Date of Completion
Open Access Capstone
Master of Arts (MA)
For the past three years I have had countless opportunities to engage in rich thinking around teaching and learning. As a member of the Critical and Creative Thinking Program (CCT) at the University of Massachusetts, Boston I have been able to reflect on these experiences in the context of my own teaching, applying what I have learned to enrich my own craft. Over the past eight months I have devoted this thinking to a teaching method I call Social Action Teaching. This method has helped to engage and motivate my seventh grade students and I believe, if applied elsewhere, can have a similar impact on other students. This Synthesis describes the four elements of Social Action Teaching: Classroom Core, Community Connectedness, Civic Awareness, and Global Responsibility. The foundational core of the classroom and the three branches of Social Action Teaching reflect each of the communities that students should be able to effectively navigate. This work describes a two-part process by which this navigation can occur. First, students need to possess the knowledge set associated with each community, whether it be the local, national, or global community. Second, teachers must provide opportunities for students to act upon this knowledge as they develop skills necessary for the 21st century. Any reader of this Synthesis should feel free to use the specific method described in this work or simply use their own thinking to design another, equally engaging, motivating, and empowering method. My intention with this work is not to convert the disbeliever into a fanatic who will then walk around wearing a sandwich board that displays the many successes of Social Action Teaching. Rather, the wider purpose of this work is to provide a fresh lens with which we can each view our teaching, identify problem areas, implement a new creative method, and critically reflect on its impact on our students.
Hinkell, Alyssa, "Social Action Teaching: Engaging Middle School Students in Knowing and Doing in the Social Studies Classroom" (2009). Critical and Creative Thinking Capstones Collection. 148.