Critical and Creative Thinking in the Newsroom: A High School Curriculum Reinforcing Reading and Writing in a Non-Traditional Learning Environment

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Patricia S. Davidson


Emerging from diversified educational and employment experiences in the mid-80's, the writer became sensitized to the problems of functional literacy. Being able to communicate clearly constitutes and individual's expressing oneself in the most precise manner possible. Without this, many interactions are regarded as trivial because, more often than not, they are misinterpreted or misunderstood. The writer had the opportunity in 1984 to introduce basic reading and writing concepts to a group of urban youths in the Boston Youth Programs during a seven week summer workshop. The success of that workshop led to a communication. internship that nurtured the ideas for a curriculum to help combat illiteracy. This curriculum expresses the importance of the teaching process and the development of critical and creative thinking skills. In this thesis the writer proposes that students do not learn if they are not creatively stimulated and that students do learn from effective teachers. This curriculum is an attempt to provide the environment and the stimulation to help students read and write to their fullest potential. General thinking activities and daily lesson plans have been designed to challenge individual students to think more realistically about their everyday existence, while reinforcing their basic reading and writing skills. The learning process takes place in a simulated newsroom. Critical and creative thinking offers an avenue (not previously well explored) for a curriculum strongly supporting essential reading and writing skills. Through lesson plans on generating ideas, clarifying ideas, assessing the validity of ideas, decision making, and problem solving, students will be guided to experience a new dimension to the basic tools for building a solid foundation for literacy training in their educational experiences. Learning to read and analyze a newspaper is shown to be a form of education, which can become, as Martin Luther King says, a "passport to decent economic positions."


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