1st Edition

Thinking Like a Generalist Skills for Navigating a Complex World

By Angela Kohnen, Wendy Saul Copyright 2020

    What can we teach kids today that will have utility ten or fifteen years from now? Angela Kohnen and Wendy Saul propose an approach to information literacy that goes beyond the teaching of discreet, easily outdated skills. Instead they use activity to help students build identities as curious individuals empowered to ask their own questions and able to navigate their information-filled world in pursuit of credible answers. A generalist is curious, open-minded, skeptical, and persistent in their quest for information. Thinking Like a Generalist: Skills for Navigating a Complex World demonstrates what it means to take a generalist stance in instruction and provides a set of teaching tools to be able to pass those skills to students'sskills that will transfer beyond the walls of the classroom. Inside you'll find the following:

    • A thorough introduction to what it means to be a generalist, and how to develop the practices and tools that help generalists navigate the world we live in
    • A focus on the teacher becoming a generalist and tips for modeling those practices in the classroom
    • Detailed instructions on how to write a unit of study that emphasizes generalist literacy skills and includes an overview and examples of five different units
    • How to use the authors' read-aloud-think-aloud strategy to orient students to generalist tools and practices
    The ideas, strategies, and examples Thinking Like a Generalist will give you the tools to think like a generalist and then pass that knowledge on to your students, guiding them to become inquisitive, lifelong learners and preparing them for a future that we can't yet imagine.

    Part I: The Case For Generalist Literacy; Chapter 1: Meet the Generalist; Chapter 2: Promoting a Generalist Identity; Chapter 3: Doing what Generalists do; Part II: A Self-Guided Course; Chapter 4: Getting Started; Chapter 5: Meet the Generalist; Chapter 6: Evaluating Sources; Chapter 7: Navigating the Landscape; Chapter 8: Powering Through to the End; Chapter 9: Self-Guided Course: A Final Word; Part III: Examples from the Classroom; Chapter 10: Planning Units of Study


    Angela M. Kohnen is an Assistant Professor of Literacy Education at the University of Florida. Prior to earning her doctorate at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, she taught English Language Arts in the St. Louis area. She loves working with students at all levels to explore questions of genuine curiosity.

    Wendy Saul, formerly the Allen B. and Helen S. Shopmaker Chair of Education and International Studies at the University of Missouri-St Louis – is now retired but still spends countless hours thinking with her former students and colleagues about generalist literacy; connections between science, reading and writing; and active learning and critical thinking in under-resourced settings, both here and abroad.

    "With Thinking Like a Generalist, you will help your students understand and become lifelong learners—the greatest gift of all."
    —Deborah Heiligman