Teaching Reasoning Methods in the Classroom Essay

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In High Schools across America, students are being told to analyze, synthesize, evaluate, and so on. But do students truly understand what is being asked of them? Has anyone actually taken the time to explain to them what it means to analyze something? A student told to analyze a text may provide a combination of summary and opinion. These two items, while important, do not add up to analysis. Analysis is a more exact process than simply playing critic. In An Introduction to Student Involved Assessment for Learning, Rick Stiggins (2012) walks the reader through a variety of reasoning methods including but not exclusive to analysis, synthesis, and evaluative reasoning. He helps the reader to understand the importance of the cognitive processes behind education and how sometimes the means are more valuable than the ends.
According to Stiggins (2012), analysis involves drawing inferences about a whole based on its parts. Stiggins (2012) illustrates analysis by comparing the analytical scoring of a student’s paper to the holistic scoring of a student’s paper. Scoring a paper holistically involves looking at the paper as a whole. Scoring a paper analytically involves looking at the component parts of that paper (i.e. spelling, grammar, organization) and rating each part separately. Students can apply analysis in several ways. Stiggins (2012) gives a language arts example on page 60 of his textbook. He mentions an assignment in which students describe the process they used while writing a term paper. While this is an excellent example of how analysis can be used in the classroom, it does little to tell us how students can be taught to analyze well. It is not enough to tell students to analyze; one must aid them in understanding how to...

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...the desired mental processes. This is not an easy point to get to. At first it may seem as if students are only scratching the service but, with practice and teacher modeling, students can make great strides in understanding not only what they learn but also how they learn.

Blooms Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (n.d.). Retrieved from http://teaching.uncc.
Gabler, Ina & Schroeder, M. (2003). Constructivist Methods for the Secondary
Classroom. Pearson Education Inc.
Patsalides, L. (2011). Putting the New Bloom’s Taxonomy into Practice. Retrieved from
Stiggins, R. (2012). An Introduction to Student Involved Assessment for Learning (6th ed.)
Boston, MA: Pearson Education Inc.

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