Critical Thinking is incorporated in the A.C.E. program

A.C.E. has developed its educational materials with a view to providing an excellent education for children. Incorporated into each PACE are developmental elements designed to build and to enhance a child’s critical thinking skills. These elements include: rote memory, comprehension, application, analysis, evaluation and creation. Developed in order, these six elements form a building block approach to excellent education.

Most proponents of developing critical thinking skills recognize these six elements. Benjamin Bloom, in his taxonomy, identifies them as six steps to mastery learning. Sometimes these elements are termed higher thinking skills, cognitive skills or creative thinking skills.

A.C.E. defines the term “critical thinking” in relation to the child’s ability to think creatively and independently within a Biblical framework. This means that the child is able to reach sound conclusions based upon all the facts available, to solve problems creatively.

For forty-four years, A.C.E. has maintained that young children think primarily in concrete rather than abstract terms. Consequently, the PACE structure and activities in lower grade levels present exercises requiring simpler forms of critical thinking.

As the student progresses through the curriculum levels, he is presented with increasingly challenging activities. These more complex exercises further develop his critical thinking abilities. Both academic and spiritual truths are treated in this manner.

Every PACE addresses the development of critical thinking skills. Foundationally, rote memory is the essential starting block. For this reason, lower level PACEs provide frequent opportunities for the child to memorize.

Comprehension skills are exercised by means of math exercises, fill-in-the-blank questions, and objective-answer questions. Application skills are developed through the use of word problems, puzzles, science projects and essay questions.

Analytical skills are challenged by the use of mazes, examination of prose and poetry, and geometric proofs. Analytical activities can be readily identified by words and terms such as “think”, “best answer”, “answer may vary”, “from what you have read” and “the answer may not be obvious.” Evaluation thinking is also seen throughout the PACEs as students are asked to assess and critique the topics of discussion.

All research projects, outlining, higher math, science concepts and lab reports provide practice in synthesis. Activities in Student Convention provide many opportunities to develop, design and create projects from scratch. Creating is the highest thinking skill. (Extracts from Parent Accelegram 1987)

A.C.E. Procedures are Critical to a Child’s Learning

A.C.E. is a Program that is learning focused; provides character training; and develops thinking skills

A.C.E. is more than a text-book curriculum. Some users, who see the PACEs as textbooks or workbooks, take the approach that by merely reading and passing the PACE test, they have completed the program. This is far from the truth and consequently, their students miss out on many of the benefits A.C.E. offers.

Character Training

The PACEs teach principles of character in all the subjects. However, character training requires the application and correction of these principles. It is the A.C.E. system that puts these principles into application. The raising of the flags, the scoring of the PACEs, the pushing of the chairs, and many more procedures within the A.C.E. program are training students in patience, perseverance, honesty, consideration and many other character traits. This is the application element of character training. Without application, character training is not complete. It is merely character teaching, that is, teaching the principles of character. It is merely knowledge of good character.

Mastery Learning

The PACEs and the procedures of A.C.E. are designed as integral components to develop mastery of concepts and critical thinking. Some users see A.C.E. as merely the workbooks or PACEs. In reality, the PACE is a self-instructional booklet, and it works together with the A.C.E. procedures. In fact, without complying to the procedures, students may be tempted to look for answers instead of learning. Not only will they not master the work, but looking for answers will not enhance their overall learning.

Project Handling & Skill Development

A.C.E. offers more than PACEs. There is the annual Student Convention where students come together in a residential situation and compete in art, craft, platform, music, athletics, academics, and photography. The preparation period that leads to Convention trains students to be committed to following through on the tasks they choose so as to bring them to completion. This is a good training ground for student as it teaches responsibility, perseverance, diligence, confidence, team-work and develops their talents and skills.

Critical Thinking

Student Convention and PACEs are designed to engage students to think in the Higher Order Thinking Skills (Bloom’s Taxonomy – discussed in July 2013 Newsletter). Student Convention provides opportunities to think outside the box, to create new pictures, songs, or playing creatively to attack or defend in sports or chess. Students are challenged to go beyond memorizing and understanding to analyze, evaluate and creatively design their work.

A.C.E. is a Program that is learning focused; provides character training; and develops thinking skills

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