Session Outcomes. Identify the role of thinking in learning (e.g., what good thinking enables us to do better) Use a ‘model of thinking’ to ‘model good thinking’ Analyse Good Thinking- the specific types of thinking and how they work to enhance performance
“The best thing we can do, from the point of view of the brain and learning,
is to teach our learners how to think”
(Jenson, 1996, p.163)
“Thought is the key to knowledge. Knowledge is
discovered by thinking, analyzed by thinking,
organized by thinking, transformed by thinking,
assessed by thinking, and, most importantly,
acquired by thinking”
(Paul, 1993 vii)
Thinking is the cognitive processes that builds
Knowledge, Rote-learning(as well as thinking) are
important in effective learning
Debates about the relative merits of teaching content Vs process, transmission
of knowledge Vs discovery learning, thinking Vs rote learning, etc, only cloud
rather than help effective pedagogy. For example, there is now virtual agreement
among cognitive psychologists that effective thinking - however defined - needs an extensive and well organized knowledge base. As Resnick (1989) summarizes:
Study after study shows that people who know more about a topic reason more profoundly about that topic than people who know little about it. (p.4)
Similarly, Satinover (2001), drawing from recent brain research makes the case for the importance of repetition in the learning process:
…these mundane chores are precisely what turns the fourth brain from a mass of randomness into a intellect of dazzling capacity. “Genius,” according to Thomas Edison, “is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. Of “critical thinking skills,” he had nothing to say. (p.49)
This involves Critical Thinking – have I seen this problem before, what are the likely causes, what information do I need to clearly interpret what’s occurring....?
I want good
Thinking on this
Good thinking, what’s that?
Thinking is the conscious and goal-directed mental activity we do in order to solve problems
we would not have to think
Because we would never
have to solve any problems
Wife leaves me
for Brad Pitt
- What to do, lah?
What do we do when we
All creative products involve the
combining of old ideas or elements
in new ways
What is Creativity?A product or response will be judged creative to the extent that it is novel, useful or a valuable response to the task at hand.(summarized from Amabile, 1996, p.35)
One dark foggy night in Halifax, as Percy Shaw was driving home, he saw two
small green lights, very close together near the edge of the road. He was curious
so he stopped and saw the ‘lights’ were a pair of cats eyes reflecting the light from
his head lights.
This triggered off his thinking, making some new connections in his brain – subsequently he invented a small device involving two marbles placed close together in a rubber casing; this would then be set in the road at intervals between the lanes of traffic.
After a year of experiments, Percy patented the invention and then, in 1935, formed his company, Reflecting Roadstuds Ltd. (That’s Innovation & Enterprise)
It all happens Inside the Head, it’s just a question of what’s in there, what you do with it and how
Little in there, little desire and effort to keep making new neural connections -
especially across knowledge areas – expect little by way of creativity
Creativity results from conscious (and subconscious) neural restructuring that results in
“How your perceive something makes all the difference and
you are free to see things from any perspective you wish”
(Adler, 1996, p.145)
To shift to a different frame will typically reframe one’s perspective and
therefore, one’s meaning. And when we do this, our very world
changes, which changes the sensory experience, hence how we feel
Slimy Pond Life
What do we do
when we analyse?
What do we do when we compare and contrast?
What do we do when we make inferences and interpretations?
What do we do when we evaluate?
What are we doing when we are meta-cognitive?
“To be properly metacognitive...students have to be realistically
awareof their own cognitive resources in relation to the task
demands, and then to plan, monitor, and control those resources”
Habits of Perception (includes our Beliefs)
Incoming information automatically passes through established neural networks – hence the brain will ensure that we perceive what we have learned to see.
Restricted Working Memory
Despite Long Term Memory having possibly unlimited capacity for information – Working Memory can only deal with around 7 bits of information at once.
Slow Conscious Processing Speed
The actual processing speed of the brain is slow compared to its capacity and organising ability.
Despite the conventional dominance of the ‘Standard Social Science Model’, the evidence for a Blank State is refuted
Competing (conflicting) Neural Structures
Unfortunately, its not ‘intelligent design’ – the natural state of the mind is one of confusion and paradox
“We forget that beliefs are no more than perceptions, usually with a limited sell by date, yet we act as though they were concrete realities”
(Adler, 1996, p.145)
... And they shape our Psychological State (attitude) to the situation we are in
Far more neural filters project from our brain’s emotional centre
into the logical/rational centres than the reverse
Becomes the Default System when we are threatened
Validated research supports a model of human personality
in which people differ, to varying degrees, in 5 major ways:
All are hereditable, with perhaps 40-50% of the variation in a
typical population tied to differences in their genes.
It is no fun dealing with the unfortunate wretch who is
introverted, neurotic, narrow, disagreeable and undependable
“Contrary to what we tend to assume, the normal state of the mind is chaos”
(Csikszentmihaly , 1990, p.119).
“Behaviour…comes from an internal struggle among mental modules with differing agendas and goals”
(Pinker, 2002, p.40)
“...everyday life, as it is experienced, is a tangled web of
changing desires, perceptions, feelings, and emotions that filter in and out of awareness in a perceptual swirl”
(Apter, 2001, p.33)
“…nothing is as important to learning as the quality of a student’s teacher. The difference between a good teacher and a bad teacher is so great that fifth-grade students who have poor teachers in grades three to five score roughly 50 percentile points below similar groups of students who are fortunate enough to have effective teachers”
(Izumi, T. L. & Evers, W. M., 2002. Teacher Quality, ix)
“The effect of the teacher far overshadows classroom variables, such as previous achievement level of students, class size…heterogeneity of students, and the ethnic and socio-economic makeup of the classroom.”
(Rivers, C. J. & Sanders, W. L., 2002. Teacher Quality and Equity
in Educational Opportunity, p.17)
“...teachers have to make their own intellectual processes (their performances)
visible. This means that the teacher-expert has to make visible to learners
the otherwise invisible processes of thinking that underlie complex cognitive
Teachers have to articulate and demonstrate rather than assume the
thought processes they want students to learn”
(Sheppard et al, 2009, p.188)
“We need to make thinking visible because it provides us with the information
we as teachers need to plan opportunities that will take students’ learning
to the next level and enable continued engagement with the ideas being explored.
It is only when we understand what our students are thinking, feeling, and
attending to that we can use that knowledge to further engage and support them
in the process of understanding. Thus making students’ thinking visible becomes
an ongoing component of effective teaching”
(Ritchhart, Church & Morrison, 2011, p.27)
“Questions are the primary way we learn virtually everything”
“Thinking itself is nothing but the process of asking and
“Questions immediately change what we focus on and,
therefore, how we feel”
(Anthony Robbins, 2001, pp.179-8)
The effective use of questions is a powerful means of
promoting specific types of thinking, for example:
Note: thinking tools and techniques don’t do the thinking, they only provide a means for organizing your thinking
Mind Map promoting thinking of Edward De Bono’sThinking Hats
Mind Maps can promote all
types of thinking as well as
aid memory and learning
Current promoting thinking
Potency: 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 :Potency
Forces driving change
Forces resisting change
Forced Associations is a technique for linking another thinking pattern into
the one we are presently using. We do this by selecting a random concrete noun
from a different field and combining it with the problem under consideration.
For example, we might be looking at ways to make lifts quicker.
By choosing a random word ‘Mirror’ could lead to installing mirrors by lifts.
As we know this is a popular solution for ‘slow lifts’. The lift doesn’t go faster,
but people waiting don’t notice this as they look in the mirror.
S promoting thinking
SCAMPER is a checklist that helps to
think of ways to improve existing products
or create new ones
Magnify, Minify, Modify
Put to other use
This tool encourages new possibilities through combining options
“Central to a pedagogy that seeks to promote the development of good thinking
is the systematic use of well constructed and managed learning tasks that reflect
real world activity and involve the use of specific types of thinking.
(Wasserman, 1993, p.20)
Such tasks are often referred to as Performance-Tasks
as they concentrate on the thoughtful application of knowledge
in real life contexts
Methods which are permanently successful in formal
education … go back to the types of situation which causes
reflection out of school in ordinary life. They give pupils
something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is
of such a nature as to demand thinking, or the intentional
noting of connections; learning naturally results.
(John Dewey, 1916)
In groups of 3-4, design and conduct a small experiment to
test the Halo Effect in person perception. You may choose
the particular focus for the experiment, but it must:
Once completed, the experiment should be written up in an appropriate
format of approximately 2000 words. It should document the important
stages of the experiment and compare and contrast the data found with
existing findings on the Halo Effect.
Select a food product and design the packaging that you think will give it
best marketability. You must be able to identify the product attributes,
protection and enhancement needed to satisfy the functional and
marketing requirements, and use suitable packaging material(s) and
package type. The work produced should reflect the quality of your
thinking in the following areas:
Step 1: Identify clearly the knowledge, skills and processes to be incorporated into the task
For this step it is important to:
Step 2: Produce the learning task
It is important that the task:
Decide on the basis of level of
Inference in making assessment decision
analytic or holistic rubric – what’s
the difference, and on what basis
would you decide?
A major challenge to test design is to produce tasks that require low
inference scoring systems. Unfortunately, many worthwhile student
outcomes reflecting higher order thinking lend themselves more to high
A scoring rubric is a prepared scoring system for assessing performance in activities where professional judgement is involved in the assessment decision.
There are benefits and limitations to each –
what do you think they are?
Holistic rubrics enable a focus on the overall performance and are more
economical in terms of assessment time. They are typically used for summative assessment and where some variation in reliability in parts of the assessment components can be accepted, provided the overall assessment decision has good validity and reliability.
In contrast, analytic rubrics enable a greater focus on the specific
elements of the areas of learning involved and make possible a much better
utilization of formative assessment in the assessment process.
This has considerable benefits, as Gibbs (2008) highlights:
Research in schools has identified that the way that teachers provide and use feedback, and engage students with feedback, makes more difference to student performance than anything else that they can do in the classroom. (p.6)
It is also important to remember that the rubric does not make the
assessment decision; this is the responsibility of the assessing
Rubrics provides a guiding frame for focusing attention on the key
elements/constructs (performance criteria) of the assessment area
and summary descriptors of a range of performances.
A clear viable hypothesis is described
Note: Checklists are most useful for low inference items –where the performance evidence is clearly agreed and there is little disagreement relating to effective or ineffective performance (e.g., observable steps)
and comparison is made with existing data
7. The write-up of the experiment meets required conventions
The allocation of marks for each performance area will reflect the weighting allocated in the
Table of Specifications
Note: Rating Scales/Scoring Rubrics are most for useful for high inference items –
where the performance evidence requires considerable professional judgement in making an assessment decision
5 All valid inferences are derived from data. Interpretations are consistently logical given the data obtained. All essential similarities and differences with existing data are identified and their significance fully emphasized.
4 Most of the valid inferences are derived from data. Interpretations are mainly logical given the data obtained. Most essential similarities and differences with existing data are identified and their main significance emphasized.
3 Some valid inferences are derived from data. Some logical interpretations are made from data obtained. Some essential similarities and differences with existing data are identified and their significance partly established.
2 Few valid inferences are derived. Interpretation of findings are limited . Comparison and contrast with existing data is partial and its significance not established.
1 Failure to make valid inferences and interpretations.