Key Competencies

Thinking 2

To get yourself thinking you might like to complete this survey.

Humble start with solid
foundations and strong
links to other dimensions.

A. Too much, too fast.


Build slowly on solid foundations
of theoretical understanding.



•We need to ensure our approach to thinking aligns with the idea of ‘deep learning’.
•We need to remember that thinking is contextualised within Learning Areas.
•We also need to remember there is no automatic transfer between Learning Areas.
•We need to settle on some useful terms to categorise thinking.

Why Take the Trouble?
Focusing on thinking skills in the classroom is
important because it supports active cognitive
processing which makes for better learning.
It equips pupils to go beyond the information given,
to deal systematically yet flexibly with novel
problems and situations, to adopt a critical
attitude to information and argument as well as to
communicate effectively.

Carol McGuinness (1999)
i.e. Deeper Learning

Importance of Teacher Mediation

1.Practically all researchers involved in
teaching people how to think stress the role
played by the teacher or mediator and by
the educational and social environment in
achieving significant changes in students’
intellectual performance.
(Feuerstein, Klein, & Tannenbaum, 1991; Feuerstein et al.,1980; Gardner, 1993).

2. Vygotsky (1978), in his construct of the proximal zone
of development, stated that there is a considerable
difference between the performance level that an individual
can attain by him- or herself and the one he or she can
achieve with appropriate aid from an expert companion or
an adult. According to this view, few individuals achieve
optimal competence levels just through direct interaction
with environmental stimuli. Enriching experiences provided
by others are believed to help the individual realize his or
her cognitive potential.

3. Feuerstein et al. (1980) even declared
that a lack of mediated learning experiences
is a primary contributing factor to the
occurrence of mental retardation or deficient
María Luisa Sanz de Acedo Lizarraga and Mª Dolores Iriarte Iriarte (2001)

Models for Teaching of Thinking
Model 1. Thinking packages which function as ‘add-on’s to the normal curriculum.

Model 2: Subject specific thinking skills taught in conjunction with disciplines.

Model 3: Thinking Skills infused into all curriculum learning, with transfer between contexts modelled by teacher. (Intelligent novices.)

Infusion throughout the curriculum?
To infuse

“to introduce into one thing a
second thing which gives it extra
life, vigour and a new significance”

Infusion Methodology
Infusion methodology consists of teaching thinking
strategies along with regular subject-matters, directly,
explicitly, and simultaneously (Swartz & Perkins, 1989).

This methodology is based on the concept that Areas of
Learning offer many opportunities for reflection and for
practicing various kinds of mental operations. Thus, the use
of regular curricular material is the ideal, natural way of
practicing and achieving the programme goals.

We need to settle on some useful terms to categorise thinking and there are many of these available:

Brookhart, S. M. (2010)
(From last session)
Critical Thinking / Problem Solving / Transfer
New Zealand Curriculum
creative, critical, and metacognitive processes
Bloom Taxonomy
knowledge acquisition, comprehension,
application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation.
De Bono
Knowledge(What information do we have?)
Emotion(What do I feel about this matter right now?)
Judgement (Does this fit the facts?)
Benefits (Why is it a good thing to do?)
Exploration, (Are there some different ideas? )
Thinking about thinking (Metacognition)
UK Curriculum
Information Processing,Reasoning Skills, Enquiry, Creativity, Evaluation
Carol McGuinness (1999)
Metacognition,Searching for Meaning (Inquiry), Decision Making, Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, Creative Thinking


Alignment Between Terminologies

Thinking skills
Possible ‘Thinking Hat’ (De Bono)
Possible learning outcome level (Bloom’s Taxonomy)
White, Yellow
knowledge acquisition, comprehension, synthesis
Critical Thinking
Black, yellow, blue.
analysis, synthesis
Decision Making
Black, yellow, blue.
analysis, synthesis, evaluation
Problem Solving
Red, Green, blue
analysis, synthesis, evaluation, application
Green, Red
Application, synthesis
Analysis, evaluation

Planning an Infusion Lesson
So for any learning activity, such as exploring how gravity operates, there would be three aspects to take into account:

The thinking skill(s) involved.
It is an INQUIRY
Questions for the ‘Hat’(s)
What information do we have?
What information do we need to get?
Why does it exist?
What does gravity allow us to do?
Why is it a good thing?
The level of learning outcome (Bloom)
Comprehension or synthesis

Pedagogy for Thinking Classrooms

1.Developing a thinking vocabulary, modeling thinking.
2.Teacher prompting, feedback, scaffolding, making connections.
3.Sustained dialogue, thinking dispositions, beliefs about learning and thinking.
4.Time to think, questioning, thinking aloud, reflecting, evaluating.
5.Making thinking explicit, using thinking diagrams (Oliver Caviglioli & Ian Harris)
6.Infusion across the curriculum. (Swartz and Parks (1994)) Designing infusion lessons.
7.Habit of Mind: hooking in, practice in range of contexts, aim for habituation.

Key Competency: Thinking
The Thorndon Child
Habits of Mind
Some Actions:
Risk takers
Problem solvers
Flexibility of Thinking
Questioning and Problem Solving
Apply Past Knowledge to New Situations
Thinking and Communicating with Clarity and Precision
Creating, Imagining, Innovating
Thinking Interdependently
Remaining open to continuous learning
· Ask questions
· Reflect and evaluate
· Seek alternative solutions and perspectives
· Take time
· Connect new knowledge to prior knowledge
· Generate many options when making a decision.
· Challenge assumptions
· Question the validity of information
· Look beyond the obvious