Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

John R. Murray

Second Advisor

Joseph Check

Third Advisor

Arthur Millman


The author, a master teacher of secondary language arts, shares her reflections on how she uses CCT skills to synthesize her insights and observations of her own learning, teaching, and investigative experiences - past and present -- in order to make VALID choices about what is worth knowing and teaching in a classroom preparing students for the 21st Century. In general, the thesis emphasizes the importance of AUTHENTICITY in determining whether a curriculum or teacher's instructional methodology is VALID for today's students. AUTHENTICITY is determined by the degree of personal connectivity experienced by both student and teacher with the subject matter taught and the quality of the END-PRODUCTS or tasks produced. These end-products should be displayed for, shared with, and/or assessed by a GENERAL AUDIENCE beyond that of the teacher and the classroom walls. The author offers her curriculum for middle school language arts, MSX LANGUAGE ARTS CURRICULUM OVERVIEW (Appendix III: Chapter 1, only) as a MODEL for those interested in CCT and AUTHENTICITY, but does not propose that it is VALID or AUTHENTIC for other educators and student populations with different priorities. The author also identifies and discusses the relationships she finds between CCT and the constructs of multiple intelligences (MI), the emotional quotient (EQ), video games, and the writing process. Integrated curriculum learning tasks encourage student awareness and facility using such constructs. Ultimately, the thesis espouses that students need daily practice using critical and creative thinking processes. Such practice leads to proficiency in higher order thinking and independence from their teachers and parents in identifying and solving problems and applying what has been learned to novel situations.