Thinking is what you do when you don’t know the answer to something

In which case, “Thinking,” is fundamental to Learning

In which case “Thinking,” should be taught

In which case “Thinking,” should be developed progressively

I’ve been thinking about it…

If we really believe that education is about developing capacity for learning, then thinking

has got to be a big part of this. Too often, in the past, teaching has focused more on the

transmission of facts rather than deepening learning through conceptual understanding. Let me explain.

Now hands up if you said 20p. (and got it wrong). If you still need the answer, contact me

To really understand the problem, you have to be able to conceptualise it. Everyone can do

the adding or subtracting, so why do so many get it wrong. Think of all the mistakes we

make because we just don’t give things enough, “Thinking Time.”

Helping children to become deeper thinkers must be one of the most rewarding things for

teachers. I have been working with a number of schools, helping to develop “reflective

thinking,” in the classroom and the results are extraordinary.

Reflective journals, used properly, helps develop real mastery of not just subject knowledge,

but of the process of learning as well. Developing “Metacognition,” has been shown to have

a significant impact on pupil confidence as it enables them to think critically about thinking

and learning as well as themselves as thinkers and learners. Reflective Journals are not scrap books nor are they exercise books in another format. They are, as the name infers, a process of reflecting on thinking that leads to deeper understanding and mastery.

They cannot be seen as a stand -alone add on, or another band waggon to jump on. It works if the school values it and if it is valued, then a structured approach to developing it is essential. Some key questions that I have been reflecting on with schools are;

• What explicit strategies to you teach pupils to help them think deeper?

• What experiences of “Deep Thinking,” do you plan for your pupils?

• How do you model thinking in the classroom?

• What CPD have you delivered to your staff on how to develop “Thinking.”?

• How do you monitor a depth of “Thinking,” when you monitor pupil’s work?

I am delighted that over the last year, working with a groups of teachers from a number of

schools, I have had the opportunity to develop a progression of tools to support “Thinking.”

These tools reflect three core learning values. These are a desire to help pupils become;

Independent Thinkers

Creative Thinkers

Collaborative Thinkers

The tools are taught progressively over the year from Foundation through to Year 6. (Secondary model currently being worked on.) Each tool makes explicit how the tool works, the format to support thinking and tips for teachers using it in the classroom. A sample of this can be seen below.

I’m really happy to discuss the impact of these in more detail with you and share the

complete set of progressive tools. Remember, these tools are part of the curriculum

entitlement. I am almost ready to unveil “A Curriculum for Excellence.” Watch out for it’s

launch date in my next blog.

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