Enhancing Learning and Thinking

By Robert F. Mulcahy; Robert H. Short et al. | Go to book overview

3
Government Processes for Including Thinking Skills in the Curriculum

Sandra Falconer Pace

The explosion of information about and published programs for thinking skills has fueled an interest in the topic throughout the whole educational community. Universities are involved in research and dissemination, and school divisions are concerned to develop students' higher-order thinking skills. In both the United States and Canada, agencies responsible for curriculum development are also seeking to incorporate directions on higher-order thinking skills. in position statements, curricula, and education policies. Some of the Canadian provinces and seven American states have been active in establishing official positions with regard to the teaching of thinking skills and have included these specifically in curriculum development.

The evolution of a position statement in a published document within a government department is an interesting, albeit lengthy, process. While it is not generally recognized by those outside the government, the primary reason for the length of the process is the necessity for consensus within the educational community. This community is composed of many interests: government officials, the university or research community, parents, taxpayers, and school division personnel. School division personnel are often represented by teachers, school-based administrators, central office consultants, administrators, and school trustees. Members of the public, such as home and school associations or chambers of commerce, may also be consulted in curriculum development, depending upon the particular initiative. Political factors, of course, always affect this process, but the needs for consensus and input from many "stakeholders" or "educational partners" are the intrinsically time-consuming factors in the process. Educators typically decry the length of time required to produce

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