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Thinking Classrooms

Thinking Classroom Philosophy in 4 Questions

What ?

  • Teach learners how to think and learn

  • Discover, value and use learners' thinking skills, learning styles and multiple intelligences profiles

  • Combine the best new educational practices with the best traditional ones

  • Build and enrich learning relationships

Why ?

  • Because learners need flexible skills more than knowledge

  • Because future economic & life success depends on skills and creativity

  • Because everyone learns in a unique way

  • Because education must prepare learners for an exciting but uncertain future

  • Because of Article 13a, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

How ?

  • By matching teaching styles to learning styles

  • By valuing each learner for what they do well

  • By educating for skills, attitudes and values as well as knowledge

  • By preparing learners for their futures not our pasts

  • By valuing, supporting and resourcing all educators

What if...

  • All learners were engaged, excited and interested in their lessons?

  • 'School' evolved to match different lifestyles and different learning styles?

  • Teachers had time to enjoy their profession and real opportunities to thrive?

  • There was only one initiative and it was called "Learning"?

What are Thinking Skills?

Thinking Skills are the mental processes we use to do things like: solve problems, make decisions, ask questions, make plans, pass judgements, organise information and create new ideas. Often we're not aware of our thinking - it happens automatically - but if we take time to ponder what's going on then we can become more efficient and more creative with our minds. (Note: thinking about thinking is called Metacognition)


Cognitive Thinking Skills

Information Gathering:

  • Sensing – seeing, hearing, touching

  • Retrieving – memory skills

Basic Understanding:

  • Organising gathered information

  • Forming concepts

  • Linking ideas together

Productive Thinking:

  • Using information and understanding

  • Creating, deciding, analysing, evaluating

What's Multiple About Intelligence?

Intelligence: Who has it? Who hasn't? Is it fixed from birth? What’s it for? What is it? Where is it? Can it change?

Scientists argue about the definition of intelligence and everyone takes a view on what it is:

  • The ability to make decisions and judgments that create positive effects - Graham

  • Knowing there's always more to learn - Jodie

  • Thinking, " I can..." - MJ, Westhoughton.

  • Being able to deal with the unexpected - Andy

  • Making connections - Janice Young

There are consequences of our different definitions of intelligence:

IQ : Let’s say you believe that IQ is the best way to define and measure intelligence. Consequences:

  • You have to get over a certain score in an IQ test to be clever

  • You have to be good at verbal and non-verbal reasoning to get a high score

  • If your strengths are in other areas, you are not intelligent

Carol Dweck: (Mindsets and Self-Theory) Let’s say you think that intelligence is related to self-belief. Consequences:

  • Some people believe they can become cleverer and are therefore positive/active about learning and growth

  • Some people believe they’re stuck with their lot and are therefore negative/passive about learning and growth

Howard Gardner: (Multiple Intelligences) Let’s say that intelligence is the ability to solve problems and create things that are of value to your society. Consequences:

  • Everyone is clever because of what they do well

  • Verbal and non-verbal reasoning is valued

  • Running a meeting is valued

  • Fixing things is valued

  • Creating a piece of art is valued

  • Managing your emotions is valued

  • Running a family home is valued

  • People are valued for what they do best

The Multiple Intelligences

Howard Gardner has identified at least 8 different ways to be clever; each meeting 8 scientific criteria. The criteria are debated but the concept is sound, practical and used by educators across the world. The following areas offer multiple routes to learning, teaching, creativity and success:



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