I'm sitting here at my table in the ap world history training and we are looking at the dbq (the document based question) that is a part of the ap world history test. As we talk about it, I am struck with just how important it is that we, as teachers, teach thinking skills. Now that may seem like a no-brainer, but really thinking skills are often lost in the greater quest of content. We spend so much time worrying about content that we often don't take the time to teach kids how to think. We do this because of high stakes end of course testing. The majority of tests that our kids take are based on their ability to answer content specific multiple choice questions. So teachers worry and fret about getting content across to kids. This emphasis on content can be counter productive though. Kids may be able to regurgitate facts and figures for these tests but the current state of end of course tests doesn't really push students to develop thinking skills and that's sad. The ap test, however, often does test thinking skills. How do students think? How do we want them to think? We want them to analyze, to evaluate, to recognize bias. There are skills there. Skills that can be learned and taught. But we probably don't do enough of that.
more to come later.