tip!

Purpose: to practice vocab, categorize info, use effective communication skills, and have fun.

Preparation time: 5 minutes, if you already have flash cards ready

Materials needed: T-chart with two categories that fit your unit topic such as Clinic/Emergency Room, Winter/Summer, Rooms/Furniture, or Perishable/Not Perishable; flashcards/word cards from the unit of study

   

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