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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Maps : developing critical thinking skills for deaf students in a social studies curriculum

  • Author(s): Boucher, Michael Joseph
  • et al.

In Deaf classrooms, social studies instruction is usually conveyed via the banking approach instead the inquiry approach leaving students without opportunities to exercise their critical thinking skills. This curriculum addressed this problem by demonstrating how deaf students can be given opportunities to develop and use their critical thinking skills in social studies content using maps. Learning activities in this curriculum designed with the following four goals in mind; support students in developing their critical thinking skills, foster students' skills in reading, interpreting, and using maps, develop and use academic language associated with maps in both ASL and English, and encourage students to use the inquiry approach as a learning strategy. This curriculum was field tested at a school for the deaf in a 5th grade classroom with seven deaf and hard of hearing students. Field notes, artifacts, and lesson assessments were used to evaluate the outcomes of the curriculum to determine whether if it was a success. The evaluation indicates that the curricular goals were successfully met. Students showed an effort to use their critical thinking skills while interacting with maps and associated graphical organizers and at the same time used academic language in both ASL and English. They also showed usage of the inquiry approach in seeking knowledge in the content area addressed

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