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Role playing, philosophical discussion, and immer- sion in foreign cultural frameworks act to expand their frames of reference and challenge their perceptions and decision making abilities. In particular, collabo- rative planning appeared to provide a systematic and u tilitarian procedure for the process of writing research papers.
In the past, students appear to have encoun- tered the most difficulty in developing a focus, central thesis, or key point to guide their research. As a result, their papers frequently floundered in a sea of confusion as they attempted to discuss what was, in essence, a nebulous concept at best. Their lack of a key point affected the organization of both their research and their writing. Perhaps collaborative planning could be a means to assist students in focusing and organizing their research as well as their writing. During that school year, collaborative planning was utilized in both the development of the I. The results of this experiment were very rewarding.
The American Federation of Teachers in their AFT Critical Thinking Project state that "Critical Thinking requires an environment where inquiry is valued, where students are not afraid to take risks. In this instance, collaborative planning resulted, indirectly, in a more open classroom environment. Not only had students been willing to share their ideas and com- ments during the collaborative planning sessions, but our daily classroom dialogue was enriched by a more open and accepting atmosphere. In addition, the stu- dents became more adept at recognizing key points and frames of reference in documents which were analyzed in class. These results encouraged me to use the process again during the 1989-90 school year. In the first semes- ter, students engaged in collaborative sessions as they developed their I. While engaged in collaborative planning, the students were animated, involved and on task. A positive dynamic was at work here, and at the end of each session I asked the students to express do my papers their ideas conceming the usefulness of collaboration. Their comments are very revealing: "I believe this is very helpful. Many things which have not occurred to mc are now revealed by discussing," — Krishnan N.
I realized that it helps to have someone helping me by giving me suggestions" — Sara P. As the above comments indicate, something positive was occurring as the result of the collaborative planning process. All the evidence gathered from the students using this method pointed to a substantive change in the manner in which they approached the writing process.
Yet, it was still unclear tome exactly how immersion in collaborative planning promoted critical thinking.
Were the positive student responses merely the results of "feel good" discussions where the students enjoyed the process of bouncing their ideas off one another yet which resulted in little substantive carry-over into the writing of the assigned do my papers papers? The Adventure of the Speckled Band During the second semester, my CAS World Cultures students were required to write a formal term paper.
Collaborative planning sessions were held dur- ing each phase of the project. By having the students struggle with the concepts first, their thought processes could be more precisely traced from vague notions to firmly stated contentions. The experiment I devised concentrated upon three fundamental questions: 1.
How does collaborative planning promote the critical thinking process? What role does the supporter have in the promotion of critical thinking during the collaborative process? Thus, my inquiry conducted in the second semes- ter of the 1989-90 school year focused on establishing a concrete basis for determining the substantive results of collaborative sessions. In addition, the significant role of the supporter as a pro voca teur of critical thought is examined in detail.
Of Memos, Conversations and Audio-tapes "In a morass, Watson? At least we have plenty of material, if we can only use it. What evidence could be found within this data to verify that collaborative planning had improved the writing process and promoted critical thinking? Examination of the data did reveal that a most significant and dynamic process was taking place.
These papers were evaluated in seven categories: clarity of central theme, validity of evidence, depth of explanation, argumentation, depth of research, adherence to instructions, and standard written English. Although not every stu- dent achieved great success in each of these areas, there Collaborative Planning: Concepts, Processes, and Assignmems 43 were significant results for the group, as a whole, in each of these four categories.