Imbedding literacy and critical thinking skill development into content while embracing culture and diversity in the classroom

By Ryan Bell

By teaching the Socratic Method for discussion and debate, and classroom instruction that relies on skill-building critical thinking skills and literacy development can have a profound impact on creating deeper learning connections. By using sheltered instruction and scaffolding tools taken from the ELD framework, my Action Research shows that not only can I teach students how to break down primary and secondary sources, but also develop literacy skills, while creating a culturally inclusive and diverse classroom.

The methods used for this action research include evidence that allowed students to develop deeper literacy and critical thinking skills. Students were able to learn using my philosophy of teaching method of Social Constructivist. I believe in the Social Constructivist theory that students make deeper connections by learning and observing the experiences or opinions of others. I found this theory to be profound in my own learning and decided to employ it in my teaching practice. I believe that to create a classroom that embraces culture and diversity the Social Constructivist classroom-style curriculum must be present. This way, students are growing and evolving by learning and collaborating with each other. This action research argues that not only can a social studies teacher implement literacy development within their content area, but also while skill building the content areas core focuses on analysis and examination of issues from the past, present, or future using primary and secondary sources.

Exit Requirement

Action Research

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching (initial licensure)

Committee Chair

Melanie Landon-Hays

Committee Member

Kenneth Carano

Committee Member

Kenneth Ball

Committee Member

Zigmond Derochowski


Scaffolding, Sheltered Instruction, Literacy Development, ESOL, Culture, Diversity



Type (DCMI Terms)


Subject Categories

Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Civic and Community Engagement | Community-Based Learning | Community-Based Research | Educational Sociology | Language and Literacy Education | Race and Ethnicity | Sociology of Culture

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