FA Collegiate History Class Prompts Critical Thinking
With his 12th grade students seated along the perimeter of the room, Edwin Benavides opens US History class by asking how the government is involved in their lives. “Taxes!” “Driver’s license!” “Unemployment benefits” are some of their responses.
That question sets the stage for a deeper dive into implications of a leaked draft US Supreme Court opinion that would reverse the 50-year-old Roe v Wade decision on privacy rights to abortion.
Putting current events in context of history — and examining historical events from today’s lens — enables young adult students to develop critical thinking skills. Across Foundation Academy Collegiate, teachers are focused on empowering these scholars and equipping them with skills needed to live purpose-filled lives.
Benavides has shared a download of the leaked document with the class, explaining the importance of primary sources and not relying on interpretations by media outlets and others. He asks “Was the Supreme Court correct in Roe v Wade? Why or Why Not”
Students share strong opinions, but Benavides challenges them to consider how they can support those statements. “Feelings are important,” he says.”But what is more important is evidence.”
Benavides instructs students to review various “pro” and “con” arguments — and then select the best one among comments opposite to their own point of view. “You need to listen to those who don’t agree with you,” he advises.
“I’m a soccer coach and teams often watch opponents’ game videos to prepare,” he says. “It’s important to see where (opponents) are coming from so you can expand your own knowledge.”