Graduation Date

5-2012

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program

Education

Department or Program Chair

Madalienne F. Peters, Ed.D.

First Reader

Madalienne F. Peters, Ed.D.

Abstract

A key component of good writing is the use of critical thinking skills. Without deeper levels of reflection and thinking, writing becomes superficial, less interesting, and harder to follow. Too many essays do not reflect the use of critical thinking. This paper examines the effects of the Jane Schaffer method and the degree to which it has improved writing skills and critical thinking in my students. The sample consists of two classes of eighth grade students’ written response to literature essays. In looking at this widely used method of teaching essay writing, the paper evaluates strengths and weaknesses of the different strategies of writing insofar as how they create better, reflective thinkers. The research sought to determine how well students were able to create a thesis for a paper, and if they could create three topic sentences that support their thesis. Results indicated that students need more practice writing and more instruction in using critical thinking skills.

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