Integrating Thinking, Whole Language and Drama

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Patricia A. Cordeiro


This thesis presents a framework aims at providing learning experiences to develop effective independent thinkers. Effective independent thinkers are not only able to accumulate knowledge but can use and apply that knowledge in a variety of situations and contexts. The framework is based at the intersection of three perspectives on learning: critical and creative thinking, whole language and drama. Creative thinking works with critical thinking by using fluency, flexibility, originality, elaboration and heuristic processes to open up options to be evaluated in order to make a decision to do or believe something. Whole language involves building a structure and climate that promote literacy and the authentic use of language. This is accomplished by teaching students to work cooperatively, encouraging them to take risks, helping them see ideas and concepts in context, and helping them see ideas and concepts in context, and helping them develop responsibility for their learning. Drama provides an opportunity for students to become immersed in a learning experience through the techniques of role play, mantle of the expert, and simulation. Through the combination of these perspectives on learning, students learn to use the processes of problem solving, inquiry and reflection. Problem solving involves defining a problem, deciding on possible solutions and choosing the best solution. Inquiry is questioning in order to look differently at what is known or in order to find out more. Reflection allows for the development of metacognition, thereby helping students become aware of and in control of their own thinking processes. A sample curriculum for intermediate elementary grades lasting approximately three weeks to three months is contained in the Appendix of the thesis. This curriculum takes the form of a simulation in which students assume the roles of marine biologists. They work in teams to study the marine life around the hypothetically newly-risen continent of Atlantis. The curriculum stresses the integrated use of both content and skills as they are used in real life. Descriptions and definitions of the learning perspectives and processes are also included. The commonalties between critical and creative thinking, whole language and drama are discussed in both a theoretical manner and as they apply to the sample curriculum.


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