Term of Art: Thematic Unit

“thematic unit: A unit of study whose lessons are focused on a specific theme, sometimes covering a variety of subject areas. For example, the theme of inequality may be explored by studying the caste system in India and slavery in the American South. These units may be used as an alternative approach to teaching history, but history educators are critical of the tendency to teach such content without regard to a chronological framework. Themes that lack historical context, the critics say, are superficial and confusing.”

Excerpted from: Ravitch, Diane. EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2007.

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