Looking to help your students go deeper into any content area? One technique is to teach them to “Think Like A Disciplinarian.” This idea, part of the Depth and Complexity Framework, teaches students to analyze ideas from the point of view of a specific profession or discipline.
Thinking Like A Disciplinarian takes the Depth and Complexity prompt of Multiple Perspectives to a new level. A student isn’t just a kid in a math class, but an eight-year-old mathematician, using versions of the same tools, language, and questions that an expert would use.
As you teach students to think as disciplinarians, they can approach the same topic from multiple, well-defined perspectives. The American Revolution can be viewed as a geographer, historian, geographer, sociologist, or political scientist. A study of nuclear power could include the viewpoints of a nuclear engineer, an environmentalist, or a local politician.
Note: I do think the word “disciplinarian” is pretty weird, so I sometimes call this Think Like An Expert.
Think Like A Psychologist
This week my class thought from the point of view of a psychologist to analyze a character from their reading literature.
I asked my students to consider these four questions:
- What behavior is interesting about this character (good or bad)?
- What is the origin of this behavior? When did it start? Why did it start?
- What factors contribute to the behavior? What is making the behavior continue? What is making it worse?
- How do the character’s thoughts and actions form a parallel or a paradox? Does the character mean to do what he does or does it go against his thoughts?
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