Our Approach to Learning Cutting-edge Educational Theory
The TCI approach consists of a series of instructional practices that allows students with multiple intelligences to “experience” history. These teaching methods were developed by teachers who carefully and thoughtfully combined the following three educational theories:
1) Students have multiple intelligences. Howard Gardner’s findings that human cognition includes a far wider and more universal set of competencies than had previously been recognized offer the possibility of revolutionizing the instruction of history in our schools. Gardner has found that every student excels in two or three of the multiple intelligences. According to the theory of multiple intelligences, every student is intelligent—just not in the same way. Here are seven intelligences that Gardner’s research has identified:
Verbal Linguistic Logical-Mathematical Visual-Spatial Body-Kinesthetic Musical-Rhythmic Interpersonal Interpersonal
2) Cooperative interaction increases learning and improves social skills. The second theoretical premise behind our approach is based on Elizabeth Cohen’s findings that cooperative group work leads to increased student interaction and, ultimately, to increased learning gains. Teaching history in an interactive and engaging way necessitates creating a cooperative, tolerant classroom. In this environment, students will learn to share ideas, to work together cooperatively, to tolerate differences, to disagree honestly, and to take risks—and all students will feel valued and respected. TCI offers a careful, step-by-step program of cooperative skill building.
3) All students can learn. The third theoretical premise behind our approach is the idea of the spiral curriculum. Championed by educational theorist Jerome Bruner, the spiral curriculum is the belief that all students can learn if a teacher shows them how to think and discover knowledge for themselves. Students learn progressively more difficult concepts through a process of step-by-step discovery.
Eight Powerful Teaching Strategies
We have developed eight powerful teaching strategies that allow students with diverse learning styles to “experience” history.
This strategy turns what is usually a passive, teacher-centered activity—lecturing—into a dynamic, participative experience for students. Students view, touch, interpret, and act out historic images projected as slides. As the teacher asks a series of inquiry questions, students record the information in a unique note taking style.
Social Studies Skill Builders
Students sit in pairs to complete fast-paced, skill-oriented tasks, such as mapping geographic features, analyzing political cartoons, and graphing economic trends, worksheets, fuel this approach.
This strategy brings to life key historical concepts so that students physically and emotionally experience them. Teachers re-create moments in history, such as the horrors of fighting trench warfare and the monotony of life on the assembly line, so that students can more meaningfully understand the drama of the past.
Writing for Understanding
This strategy enables all students to write forcefully about experiences they have had in class by challenging them to write for a purpose, such as writing poetry about the experiences of Chinese immigrants on Angel Island and editorializing on the Crusades. The result is richer writing.
Reading for Understanding
This strategy captivates student interest in social studies while teaching a host of expository reading skills that students can use for the rest of their lives. Students learn how to connect what they read to “real-life experiences” they have in class so that deeper understanding follows. Emerging readers receive carefully structured support at each of the four stages of the expository reading process: preview, read, take notes, and review.
This approach creates rich class discussions involving all students on such controversial topics as the Boston Massacre and Japanese-American internment. Students sit in small groups to view slides depicting historical events and to discuss critical-thinking questions related to each slide. They report their findings to the entire class.
Problem Solving Group work
Students with a wide variety of learning styles sit in small groups to work on high-level, problem solving group work projects such as creating a mini-drama about life in the Great Depression and preparing a panel discussion on the democratic ideal. This method of cooperative learning effectively involves all students.
Interactive Student Notebook
This strategy challenges students to record information about history in engaging ways. As students learn new ideas, they use several types of writing and innovative graphic techniques to record them. This processing encourages students to use their critical-thinking skills to organize information. As a result, they become more creative and independent thinkers.
All of our programs offer a variety of assessments—including traditional tests, multiple intelligence tests, Internet Tutorials, Internet Projects, and Culminating Projects—that will both prepare your students for standardized tests and help them meaningfully apply what they have learned.
For more information call 1 (800) 497.6138 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright 2000-2003 Teachers' Curriculum Institute. All rights reserved. History Alive! is a registered trademark of Teachers' Curriculum Institute.
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