Collaborative Critical Thinking (CCT)
What does research tell us about critical thinking skills? Research has persuaded educators that when a combination of rigorous academics is coupled with explicitly taught critical thinking skills, and when these thinking skills are embedded within content, it will produce students who are well informed and who will be able to make valuable and relevant contributions in the 21st Century.
The North Shore Christian School is thrilled to be in our seventh year of utilizing an integrated critical thinking framework in all our grades and across all our content areas. Collaborative Critical Thinking is not a curriculum, but a framework that runs concurrent with our existing curriculum. CCT can best be thought of as the foundational element upon which all other learning securely rests.
Why does NSCS value this type of instruction? Again, research has informed our thinking, revealing that when children begin at a very young age, and are provided with consecutive years in which critical thinking is taught, they will become deep thinkers who are confident, well-spoken, and self-motivated learners.
Not only do these frameworks empower our students to think deeply, they also empower our students to think sensitively and respectfully as they share their views, ideas, and convictions. It is our desire for students to leave NSCS ready to give an answer to anyone who asks the reason for the hope that lies within them (I Peter 3:15). We are excited for the opportunity to help equip this generation to be a bold and ambassador for Christ!
CCT also offers the huge benefit in the way of supporting our efforts in Christian Formation, as it elevates the quality of our work in this area. Through CCT our students are organically integrating their faith and learning on their own as well, and when students take onus of their learning and faith it is impactful and lasting!
A bit of History: A former teacher of North Shore Christian School, and now Gordon College professor, approached NSCS’s Education Committee. Dr. Donna Robinson was researching critical thinking and the effects of explicitly taught methods of critical thinking on young children. Her findings were undeniably positive and ignited a passion within her to research more, write more, train more teachers, and get the word out! Working closely with a colleague, Mrs. Julie Lenocker, Dr. Robinson’s dream was given legs and the journey toward developing the CCT (Collaborative Critical Thinking) Frameworks began to take shape. For two years Dr. Robinson and Mrs. Lenocker trained our administrative staff and faculty at NSCS on the principles of critical thinking as the frameworks were refined and organized into grade bands and a systematic approach to imparting critical thinking skills to our students beginning in the Early Childhood years through 8th grade.
In 2017, Dr. Robinson’s dream became a reality, and with a documentary built in 2016, Dr. Robinson was able to showcase it at Harvard University during an educational forum, as well as Gordon College. NSCS is blessed to be the recipients of Dr. Robinson’s hard work, and our students and faculty continue to reap the benefits of CCT!