The video above is from the Edivation Classics library that explores teaching intelligent behaviors such as metacognition, checking for accuracy, questioning, and more.
The importance of teaching for, of, and about thinking
In his new Growing Thinking Students in Thinking Schools LumiBook (cloud book), David Hyerle offers a brief analysis of the last 100 years of research on thinking, from early psychological testing based on IQ to the 1950s behaviorist views to constructivism and the “thinking skills” movement of the 1980s.
This “thinking skills” movement, which included Howard Gardner’s challenge of the constraining definition that bound thinking to an intelligence quotient, was introduced into classrooms by education leaders including Dr. Art Costa and Dr. Ron Brandt to help bring about a change in educational practice by emphasizing the idea of teaching for, of, and about thinking in every classroom.
These cogent, practical approaches to thinking align with and support the Thinking Schools model, and are well worth a closer look.
1. Teaching for Thinking. This can be summarized as creating an environment in the classroom for student thinking to improve, including teaching strategies that foster different types of thinking.
With this approach, teachers and administrators create a positive environment that promotes the development of students’ thinking and includes a variety of perspectives, such as consistent problem-posing by teachers which facilitates creative thinking, being open to a range of student ideas and learning styles, and teaching content.
2. Teaching of Thinking. With this approach, teachers instruct students in the skills and strategies of thinking directly and/or implementing thinking programs.
While Teaching for Thinking is based on the teacher using strategies that create a rich environment for improving thinking, Teaching of Thinking is based on teachers directly instructing students in skills and macro-strategies for thinking, as well as dispositions or habits of mind. These include cognitive skills, steps in problem-posing and solving, and reflective thinking. The desired outcome is that students will consciously apply and transfer thinking processes across content areas.
3. Teaching about Thinking. In this approach, teachers help students become aware of their own and others’ thinking processes for use in real-life situations and problem solving.
Teaching about Thinking focuses on supporting students as they become more conscious of their own thinking processes and provides background knowledge about how the human brain functions as the seat of learning. This approach steps back and allows students to see a broader view of thinking as it occurs in everyone, including how the human brain functions, how they think as individuals, and how knowledge is constructed.
The result: getting students to think about thinking
As students enter the upper elementary level, they will likely become more interested in what is going on in their heads. All three of these approaches, as identified by Costa and Brandt, work to get students thinking about thinking, especially as they are mastering several models of thinking for daily learning, and form a common sense way of framing avenues for classroom practice.
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