News and Events
Center for Teaching Critical Thinking and Creativity
According to national media, CEOs and college recruiters have difficulty finding potential employees who exhibit critical thinking skills. Additionally, CEOs identify creativity as a crucial factor to an organization’s success. Yet researchers report a decline in U.S. creativity scores while urgent health, environmental, and social problems demand innovative solutions. A need exists for educators at all levels to help students develop and apply critical and creative thinking. Experts note that while some good teachers, schools, and districts already are doing so, this is not the norm.
In December 2009, the College of Education and SDSU approved a new entity to help address these concerns: The Center for Teaching Critical Thinking and Creativity (CTCTC). Its mission is to enhance critical thinking, creative productivity, and academic performance in diverse P-12 schools. The Center addresses this mission through professional development and collaborative activities between university faculty and practicing teachers, applying evidence-based strategies, employing appropriate technologies, and evaluating outcomes.
The Center's endowment was established with a gift from a San Diego high school biology teacher who wished to create a legacy to help young people learn to think critically and creatively. To maximize resources and support implementation, we seek to partner with colleagues in districts, schools, other higher education institutions, and the community in providing professional development.
During the Center’s first 18 months, approximately 200 practicing elementary and secondary teachers, 50 pre-service teachers, 20 school administrators, and 40 SDSU faculty members participated in Center-sponsored events.
Critical Thinking in the Content Areas
In January 2010 and May 2011, the Center co-sponsored with San Diego Unified’s Advanced Studies Program multi-day workshops for 163 elementary and secondary teachers and 7 Center faculty members to address critical thinking in language arts, social studies, and mathematics using evidence-based strategies developed at the College of William and Mary. Joyce VanTassel-Baska from William and Mary and Valija Rose from the University of Georgia presented.
Follow-up surveys of January participants indicated that 83% subsequently implemented at least some of the strategies presented, and 75% reported improved critical thinking and literary analysis. Luke Duesbery (Special Education) is analyzing student achievement and critical thinking data from a sample of teachers who attended the language arts and math workshops. In February 2012 we will co-sponsor with San Diego Unified a follow-up day and a workshop on critical thinking in science.
Critical Thinking in Reading
The Center collaborated with Southwestern College to provide training to San Diego Unified teachers and COE Special Education pre-service teachers in Spring 2011. Joel Levine, Dean of Language and Literature, and Sylvia Garcia-Navarette, a SWC faculty member and Community College Ed.D. student, presented their soon-to-be-published Our Reading Toolbox. They worked with Anne Graves (Chair, Special Education) to enable student teachers to implement critical thinking strategies with children and youth who have mild and moderate disabilities. Students collected pre/post data with their pupils and controls taught with traditional strategies.
Smart Thinking with Smart Phones
During Spring 2011, the Center partnered with Educational Technology’s Qualcomm project to support Bernie Dodge and middle school student teachers in developing applications for critical and creative thinking using mobile technologies. Marcie Bober (Chair, Educational Technology) is evaluating the Qualcomm project’s outcomes.
Engaging the College
A March 2010 Cracker Barrel enabled the College and greater community to interact with 8 COE faculty members who shared their current projects on critical or creative thinking: Chris Alger, Bernie Dodge, Sandy Kay, Carla Mathison, Alan McCormack, Carol Robinson-Zañartu, Alberto Rodriguez, and Fernando Rodriguez-Valls and his students.
The Center is planning to host additional faculty presentations over lunch and to manage the Dean’s Excellence Award for Critical and Creative Thinking.
To encourage partnerships and further our mission, Center faculty proposed a program to provide resources to teachers committed to enhancing critical and creative thinking in their classrooms. Center faculty vetted proposals and identified 9 teachers to become the first group of Fellows. The Fellows teach in San Diego, El Centro, Chula Vista, El Cajon, and San Marcos. Each received $1000 to support a project and has a mentor from among Center faculty. Cristina Alfaro (Policy Studies) noted that two Fellows under her supervision used their awards to attend a critical thinking conference at Berkeley and will implement strategies learned via Socratic seminars.
Here are two other examples:
Vanessa Marquez teaches first grade dual language immersion at Imagine School charter in El Centro. 89% of the students are Latino, and 75% qualify for free/reduced lunch. Vanessa will teach critical thinking using bilingual books and parent involvement with webbing to assess gains. Vanessa identified Fernando Rodriguez-Valls (Teacher Education, IVC) as her mentor.
Eusebio Travis Sevilla is an artist and educator working with 9th grade students at High Tech High North County (San Marcos). The curriculum integrates art, humanities, mathematics, and science. His project applies Future Problem Solving techniques to address a critical social issue. Students will produce an artwork and a written piece reflecting the problem and plausible solutions. Carol Prime (Teacher Education) is Eusebio’s mentor.
The Center is producing video examples of teachers implementing research-supported practices in their classrooms. We plan to share them on the Center’s Ning, which will be updated and enhanced this year. http://sdsuctctc.ning.com/
Hopes for the Future
Hopes for the Future. We are in very preliminary discussions to expand partnerships to include additional public and private entities in our work. We hope to further our mission and to stimulate our own critical and creative thinking about bridging the worlds of school and work.
Faculty currently active in the Center are a distinguished group representing a range of disciplines and have an abiding interest in enhancing critical thinking and creativity in schools and communities. In addition to their own projects in critical and creative thinking, they provide guidance to the Center and help plan and participate in Center activities.
Dr. Cristina Alfaro, Policy Studies, teaches literacy for dual language learners with an emphasis on critical thinking. She provides professional development institutes for Chula Vista Community Charter School, a high-performing dual language school, to support teachers’ integration of critical thinking for dual language learners. She is program director of a national professional development grant to integrate Common Core and ELD standards.
Dr. Jose Luis Alvarado, Associate Dean, directs two personnel preparation grants focused on training special education teachers in a high poverty, rural, and diverse area. Research interests include effective personnel preparation, efforts to close the achievement gap, effective instruction, and behavior support for culturally and linguistically diverse students with disabilities.
Dr. Bernie Dodge, Educational Technology, invented the WebQuest. Between international presentations, he is working on a Qualcomm project enabling student teachers to support content learning and critical thinking with the aid of smart phones. In addition, he is developing an Authentic Critical Thinking Task (ACTT) Guide, an online performance support system to help teachers begin to design lessons to enhance specific critical thinking skills using web resources.
Dr. Luke Duesbery, Special Education, works in schools promoting teaching and learning with emphasis on critical thinking in content areas. He provides professional development and implementation support to teachers and administrators throughout San Diego with a focus on evaluating impact of teaching critical thinking. He is an officer in AERA’s Research Use Special Interest Group with whom he recently co-developed an online tool to bridge research with practice (www.researchbriefs.org).
Dr. Nancy Farnan, Associate Dean for Faculty Development, Research, and Special Projects, is Principal Investigator on a grant training new teachers for Linked Learning pathway programs--reform-oriented secondary schools that prepare all students for both college and career. Integrated curriculum, project- and problem-based learning, and work-based learning experiences support critical and creative thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration.
Dr. Leif Fearn, Teacher Education, teaches writing instruction, educational psychology, and social studies. His extensive publication record over the years has included creative thinking and creative problem solving, writing instruction, grammar, spelling, gifted and talented education, and Indian education.
Dr. Anne Graves, Chair, Special Education, teaches and conducts research addressing instruction in reading and writing for learners with disabilities from diverse backgrounds. She has trained tutors to integrate thinking skills in reading with gifted English language learners and is working with pre-service teachers to field test an approach to teaching critical thinking skills in reading with students with disabilities.
Dr. Sandy Kay, Special Education, contributes to art education, creativity research, and gifted journals and books. Her research focuses on developing talent/expertise and problem-finding in creative thought, visual thinking, and other habits of mind that engage imagination and promote inquiry. She is producing a documentary on art educator Wally McGuire who teaches creative thinking through abstract art sculptures at Storm King Art Center in New York.
Dr. Margie Kitano, Director, CTCTC, works with teachers, schools, and district personnel to promote critical and creative thinking among children and youth. Her professional publications focus on working with gifted students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. She recently assisted in developing national standards for teachers of the gifted and for p-12 programs.
Dr. Carla Mathison, Educational Technology, is working on a Qualcomm project that uses augmented reality experiences via mobile technology to promote 3rd grade children’s understanding of the theme that all living things are interconnected. The project integrates with the existing 3rd grade curriculum at Rosa Parks and Hamilton Elementary. Dr. Mathison works extensively with museum educators. One project examines visual literacy strategies to enhance students’ critical thinking.
Dr. Alan McCormack, Teacher Education, is President of the National Science Teachers Association. In addition to numerous academic books and awards, Dr. McCormack is known for his zany presentations based on the imagined accomplishments of Professor Glorpy, an oddball scientist/ inventor of counter-common-sense devices used to stimulate student motivation and creative thinking skills. More recently, Alan’s Professor Dumbledore uses discrepant events to provoke scientific curiosity.
Dr. Valerie Pang, Teacher Education, is a prolific researcher/writer in Multicultural/Social Studies Education. A recent and highly relevant publication supports teachers’ work connecting human rights in the face of natural disasters in an international context. A current project will provide a comprehensive analysis of state achievement data on Asian Americans disaggregated by subgroup.
Carol Prime, Teacher Education, has developed textbooks in several disciplines including the arts and sciences. She is the College’s liaison to the Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) program and is working with High Tech High. She participated in CTCTC workshops and is adapting strategies for pre-service teacher preparation.
Dr. Carol Robinson-Zañartu, School Psychology, with two mentor teachers, developed a model to help students build on prior knowledge and cultural grounding to develop, use, and then bridge thinking skills across content and contexts. The model integrates 21 critical thinking skills with the curriculum, Common Core, and EL standards. Their book, Teaching 21 Thinking Skills for the 21st Century: The MiCOSA Model is scheduled for publication in 2012.
Dr. Alberto J. Rodriguez, Teacher Education/Science Education, has received several NSF grants to support inquiry-based science education, social constructivism, and multicultural education in schools, with emphasis on engaging girls and students from diverse backgrounds in science. His Mars rover scenario uses laptops and wireless probeware for learning science through a problem solving.
Dr. Fernando Rodriguez-Valls, Teacher Education Critical Literacy, SDSU Imperial Valley, coaches ten educadoras de alfabetizacion who work with 150 migrant families participating in the Migrant Education Early Start Program. The project promotes early literacy and adult literacy through critical reading activities and family reading time. A family that critically reads together grows together as a biliterate, democratic unit.
Center activities receive support from community volunteers committed to its mission. Karen Moffitt, Katie Pedersen, and Ann MacDonald are retired San Diego Unified educators who continue to teach, consult, and work with pre-service and in-service teachers. Karen and Ann have participated in training to use tools designed to observe student engagement in critical and creative thinking.
Contact the CTCTC
The Center welcomes ideas and comments as well as new members who have interest in enhancing critical thinking and creativity in schools.
Contact Margie Kitano, Center Director, at email@example.com.
2011 Fall Assembly
August 24, 2011 ~ Faculty and staff for the College of Education attended the 2011 Fall Assembly. Guest speakers included Mr. Bill Kowba, Superintendent for San Diego Unified School District, Dr. Francisco C. Rodriguez, President of Mira Costa College, and Dr. Eliot Hirshman, SDSU President.
Dr. Evans wins Examplary Research Award
Congratulations to SDSU College of Education Professor, Dr. Ronald Evans! Dr. Evans has been selected as the 2011 winner of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) Exemplary Research in Social Studies Award.
About the NCSS Exemplary Research in Social Studies Award:
It is the mission of National Council for the Social Studies to engage and support educators in strengthening and advocating social studies, where social studies is defined as the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence. In support of this mission, NCSS and the Research Community sponsor this annual research award designed to recognize an exemplary single-study research conception, model, design, procedure and analysis in social studies and social education.
For the purpose of this award, social education includes work in the individual social sciences; women's studies and gender studies; multicultural, citizenship, global, economic, and geographic education; decision making; reflective inquiry; moral education; critical theory; teacher education; teacher thinking; and teaching-learning phenomena. In addition, research is broadly defined to include experimental, qualitative, historical, and philosophical work.
Read more about the Exemplary Research in Social Studies Award
Social studies educators teach students the content knowledge, intellectual skills, and civic values necessary for fulfilling the duties of citizenship in a participatory democracy. The mission of National Council for the Social Studies is to provide leadership, service, and support for all social studies educators.
Founded in 1921, National Council for the Social Studies has grown to be the largest association in the country devoted solely to social studies education. NCSS engages and supports educators in strengthening and advocating social studies. With members in all the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 69 foreign countries, NCSS serves as an umbrella organization for elementary, secondary, and college teachers of history, civics, geography, economics, political science, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and law-related education. Organized into a network of more than 110 affiliated state, local, and regional councils and associated groups, the NCSS membership represents K-12 classroom teachers, college and university faculty members, curriculum designers and specialists, social studies supervisors, and leaders in the various disciplines that constitute the social studies.
Read more about NCSS at http://socialstudies.org
New Faculty for the College of Education
Dr. J. Luke Wood
Administration, Rehabilitation, and Postsecondary Education Dept.
Dr. Wood received his Ph.D. from Arizona State University and his Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from CSU Sacramento. Dr. Wood is an educational researcher focusing on community colleges. His areas of interest include ethical leadership, decision-making and Black male success. Wood's work on ethics examines how ethical paradigms (particularly the ethic of local community) can guide leaders' consideration of alternative courses of action in decision-making processes. His research on Black males centers on student success, broadly defined (including engagement, persistence, remediation, achievement, transfer). Wood has two texts, Community College Leadership & Administration: Theory, Practice and Change (2010, Peter Lang) and Black Males in College: Implications for HBCU's and Beyond (in press for Dec 2011, Routledge). He is also co-editor of the Journal of African American Males in Education (JAAME).
Dr. Sarah Garrity
Child and Family Development Dept.
Dr. Garrity received her Ed.D from UC San Diego and CSU San Marcos. She received her Master’s from San Diego State University and her Bachelor’s from University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Garrity has been a practitioner in the field of early childhood education for almost twenty years as a teacher, administrator, and literacy coach. She has also been a lecturer in the Department of Child and Family Development for the past two years, teaching classes in administration, literacy/school readiness and positive behavioral support. Her areas of interest include teacher preparation, leadership, and the relationships between teacher beliefs and practices. Her research focuses on using mixed methods research techniques to learn more about the complexities of educational settings, particularly the cultural and linguistic origins of teacher practices.
Dr. Joey Nuñez Estrada, Jr.
Counseling and School Psychology Dept.
Dr. Estrada received his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. He received his M.S.W. from UC Los Angeles and his Bachelor’s from UC Santa Barbara. Dr. Estrada's research interests include school violence, street gang culture, school-based intervention, resiliency and youth empowerment. His work has been published in major academic journals, and he has presented his research at various national and international research conferences. He is currently conducting research on the risk and protective factors for gang-involved youth within school communities. He is also excited to be part of the Building Capacity in Military-Connected Schools, a consortium of eight military-connected school districts in San Diego, the Department of Defense Educational Activity, and the University of Southern California. This project empowers schools to create military-friendly school climates that improve students' academic, behavioral, and social outcomes. In his spare time, Dr. Estrada enjoys spending time with family, coaching youth football, attending live music and poetry events, and riding his motorcycle along the coast.
Dr. James Marshall
Educational Technology Dept.
Dr. Marshall received his Ph.D. from San Diego State University & Claremont Graduate University and his Master’s and Bachelor’s from San Diego State University. Dr. Marshall specializes in Instructional Systems Design (ISD) and the development of technology-based learning and performance support systems. His interests include human and organizational performance, e-learning and program evaluation. His research agenda involves technology-delivered interventions and their impact on individual and organizational performance. He has conducted multiple public media studies investigating diverse outcomes achieved through public broadcast media and related programs in communities across the United States. Recent research investigated pre-course decision points considered by online learners in graduate programs. His current work seeks to define, and track the evolution of, e-learning and learning measurement practice in corporations, and government and educational institutions.
Dr. Cristian Aquino-Sterling
Policy Studies in Language and Cross-Cultural Education Dept.
Dr. Aquino-Sterling received his Ph.D. from Arizona State University. He received his Master’s from Columbia University and his Bachelor’s from Fordham University. Dr. Aquino-Sterling specializes in the theory and practice of teaching and learning in culturally and linguistically diverse contexts. His research interests pertain to the linguistic and cross-cultural preparation of teachers for bilingual/dual-language classrooms (national/international comparative perspectives), alternative models of schooling-education (e.g., the Cristo Rey Network http://www.cristoreynetwork.org/), and transformative/global citizenship education with a focus on the U.S. Hispanic/Latino population and Haitian and Haitian-Dominican children in his native Dominican Republic. He is presently designing a mixed-methods research study of the linguistic (Spanish-English) and cross-cultural profiles of bilingual/dual-language teachers in the U.S., the impact of these teacher competencies on student attainment, and the implications for bilingual/dual-language teacher certification programs. Prior to joining SDSU, Dr. Aquino-Sterling worked at The Lauder Institute/Wharton School of Business, where he taught Spanish and Intercultural Competencies (IC) for Business communication, and assisted in the coordination of Lauder’s summer immersion programs (México, Argentina, Spain). He enjoys meditating, traveling, learning new languages (currently Portuguese and Haitian-Creole), and volunteering at local and international levels: http://www.vfp.org/.
Dr. Scot Danforth
Professor and Director
School of Teacher Education
Dr. Danforth received his Ph.D. from the University of South Florida. He received his M.Ed. from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and his B.A. from the College of William & Mary. Dr. Danforth is an educational scholar working in the field of disability studies. He is co-editor of Disability Studies Quarterly, the journal of the Society for Disability Studies. His scholarship over the past sixteen years has examined the social construction of childhood disabilities, with a particular emphasis on the professional discourse of special educators and psychologists. In recent years, he has conducted research on the history of the science of learning disabilities. His 2009 book The Incomplete Child: An Intellectual History of Learning Disabilities and more recent articles investigate how medical, psychological, and educational research contributed to the birth of the learning disability construct.
New Staff for the College of Education
Administration, Rehabilitation and Postsecondary Education
Wendy Bracken has worked in education for many years, first as a teaching assistant in an elementary school for children with emotional and behavioral disorders and then as a graduate teaching assistant for the SDSU psychology program Companionship Therapy course. After completing her research on the effects of physical and verbal aggression on cardiovascular reactivity, she received her Masters degree from SDSU's Psychology program in 2003 and shortly thereafter served as the coordinator of SDSU’s Human Research Protection Program. In this role, she assisted researchers in understanding the ethical issues of involving human participants in research and in navigating the IRB application and review process. She is now pursuing her Ed.D in Educational Leadership at SDSU.
Child & Family Development
Karen Bobczynski is the new Department Coordinator for the Department of Child and Family Development. Karen received her BA from SDSU in Psychology and her MA in Organizational Management from Ashford University. She comes to us with plenty of administrative experience having worked at The Golden Door Resort in San Marcos for 30 years. She is interested in health & nutrition, loves to hike, enjoys travelling and is very happy to be in her new position here at SDSU.
Administrative Support Coordintaor
Ezequiel Noyola comes to us from UC San Diego, where he worked for four years as a staff member in the School of Engineering, and three years at the School of Medicine as a student worker. He graduated from UCSD with a B.A. in Chinese Studies. He is originally from Los Angeles, but has lived in San Diego most of his life. Ezequiel enjoys road trips, jogging with his dog, Tater, and going to the movies [before noon] on the weekends.
Lisa Paulino is the new Administrative Assistant for the Math/Science Teacher Initiative Program under the College of Education. She has a Master's degree in Special Education from the University of Guam. She is a proud member of the California Air National Guard. She recently relocated to San Diego from the Island of Guam. She has 10 years of work experience in Education through the Guam Department of Education as a Consulting Resource Teacher. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, baking, and traveling. She is delighted to have this opportunity to be part of SDSU.
Advising and Recruitment Specialist
Office of Student Services
Jackie Fuller started with the College of Education in February 2011 as the Advising and Recruitment Specialist in the Office of Student Services. Jackie has an M.A. in Education from San Diego State University and a B.S. in Anthropology from Santa Clara University. Jackie has a professional background in Student Affairs and before joining the College she worked in SDSU's Residential Education Office from 2008-2010. Jackie enjoys spending her free time reading mystery novels, hanging out with friends, and baking sweet treats for her co-workers!
Sean McCarty is the new Webmaster for the College of Education. Sean received his Masters in Educational Technology from SDSU in 2010. Prior to coming to COE, he worked as an Instructional Designer for a defense contractor. In his spare time, Sean enjoys running, boxing, and spending time at the beach with his friends and family
Last Modified 10/17/11 01:33