Creating a world of good thinkers

Second keynote at the ICOT conference involves a fellow New Zealander, Bek Galloway for Bohally Intermediate School in Blenheim. She's presenting alongside an international team led by Robert Swartz and Rebecca Reagan for the National Center for teaching Thinking (NCTT) based in the USA, together with Sheryl Dwyer (US), Manal Aboud (Saudi Arabia) and Monika Borch (Spain). The focus of their work is on illustrating ways of infusing thinking (both creative and critical) into content instruction. The NCTT website has collated some useful teacher resources that illustrate the kinds of 'infusion' being promoted. If you scroll to the bottom of that page you can find special mention of Bek and a link to some of her work.

Their presentation covered:

  1. Making skilful thinking an objective in the classroom – everyone thinks, but not everyone thinks as well as they could.
  2. Using skilful thinking to think about curricular content – applying specific thinking organisers to important curricular content.
  3. Fostering commitment and internalisation – students guiding themselves buy thinking about their thinking (metacognition).
  4. Taking this from classrooms to whole schools – involving teacher collaboration and coordination, assessment of thinking as well as content, and leadership commitment and support.

Great presentation with loads of authentic, classroom-based examples of development of thinking skills. Key point made throughout – we can't improve thinking skills by simply introducing new tools and techniques. We still need to teach teachers and students how to process information effectively – and how to use these tools and techniques effectively to achieve this.

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