|Reading and writing for critical thinking (RWCT)
RWCT is a professional development project for
educators, the purpose of which is to provide
participants with strategies for interactive methods of teaching that
prepare pupils for active citizenship. RWCT is based on the idea that
democratic practices in schools play an important role in the
transition toward more open societies.
The project is offered as collaboration between
the Open Society Institute-New York and the Consortium for Democratic
Pedagogy, which is composed of the International Reading Association's
International Division and the University of Northern Iowa's Office of
Education for Democracy and the Orava Project in
RWCT is active in the following countries:
Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Guatemala,
Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia,
Moldova, Mongolia, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro,
Slovenia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.
RWCT introduces research-based instructional
methods to teachers and teacher educators. These methods are designed
to help students think reflectively, take ownership of their personal
learning, understand the logic of arguments, listen attentively, debate
confidently and become independent, lifelong learners. The program can
be used in all grades and subjects with existing curricula.
more about RWCT project
is critical thinking? // Thinking Classroom. 2001(4).
Responsibility and Democratic Schools // Thinking
Classroom. Vol.3, No.2, 2002.
|International RWCT Consortium
In 2003 representatives of RWCT countries made a
decision to approach all the in-country people about creating a network
of critical thinkers. This network of the RWCT countries is an
objective necessity as it can support the community of teachers,
faculty, students, and parents, everyone who has come to value
democratic approaches in education in the course of the past 6 and a
half years when RWCT program has been implemented in this part of the
Coming together in Vilnius (Lithuania) on 15
March 2004, representatives of 23 organizations from 22 countries
(Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech
Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova,
Mongolia, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia,
Slovenia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan) signed the Agreement on of
the RWCT International Consortium.
The mission of the Consortium is as follows: "The
RWCT International Consortium provides professional development
opportunities for educators who bring up highly motivated and well
educated citizens capable of critical thinking, setting and achieving
their own and community goals, and bearing social responsibility".
Founders of Consortium
Signature of the agreement
Development of Consortium action plans
about RWCT International Consortium
|Reading and writing for critical thinking project in Lithuania
Project duration: 1997-2000
Since 2001 project was transformed into permanent in-service
Project supported by:
Society Institute-New York
Open Society Fund-Lithuania
Before starting RWCT project in Lithuania, quality
of education content in Lithuania schools was revised and the following
conclusions were made:
Research, made in Lithuania, shows, that many people meet problems,
because of the lack of self-confidence, critical attitude towards
personal abilities and capacity to reflect and make decisions. Those
problems create barrier for personal and professional development.
Those skills are very important for their future career and adaptation
in society. The young people must be prepared to meet challenges of the
rapidly changing world and information. Developing critical thinking,
as universal strategy, is still one of the biggest needs in society.
- students are lack of skills of information
search, selection and evaluation, reflective thinking, attentive
- memorization of facts is prevailing as
background of learning process;
- students are unable to make practical knowledge
they amassed in school;
- students' creativity is restricted;
- teachers apply very few modern teaching methods
in their practice;
- system of knowledge evaluation is imperfect;
- there are no evidences of information and
democratic society in Lithuania schools.
RWCT project has identified a set of behaviours
and characteristics which are consistent with the characteristics many
others have thought best serve as the foundation of democratic
interchange.Advantages of the project
Participants leave RWCT workshops ready to implement the strategies in
their own classrooms.
RWCT is effectively implemented in primary and secondary classrooms, in
pedagogical high schools, and in university classrooms, across many
Adaptable to local conditions
RWCT is designed for use with existing curricula and existing materials.
Designed to build local capacity
Mentored by a select group of international educators, RWCT builds a
corps of skilled, in-country teacher trainers giving each country the
capacity for national expansion.
- To implement democratic practices in Lithuania
schools in order to promote educational reform.
- To introduce into schools strategies for
interactive methods of teaching that prepares pupils for citizenship in
- To set up models and methods of staff
professional development that can be used to train teachers long after
the project is complete.
Project volunteers in Lithuania
| Wendy SAUL, University of Maryland (USA)
Jeanne REARDON, Montgomery County Public School (USA)
Janice DOLE, University of Utah (USA)
Bonnie MORGAN, Utah State Office of Education (USA)
activities in Lithuania
Lithuania joined the RWCT network in 1997.
The project was started
under one of educational programs of Open Society Fund-Lithuania.
During the first year of the project
volunteers from the International Reading Association, experts in the
methods they present, were assigned to work with the in-country
leadership team, formed from Lithuania primary, secondary schools,
gymnasiums and universities. RWCT lecturers of the first generation,
able to eventually demonstrate and teach these methods to others, were
prepared. In year II, the first generation participants trained
teachers of the second generation. All these teachers became a part of
the local leadership core.
Since 1998 dissemination activities were
started and institutionalization strategy was developed.
48 schools and education centres have participated
in the project during 1997-2000, over 600 teachers from various
Lithuanian schools attended RWCT seminars.
After the RWCT project end in 2000, newly
established Modern Didactics Center took over the project and turned it
to permanent in-service training programme of the centre. MDC coordinates
network of trainers, delivers RWCT courses for teachers, organizes
certification processes and initiates other activities ensuring project
RWCT programme, starting from 1997 till now has
faced many challenges. Any way
it still remains to serve as background for many RWCT-Lithuania team
works. It had tremendous impact on personal and professional growth on
|Seeking to sustain program quality, MDC started a
certification of RWCT teachers and lecturers in 2001. To become
certified as a workshop leader, an RWCT participant must complete 8
days RWCT course, additional 2 days adult education course and must
provide portfolio of the program implementation in their lessons.
There are three generations of RWCT lecturers -
more than 30
active trainers, working in higher, secondary and primary schools.
Each summer MDC organizes in-service training
courses for RWCT lecturers.
The trainers of RWCT project from Lithuania were invited to work as
international experts, consultants and teachers in the frame of the
project in Slovakia (2000), Bosnia (2000), Belarus (2000-2002), Poland
|Since 1997 four schools joined the RWCT programme
and became RWCT centers-modelling schools. These schools with a
significant proportion of teacher educators familiar with RWCT
methodologies serve as demonstration sites for both pre-service and
in-service teachers: teachers apply RWCT methods in their lessons,
deliver workshops for other teachers, and organize open lessons. They
also provide the basis for students' teaching practices.
Vilnius primary school "Vyturys"
Director Ausra DRUMSTIENE
Taikos str. 189, LT-05209 Vilnius
Tel., fax. +370 5 246 0740
Director Jolanta Gertruda KNYVIENE
J. Jasinskio str. 11, LT-01111 Vilnius
Tel., fax. +370 5 249 6517
Director Laima SPIRGIENE
K.Kalinausko str. 2, LT-99130 Silute
Tel., fax. +370-441 62 008
Director Rima GUOBIENE
Jaunimo str. 5, LT-33127 Moletai
Tel.+370 383 54 504, fax. +378 383 51 032
||Mazeikiai Ziburelis primary school
Director Jovita MINGELIENE
Gamyklos str. 4/3, LT-89231 Mazeikiai
Tel. fax. +370 443 66 346
MDC presents for teachers introductory 2 days
course to RWCT. First day is obligatory course on RWCT framework,
second day is optional course on the following topics:
1. Creating the Environment for Critical Thinking
2. Methods for Promoting Critical Thinking
3. Cooperative Learning
4. Lesson Planning
5. Assessment and Evaluation
6. Writing for Thinking
7. Creating Thoughtful Readers
8. Reading Workshop
9. School Library in the Change: Promoting Critical Thinking
10. Critical Thinking for Health Education
More than 800 teachers attending RWCT courses each
After completing of courses, teachers are provided by the certificates
of RWCT courses participants.
The full RWCT course of 8 days (48 hours) usually
is organized for teachers' team from one particular school. The
workshops are designed to model interactive instruction and learning.
They are built around demonstration lessons, with opportunities for
discussion, practice, and questions. Completing the whole RWCT course
teachers usually following further RWCT certification procedures in
order to become RWCT teachers and lecturers.
Since 2002 Modern Didactics Center
organizes international Critical Thinking in-service training
about the courses
|Since the very beginning of project lecturers of
Vilnius Pedagogical University were involved as project participants
In 1998 the course "Developing of Critical Thinking in Teaching
Different Subjects" was offered to Vilnius University and Vilnius
Pedagogical University students as one semester duration optional
credit course. Since 1999 this initiative have been prolonged only in
Vilnius Pedagogical University. More than 100 students attending this
course each semester.
MDC seeks to extend relationships with
universities and colleges and organizes RWCT courses, annual Summer and
Winter camps for teachers and students in order to present effective
teaching and learning strategies and involve them in the RWCT project.
In 2002 MDC initiated the two year project for
higher schools "Critical
Development in Higher Education".
|On the basis of Critical Thinking programme MDC
developed several international projects:
/ Critical Thinking Development for Successful Future Career in EU,
/ Critical Thinking Development for Successful Future Career in EU:
Development: Training Programme for Belarus Educators, 2000-2002
Development in Higher Education, 2002-2003
Successful Future Career: Training Programme for Kaliningrad Region
Thinking Development: Training Programme for Poland Educators,
- national version of international RWCT journal Thinking
More about publications
Gudzinskiene V. Critical Thinking for Health Education.
Thinking: Theory and Practice. Vilnius, 2001.
Thinking for Career Education: Integrated
Programme and Guidebook. Vilnius, 2003, 2006.
Thinking for Career Education:
Specialized Programme and Guidebook. Vilnius, 2003, 2006.
Thinking for Successful Future Career. Practical Approach: Training
Programme. Training Manual. Vilnius, 2005.
Teacher's and Lecturer's Certification Standards and Procedures.
Development in Higher Education: Study Programmes. Vilnius,
Dauksiene D., Navickaite A., Jariene R.
Effective reading strategies: Reading workshop. Vilnius, 2008+DVD
1999 the sociological survey was made to
evaluate the efficiency and improvement perspectives of the RWCT
project in Lithuania.
Summary of the survey
In April 2000, the Open Society Institute
commissioned the American Institutes for Research
to conduct an evaluation of the RWCT project.
OSIs Education Support Program (ESP), in charge of the Critical Thinking program, has decided to conduct a Critical Thinking Program Review (CTPR), a fact-finding exercise to document the impact of the RWCT program in the countries which have implemented the RWCT program.
The review included all 28 countries that implemented the RWCT program with support from OSI in the period between 1997 and 2004. The review targeted two aspects:
sustainability of the original RWCT Project outputs and outcomes and RWCT related developments that were initiated by in-country RWCT Program Directors and trainers.
For data collection there were used document review, focus groups
Evaluation target groups were RWCT Teachers, University faculties, RWCT Trainers,
RWCT in-country program partners.
Development of Critical Thinking and Teacher Training in the XXI-st
century - Opportunities for Change. 21-23 February 2000,
The conference was devoted for pre-service
teacher training issues not only in the Soros network countries, but
the whole world. The quests from 10 countries had opportunity not only
to share their experience, but also visited Lithuanian schools -
methodical centres of critical thinking development - and observed
lessons. Lithuania teachers prepared practical recommendations for
pre-service teacher training institutions: what necessary changes we
in XXI century. The 60 participants from USA, Check Republic, Bulgaria,
Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania were
involved into very active planning for the future cooperation and left
with concrete engagements.
Meeting of RWCT Higher Education
Initiative Planning and
17-19 January 2001, Vilnius.
RWCT Publication Meeting.
anniversary of RWCT project in
Lithuania. 16-20 September 2002, Vilnius.
Celebrating the fifth anniversary of RWCT project, 16-20 September was
announced as Critical Thinking Week in Lithuanian schools. During the
week in RWCT
centers-modelling schools there were organized mini-conferences,
discussions, open lessons, in-service training seminars for RWCT
trainers. Project directors J.Steele and K.Meredith came to Lithuania
to congratulate Lithuanian team.
Project directors J.Steele,
K.Meredith and State
secretary of Ministry of
Education and Science
D.Numgaudis (in the center)
Dr. K.Meredith lecture
"Happy People" at
Vilnius Pedagogical University
Award of acknowledgement
of Ministry of Education and
Science to RWCT schools
anniversary of RWCT project in
Lithuania. 19-23 March 2007, Vilnius, Silute, Moletai, Mazeikiai
Anniversary was celebrated by announcing Reading Week in Lithuanian
schools. There were organised a lot of reading activities during all
lessons: presentations of books, discussions, actions, meetings with
writers and publishers, book fairs.