Learning about Issues through Discussion in the Primary Social Studies Classroom: A Shared Inquiry Approach, pp. 7 of 16

Cognitive skills enable the deepening of understanding, reaching of judgments and creation of new insights and interpretations. It comprises connection making, questioning and creation. In connection making, students are able to make deeper meaning when they can connect their ideas with others by identifying the similarities and differences between the ideas, connect their prior knowledge and experience to the discussion issue and its sources, offer reasons and textual evidence to support their viewpoints, and analyse and evaluate information from varied sources. Questioning refers to asking questions about someone’s view to identify his assumptions and meaning, asking questions about personal perspectives and assumptions, and asking questions about sources. Finally, creation refers to going beyond opinions to new ways of understandings and is achieved by inferring from and synthesising different perspectives and sources, suspending personal judgment while listening, and constructing group solutions.

Use of knowledge skills refer to the student participants’ skills in accessing a broad, varied and deep knowledge base which includes text-based knowledge and prior learning and experience. The skills include using disciplinary vocabulary and language, evaluating whether the sources are credible or not, incorporating evidence from varied sources to support one’s points of argument, presenting facts accurately, drawing from relevant prior learning and experience, and reflecting on and evaluating personal beliefs or positions on an issue in relation to ideas generated during a discussion.

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

Newsletter Subscription

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up-to-date with new journal issues!