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Date: 18-01-2024

Classroom tools for critical thinking and social values


Classroom tools for critical thinking and social values

ISSA Member Center for Educational Initiatives Step by Step (CEI Step by Step) has been one of the leading organizations in the field of professional development of teachers dedicated to improving the quality of education and promoting the values and principles of social justice in Bosnia and Herzegovina for more than 25 years.

Through their community of innovative teachers, CEI Step by Step discovered a need for classroom tools to teach children how to learn so they can develop competences to construct knowledge from the information they receive. To respond to this gap in practice, they’ve developed the School of Critical Thinking and the School of Values, two training programs for educators that have been tested directly in classrooms to ensure their relevance.

School of Critical Thinking training program

In the classroom, critical thinking is crucial to help children learn to question, research and take on perspectives that differ from their own. The School of Critical Thinking handbook helps teachers guide young children to practice these skills.

Theoretically based on Arthur Costa’s Three Floors of Intellect and Benjamin Bloom’s Bloom Taxonomy, this tool aims to create classrooms that encourage thinking on an individual and group level. The resources and activities provided follow three levels of thinking, i.e., gathering, processing, and applying.

School of Values training program

Values are explicitly and implicitly taught in schools. That is why the School of Values handbook is designed to help educators and parents guide children to reflect and discuss societal values. Moreover, as a microcosm of society, schools can use this tool as a framework to practice the values they stand for daily.

The handbook highlights 12 values – such as honesty, creativity, and respect – and is based on Schwartz theory of basic values by Shalom H. Schwartz. The handbook supports schools to learn the 12 values, to set goals for the values they would like to develop, to choose their common values, as well as teach values to teachers and parents in addition to children in classrooms. These objectives are accompanied by Value Cards that weave various activities and values together.

Training teachers to implement the tools in classrooms

The tools can be used independently or together and are available in Bosnian, Croatian, and English. Training is offered to support educators to implement these tools.

The Critical Thinking handbook is accompanied by five one-day workshops with 15 days between them to give educators time to try it in their classrooms. While the School of Values handbook requires a two-day training followed by a mentoring process.

To translate and/or adapt these tools for training in your country, you can contact CEI Step by Step here.