Critical Explorers Video and Teacher Testimonials

Author: Alythea McKinney

Posted by Alythea

More Teacher Testimonials:

“I just had the most amazing experience with my 6th-grade earth science kids. Thank you so much for the workshop and all the feedback. It has been so helpful and so revolutionary for me. I’m curious about their thinking, and the kids themselves are increasing the complexity of their work. They are still perplexed, which is neat to watch. It really is fascinating. Plus, the kids are just out of their minds in excitement. Wow. It gives me shivers.”

“Students benefit from CE when they realize that they are capable of having insightful, original ideas about a text, image, film clip, map, or another complex source. They benefit when they realize that you can learn much more about a topic by engaging in a conversation with others about what each person notices and wonders. They benefit from not always being told what is “right” and what is “wrong.” They benefit from doing real work that mirrors what professionals do — historians analyze artifacts the same way students do during critical exploration, in that they don’t have anyone to tell them what is right or wrong; rather, they share what they notice and wonder and draw their own conclusions.”

“One of the things that really sticks out for me is watching kids actually be patient, and it’s very hard for kids that are that age, it’s hard for me at my age!, to be patient, because I think our culture, everything, is fed at us so quickly. It’s all about quantity, not about quality, and what I really noticed in this film, and what I see in practice, is the kids learn the value of patience and deliberateness, and that really hit home for me a couple of years ago when I got the first group of 9th grade students in my 9th grade course, who had gone through the Critical Explorers training in 7th grade. I gave them something to do, and they really dug into it … to a degree that I had never seen before. And I knew it was because of what the 7th-grade teachers had been teaching. So I see that in the film, I see it in practice, and I think that’s a great thing to be able to teach kids to do, is to dig deep, be thoughtful, and careful, and patient, as they wrestle with big ideas.”

“I’m feeling so full of gratitude and excitement and exhaustion after this week! … You created so much space and supplied so much fodder for deep noticing, reflection, and collaborative thinking. Thank you for modeling the incredible potential of CE. It was such a pleasure to get to experience it as a learner. I really appreciated the way you structured our experiences — that we got to truly immerse ourselves in the source material before putting on our educator hats again for dialogue. And I will certainly be returning to these readings again and again. You also made it possible for a group of educators from very different contexts to find common questions and common ground. What a gift!”

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