Deborah L. Coates
Mariolga Reyes Cruz
This final research monograph describes intervention research to improve thinking skills in high ability, high school students attending an urban magnet school for primarily low-income ethnic minority students who come from families that have historically experienced social inequality and various forms of discrimination in the United States. The intervention approach used is based on the Sternberg triarchic theory of intelligence. The triarchic approach to giftedness or high ability suggests that intelligence has three components: (a) an analytical ability, (b) creative ability, and (c) practical ability. Following the description of the Teaching Thinking intervention to improve these triarchic abilities, three related studies are also described. These studies focus on language background, language use and writing abilities of these students; students’ perceptions of giftedness; parental perceptions of giftedness and how to offer support for their high ability students; and the thinking styles of college and high school students.
Chapter 1 introduces the study and its main focus on a teaching thinking intervention. It provides a rationale for the approach and the methods used in the primary intervention research. This chapter demonstrates the feasibility of offering a thinking skills intervention to high school students that is based on a college campus. We discuss some of the details of offering such an intervention and provide some evidence that it is possible to identify and involve highly capable under-represented ethnic minority high school students in such an effort, based on Sternberg’s model of giftedness and a triarchic view of intelligence. Chapter 1 also presents evidence that the overall intervention had some differential effects on the participants and that peer tutoring and mentoring components of the intervention, also had differential effects on thinking ability at posttest and on academic performance as measured by writing skill, during the intervention.
Chapter 1 also describes the assessment of triarchic ability skills for 57 participants in the intervention and 69 non-participants all of whom were pretested using the Sternberg Triarchic Abilities Test and the impact of the Teaching Thinking intervention on triarchic components. Chapter 2 describes an embedded study of intervention participants that examined the relationship between language background and language use in this special population of English-speaking youth. In Chapter 3, we describe a survey of parents focused on their aspirations for their children and how they support achievement in these high ability adolescents.
Chapter 4 describes the assessment of thinking styles in thinking skills intervention participants and in diverse sample of ethnic minority college students. In Chapter 5, we present a qualitative and survey approach to understanding how high school and college students understand the nature of giftedness and what it takes to be academic successful, respectively.
Teaching Thinking to Culturally Diverse, High Ability, High School Students: A Triarchic Approach
Deborah L. Coates
Mariolga Reyes Cruz
- College-based intensive and supportive intervention activities improved analytical and creative thinking skills, but not did improve practical skills.
- Despite language background and usage differences between different ethnic groups, there was no difference in student writing performance.
- Confidence in using English was related to writing performance measures rather than a preference for using English.
- Students with higher grade point averages tended to be more hierarchical thinkers (i.e., they tend to prefer tasks that allow the creation of a hierarchy of goals to fulfill).