Teaching Strategies for Lower Level Skills

After reading this chapter, I feel that “lower order” thinking skills is a misnomer. In order to gather results, one must obtain the necessary ingredients. You have to plow the field and plant the seeds before one reaps the rewards of the harvest. In this case, plowing and seeding represents the work done before the final product, whether it is a class project or paper. Fortunately for us, there are multiple proven methods of climbing this ladder to the end product. There are three methods I will touch on. The first is Data Gathering. With this, students obtain information they find necessary for their work. Hearing and retaining information is a beneficial skill that is absolutely needful when studying history, it is just important to remember to let your students take part in critical thinking. This develops their ability to reason and this is the ultimate goal of educating young people. I can see how teaching in chronological order can be easier for students to follow and this can set up an activity that invokes higher-level thinking. For example, creating a timeline. Dramatizing history through role play is also an interesting and exciting way of engaging students. This definitely does humanize the individuals and helps the students jump into a historical figure’s shoes! Again, a good way to invoke higher-level reasoning!

Chapter 5 in Social Studies for the Twenty-First Century details three strategies for lower order thinking skills. Data gathering is the first strategy that can help students to move on to develop other skills. This strategy is much easier for students if it is related to other concepts instead of simple memorization. Clear requirements and situations where students can utilize the information they are given can activate memory and give the opportunity to scaffold new information. A main takeaway from this section for me was that drowning students in data can make instruction ineffective. Simple presentation of data here guides students to understand events and develop key information literacy skills. I believe this strategy is the most important for students to succeed later on. 

According to the text, displaying information with media or organizing with chronology can help students better understand concepts.

The drama coaching section caught my attention because my teachers in high school utilized the strategy very effectively. Drama coaching creates a more realistic sense of story for the learners because they can participate and add to their own understandings. The text points out that the main focus of drama learning is to break down the detachment from history by humanizing figures and events. In my high school, we would participate in mock trials, debates, and interviews, which would give participants and observers a chance to learn outside of mundane lecturing and long readings.