The purpose of this Action Research Project is to examine how I can effectively teach critical thinking and life skills through the lens of the high school social studies classroom. I designed my research questions to evaluate how I was doing with this objective and how I could improve my teaching practice.

Through gathering data from a variety of sources, I examined the following research questions:

  1. How can I use my lesson plans to successfully support the development of critical thinking skills in my high school social studies classes?

  2. What strategies can I use to implement Evidence-Based and High-Leverage practices to teach critical thinking skills?

  3. How can I construct my lesson plans and implement strategies to correlate social studies with learning skills important for success in life: critical thinking, grammar and spelling.

My data sources included my personal teacher journal, my lesson plans, and commentaries from my Cooperating Teacher and my Field Supervisor. I categorized my data according to several themes, which helped reveal areas of strength and success, and areas that need improvement. I believe that through continuing examination of these ideas I will become a better teacher and will help my students grow in the vital area of critical thinking.

My literature review (chapter 2) and my data (chapter 4) did not reveal as much information as I had hoped relative to my research questions, but they did show where gaps in the research exist and suggested to me the value of continuing work on my research. To me, they represent a career-long inquiry that will result in better teaching and better student performance.

Keywords: teaching, critical thinking, life skills, spelling

Exit Requirement

Action Research

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching (initial licensure)

Committee Chair

Melanie Landon-Hays

Committee Member

Amy Bowden

Committee Member

Jordan Graneto


Keywords: teaching, critical thinking, life skills, spelling



Type (DCMI Terms)

Text; Image; StillImage

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