Counseling & Special Ed,  Education,  Language Arts


Course No. ED477f, ED577f

This course is designed to support teachers in developing the language and techniques for teaching decision-making skills to students. Teaching this skill is important because our decisions shape the quality of our lives, communities, and environment. Many decision-making models are available, and this course is designed around one called Stakeholders-Consequences Decision Making or SCDM. It was developed at Northwestern University to be taught alongside Environmental Science content and in the context of Project-Based Learning. However, it is a flexible model and can be used in many different ways, with multiple grade levels, and in multiple subject areas (including both academic and social-emotional learning). You can confidently use and teach the model through practice. It is powerful for both individual and team-based decisions. 

The course is intended for grades 6-12 PBL and/or science teachers, para-educators, instructional guides, counselors, and administrators. School administrators can use SCDM for school-wide decisions and/or to support staff involvement in decision-making efforts. 

Required Materials:
Dissertation entitled: Assessing Changes in High School Students’ Environmental Decision-Making Skills: Some Methodological Contributions” by Anna Switzer, 2009 included in the “Decision-making Tool-kit” for $35 materials fee payable to the instructor after registration.  Email the instructor directly to arrange payment via Venmo, Zelle, Paypal, or check via snail mail. The PDF file will be sent upon receipt of payment.  Required for all participants.

Required Text:
America’s Critical Thinking Crisis: The Failure and Promise of Education by Steven J Pearlman (2020).
Approximately $20 from Amazon. Required for all 500-level participants only.

We advise you to review and download the course syllabus before registering. Syllabus
  • Reflected on your own current decision-making techniques.
  • Checked current understanding of terms related to decision-making.
  • Familiarized yourself with the Stakeholders-Consequences Decision-Making Model.
  • Gone deeper into decision-making within the environmental context, in order to prompt consideration of your own context more deeply.
  • Used the Cascading Consequences Chart to begin comparing options.
  • Looked deeply at three key aspects of consequences.
  • Considered how “Cascading Consequences” Charts assist in overcoming biases.
  • Considered how values play a role in decision-making.
  • Explored the consequences of utilizing misinformation in decision-making.
  • Considered who and what might be affected by a decision.
  • Created a final decision statement, including your main reasoning for it.
  • Created more options by brainstorming criteria, if needed.
  • Utilized this SCDM process with a current decision – either personally or professionally.
  • Considered the assessment of decision-making skills; i.e. when there is no one “right” answer.
  • Considered decision-making, and SCDM in particular, in the context of critical thinking skills.

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