How KIPP Teachers Learn to Teach Critical Thinking
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How KIPP Teachers Learn to Teach Critical Thinking

>>Prior to coming to Kipp, I tried to do a fishbowl discussion
and it failed. And I had the kind of
vague idea of how to do it, but I didn’t have the specific tools. When I got to Kipp last year, we had a really good professional
development on Socratic seminars that really showed me kind of the
little tricks that made it work. My name is Kellan McNulty and I
teach tenth grade AP world history and eleventh grade AP US
history at Kipp King Collegiate.>>I think the hardest
thing for teachers in adopting a critical thinking
model is that it requires them to kinda step back and let
the students do all the work. And I think for a teacher who’s used
to being the agent of knowledge, it can be hard for them
to take a back seat to the learning that’s
happening in the classroom. My name is Katie Kirkpatrick
and I’m the dean of instruction at Kipp King Collegiate High School. I also teach ninth grade
speech and composition.>>Another thing that I
started doing at Kipp is using like very specific structures to
push students to critical thought. And the biggest impact has been
the Socratic seminar rubric. Last year, before I
started teaching at Kipp, we went through a lotta
professional development, and one of the most useful sessions
was on the Socratic seminars. To set up my classroom
for the Socratic seminar, I basically moved the desks into
a square in the middle of the room and twelve students sit there. And then outside of that square,
I had the desks surrounding it into a larger square
and twelve, you know, to fourteen students
sit on the outside. Many teachers know
this as a fishbowl, and the rubric asks the person on
the outer circle to grade them on, did they use the text to
support their arguments? Did they use analytical language? And it gives examples
of analytical language. Did they make a connection to
what someone else was saying in the discussion, right? Did they agree or disagree
with someone else?>>So if you wanna do this in your
classroom, like it’s really important that you actually seat them in a way
that’s conducive and you maybe sit down yourself, or you even take
yourself outta the discussion, ’cause if you’re just
standing up there normally, like they might not be able to
have a discussion like you want.>>During PD last year, I learned
how to set up the room like that, and how to use that rubric,
and the different jobs that you can give people on
the outside to stay motivated and invested and paying attention.>>To keep your kids engaged,
these kids who are in the center, or you who are in the center, you’re
always gonna have a role, right? If you’re a student,
you’re a participant, or you’re a teacher-facilitator. Those are the only roles that
are available to the inside. But the outside, you don’t
wanna just let them sit there. They need an active role
and they need a role that helps them really
follow what’s going on. So here are the roles
you might assign to people who are on the outside. You might tell, “Okay,
you’re a reporter,” and you can have multiple reporters. In fact, it’s really interesting
to have multiple reporters, ’cause sometimes they
see things differently and they report out different things. Your silent contributor,
I really love this role. So like they follow
on as if they were in the conversation,
but they’re not in it. And at the end, you get
the chance to say to them, “What would you have said?” And then the shadower. And when you’re a shadower,
you’re directly assigned to a student in the inner circle. So your job is to say, did
she speak loudly and clearly? Did she give reasons and
evidence for her statements? Did she use the text? Did she paraphrase accurately?>>Typically, once students get used
to this, they do very well with it.>>The thing that’s compelling
about this specific model is that it shows up everywhere,
you know. So how is it that you can convince
your mom to buy you a cell phone? How are you going to convince
a college to accept you? I mean, those situations
require critical thinking, and argumentation skills,
and we all use them in our daily lives so frequently.

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