Preparation For Critical Instruction

How to Explain Subject Matter While Teaching All Learners to Think, Read, and Write Critically 

Preparation for Critical Instruction (2016)

Table of Contents

From a book review by Kathleen A. Tobin in Global Education Review.

  • “Preparation for Critical Instruction is thought provoking and particularly useful for instructors at secondary and post-secondary levels … It has become increasingly important to include critical instruction in the classroom and devise ways to assess critical thinking [and reading and writing] among students, so any assistance from experts is appreciated. [Reading] Maiorana’s… perspectives [and] work may well be a step in the right direction.”
  • “Mind grammar, says Maiorana, is the ‘innate, systematic, and patterned way that the human mind develops and encounters the world and all its subject matter (p. 5),’ and it provides the means to critically understand it. [This] simplifies the ways in which we … [can practice critical instruction] … in our teaching. Maiorana is correct [when he says] …that this kind of thinking is innate.  [This makes] the task of getting our students to think [and read and write critically] … much less daunting.”

“… written material should not be read passively and simply for information; rather, [with mind grammar] the reader [is empowered to] … take intellectual [critical] charge of textual material (p. 89).” Click here to read a summary of Kathleen A. Tobin’s book review in Global Education Review. Click here to read the whole review.

Maiorana, V. P. (2016). Preparation for Critical Instruction – How to Explain Subject Matter While Teaching All Learners to Think, Read, and Write Critically.  Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.


Preface xi
Acknowledgments xv
Introduction xvii


The Language of Instruction 3
Subject Matter Objective 3

Instructional Strategy, Technique, and Method 3
Subject Matter 5
Subject Matter Universals 5
Mind Grammar 5
Understand and Comprehend 5
Explain 6
Critical Thinking 7
Cogeracy 8
Critical Learning and Critical Instruction 8
The Consequences of a Professional Language of Instruction 9
Questions 10
Notes 10
Bibliography 11

2 The Nature of Subject Matter and Mind Grammar 13
Subject Matter Objective 13

The Nature of Subject Matter 14 Theory and Principles of Subject Matter 15 The Innate Nature of Mind Grammar 16 Theory and Principles of Mind Grammar 18 Conventional and Mind Grammar Are Both Systems of Thought 19 Why One Size Fits All to Understand, Comprehend, and Explain Subject Matter 21 Mind Grammar, Translation, and the English Language Learner 22 Mind Testing the Concept of Mind Grammar 23 Consequences of Subject Matter Universals and Mind Grammar 24 Questions 24 Notes 25 Bibliography 25

3 Thinking: The First Language Art 27
Subject Matter Objective 27

Recall Thinking 27 Logical Thinking 28 Critical Thinking 31 Creative Thinking 36 Consequences of the First Language Art 36 Questions 37 Notes 37 Bibliography 38


Introduction to Critical Learning 41

Subject Matter Objective 41 Subject Matter Speaks 41 Understanding and Comprehending Subject Matter 43 Introduction to Critical Learning: The Basics of Mind Grammar 44 The Mind Grammar Interview: Learning to Inverview Critically 47 The Subject Matter Display 49 Pathways to Still Deeper Learning 52 The Larger Consequences of Mind Grammar 52 Questions 56 Notes 57 Bibliography 58

5 Critical Understanding with Mind Grammar 1    59
Subject Matter Objective 59

Subject Matter Topic and Display Title 59 Subject Matter Objective 60 Subject Matter Activities 63 Subject Matter Resources 64 General Procedure for Achieving Understanding with MG1 65 General Procedure for Assessing a Subject Matter Display 66 Consequences of MG1 67 Summary 68 Questions 68 Note 73 Bibliography 73

6 Critical Comprehension with Mind Grammar 2    75
Subject Matter Objective 75

Subject Matter Topic, Title, Objective, Activities, and Resources 75 Subject Matter Consequences 77 General Procedure for Achieving Critical Comprehension with MG2 78 Consequences of MG2 80 Summary 81 Questions 81 Bibliography 82

7 Read for Critical Comprehension 83
Subject Matter Objective

83 What Does It Mean to Read Critically? 83 Read to Understand Critically 84 Read to Comprehend Critically 86 Additional Factors for Critical Reading 88 How to Personalize the Critical Reading Procedures 89 Consequences of Critical Reading 89 Summary 90 Questions 90 Notes 97 Bibliography 98

8 Write for Critical Explanation 99

Subject Matter Objective 99

What Does It Mean to Write for Critical Explanation? 99 The Critical Thinking Writing Plan 99 Select Topic 100 Develop Critical Outline 101 Research Topic 104 Write Critical Draft: General Considerations 104 Example Drafts That Explain Critically for Understanding 106 Example Draft That Explains Critically for Comprehension 108 Revise 108 Edit 110 Proofread 110 Distribute 110 A Critical Summary of Writing for Critical Explanation 110 Consequences of Writing for Critical Explanation 110 Summary 112 Questions 112 Notes 114 Bibliography 115


9 Case Study: Critical Learning Leads to Critical Instruction 119
Subject Matter Objective 119

Case Study 119 Workshop Introduction 119 Case Study Part 1: Typical Instructional View of Subject Matter 120 Case Study Part 2: Critical Thinking for Understanding (Mind Grammar 1) 121 Case Study Part 3: Critical Thinking for Comprehension (Mind Grammar 2) 124 Case Study Part 4: From Critical Learning to Critical Instruction 125 Reprise: How Do You Know When You Understand Something? 127 Questions 127 Notes 127 Bibliography 127

10 Introduction to Critical Instruction 129
Subject Matter Objective 129

How to Design Classroom Assignments for Critical Learning 129 Regular Classroom Use of Critical Instruction 133 Informally Introducing Students to Critical Learning 138 Formally Introducing Students to Critical Learning 138 Questions Regarding Critical Instruction Practice 139 A Unique Responsibility of Teachers 141 Consequences of Critical Instruction Practice 141 Questions 143 Notes 144 Bibliography 144 Glossary 145 Index 149 About the Author 155