A Critical Evaluation of the Thinkabout Instructional Television Curriculum

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Steven H. Schwartz


As educators in a changing society, one of our objectives is to guide students in their own learning. To accomplish this goal, most of us develop and implement educational programs from a variety of sources that, we hope, inspire students to ruminate what has been presented and discussed in our classrooms. With such a plethora of materials available, what criteria should teachers use to assess whether or not a particular curriculum effectively promotes individual, logical and ideational thinking? ThinkAbout is a video series of sixty (fifteen minute) video segments and thirteen program clusters, formulated and designed to enhance the overall thinking of students, ten to twelve years of age. The curriculum is produced by a consortium of state and provincial education agencies in the United States and Canada under the supervision and direction of the Agency for Instruction Television, an American-Canadian Organization located in Bloomington, Indiana. ThinkAbout is an interesting curriculum because of its comprehensive objectives and practical teaching strategies. However, is it a cogent way of presenting critical and creative thinking, and does it arouse and stimulate the processes necessary to enhance thinking skills better than other curriculum? The purpose of this thesis is to analyze the theoretical bases of ThinkAbout and critically evaluate a sample of eight programs from two clusters. This thesis also evaluates the connection between the theory and strategies utilized, reviews some previous evaluations, and proposes specific changes and modifications to address some of the alleged methodological problems or limitations. While concrete evidence of gains in conceptual thinking is difficult to report, there is evidence to suggest that ThinkAbout does have an impact on its students. By influencing the attitudes of its viewers, the curriculum is able to create a new forum that enables students to generate and exchange ideas.


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