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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

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session outcomes
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
  • Identify barriers to good thinking and how to mitigate negative impacts
  • Evaluate strategies (methods, activities and tools) for promoting good thinking
  • Produce real-world performance tasks to develop and assess good thinking
  • Produce scoring systems to assess specific types of thinking in an integrated learning experience
thinking a key process for effective learning
Thinking: A Key Process for effective learning

“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)

problems of definition
Problems of Definition
  • “In schools, critical thinking has long been a buzz phrase. Educators pay lip
  • service to its Importance, but few can tell me what they mean by the phrase
  • or how they teach and test it...” (p.16)
  • “For the most part, teachers haven’t been trained to teach students how to think.”
  • (xxiv)
  • (Wagner, T., 2010, The Global Achievement Gap)
    • “... But the heart of this problem is our failure to define such terms
    • as critical thinking, problem solving, metacognition, reasoning,
    • and abstract thinking. Without adequate definition and training,
    • teachers lack the knowledge and skills to teach and test for these
    • desirable but elusive human qualities”
  • (Haladyna, T., 1997, Writing Test Items to Evaluate Higher Order Thinking, p.97)

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?


What is thinking?

Thinking is the conscious and goal-directed mental activity we do in order to solve problems


In a perfect world,

we would not have to think

Because we would never

have to solve any problems

find me a girlfriend potential wife
Find me a girlfriend – potential wife

Wife leaves me

for Brad Pitt

- What to do, lah?

a model of thinking
A Model of Thinking

Inference &



& Contrast




Generating Possibilities

generating possibilities
Generating Possibilities

What do we do when we

generate possibilities?

  • Generate many possibilities
  • Generate different types of possibilities
  • Generate novel possibilities

Inference &



& Contrast




All creative products involve the

combining of old ideas or elements

in new ways

Generating Possibilities


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)

creativity not thinking out of the box
Creativity: Not Thinking out of the Box

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


Tasty Dinner?


What do we do

when we analyse?

Inference &



& Contrast

  • Identify relationship of the parts to a whole in system /structure/model
  • Identify functions of each part
  • Identify consequences to the whole, if a part was missing
  • Identify what collections of parts form important sub-systems of the whole
  • Identify if and how certain parts have a synergetic effect




Generating Possibilities

comparison and contrast
Comparison and Contrast

What do we do when we compare and contrast?

  • Identify what is similar between things - objects/options/ideas, etc
  • Identify what is different between things
  • Identify and consider what is important about both the similarities and differences
  • Identify a range of situations when the different features are applicable

Inference &



& Contrast




Generating Possibilities

inference and interpretation
Inference and Interpretation

What do we do when we make inferences and interpretations?

  • Identify intentions and assumptions in data
  • Separate fact from opinion in data
  • Identify key points, connections, and contradictions in data
  • Make meaning of the data/information available
  • Establish a best picture to make predictions

Inference &



& Contrast




Generating Possibilities


What do we do when we evaluate?

  • Decide on what is to be evaluated
  • Identify appropriate criteria from which evaluation can be made
  • Prioritize the importance of the criteria
  • Apply the criteria and make decision

Inference &



& Contrast




Generating Possibilities

meta cognition

What are we doing when we are meta-cognitive?

  • Aware that we can think in an organized manner
  • Actively thinking about the ways in which we are thinking
  • Monitoring and evaluating how effective we are thinking
  • Seeking to make more effective use of the different ways of thinking as well as any useful learning strategies, tools and resources

Inference &



& Contrast




“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”

(Biggs, 1987)

Generating Possibilities

activity the good thinking continues
Activity: The Good Thinking continues...
  • What is Good thinking and how does it work?
  • What are the things that good thinking help us to do better?
good thinking is
Good Thinking is…
  • … the ability to use the six types of thinking in an highly competent manner to solve problems:
  • This involves:
  • Using each type of thinking effectively
  • Using the 6 types in unison, synergistically and
  • efficiently
this enables the capability to
This enables the capability to...
  • Take multiple perspectives and learn from them
  • Generate more creative outcomes
  • Build better understandings of aspects of reality and become more objective in the construction of personal knowledge
  • Solve problems more effectively and efficiently
  • Feel more competent and confident
brain barriers to learning and thinking
Brain Barriers to Learning (and Thinking)

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.

Personality Configurations

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

the 3 brain paradox you can t talk to the snake or rat brain
The 3 Brain Paradox – you can’t talk to the snake or rat brain

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

impact of personality type
Impact of Personality Type

Validated research supports a model of human personality

in which people differ, to varying degrees, in 5 major ways:

  • introverted or extroverted
  • neurotic or stable
  • incurious or open to experience
  • agreeable or antagonistic
  • conscientious or undirected

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

internal mental chaos
Internal Mental Chaos

“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)

teaching quality the big factor in student learning
Teaching Quality – the big factor in Student Learning

“…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)

promoting thinking general instructional principles
Promoting thinking – general instructional principles
  • Systematically teach and model the types of thinking, taking students through the range of cognitive operations for each type of thinking (Direct Instruction using the Language of Thinking)
  • Use structured questions to direct and reinforce types of thinking (e.g., “Lets compare & contrast these two diets”; What inferences and interpretations can be drawn from these data sources about the possible use of cloning in food production, etc)”
  • Involve students in real world learning tasks which necessitate direct use of the types of thinking
  • Consistently promote dispositions (habits of mind) conducive to good thinking and effective learning (e.g., persistence, managing impulsivity, openness, flexibility, attention to detail, good listening, humour, etc)
making good thinking visible
Making Good Thinking Visible

“...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

operations ...

Teachers have to articulate and demonstrate rather than assume the

thought processes they want students to learn”

(Sheppard et al, 2009, p.188)

making students thinking visible
Making Students Thinking Visible

“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)

instructional strategies methods activities tools for promoting thinking
Instructional Strategies (methods, activities, tools) for promoting thinking
  • Questioning
  • Small group activities that involve specific types of thinking (e.g. buzz groups, rounds, poster board tours, etc)
  • Co-operative learning structures
  • Case studies
  • Projects/PBL activities
  • Role play
  • Performance tasks that involve specific types of thinking
  • Discussion/Debates
  • Thinking Tools, e.g., Mind mapping, ‘Thinking Hats’, Plus-Minus-Interesting, Forced Associations, etc
the power of questions
The Power of Questions

“Questions are the primary way we learn virtually everything”

“Thinking itself is nothing but the process of asking and

answering questions”

“Questions immediately change what we focus on and,

therefore, how we feel”

(Anthony Robbins, 2001, pp.179-8)

using questions
Using Questions

The effective use of questions is a powerful means of

promoting specific types of thinking, for example:

  • What are the similarities and differences between Hepatitis A and HIV?
  • In what ways are these differences significant?
  • What inferences and interpretations can be drawn from the data on HIV infection in Asia?
  • How might we evaluate the effectiveness of the present HIV prevention programme?
  • What is the relationship between HIV infection and poverty?
  • What other ways might we make people more aware of HIV infection?
ways in which meta cognitive thinking can be developed enhanced
Ways in which meta-cognitive thinking can be developed & enhanced:
  • Make students Aware of this distinctively human capability and how it works
      • Explain and demonstrate how metacognition works
      • Illustrate with a range of examples why metacognition is so important in learning and personal success
  • 2. Build metacognitive thinking into specific learning activities (e.g., project work
      • Get students to reflect on and document the quality of their thinking, identifying challenges faced in their learning and how they have gone about tackling these challenges
  • 3. Facilitate and reinforce metacognition through other ‘Teachable
  • Moments’
      • Whenever metacognitive thinking would be valuable to enhancing thinking and learning
thinking tools and techniques
Thinking Tools and Techniques
  • Mindmapping (A learning & thinking tool)
  • Thinking Hats (A thought management tool)
  • Plus-Minus-Interesting (A simple practical tool for identifying positives, negatives and unsure elements in a situation)
  • Force-Field Analysis (A critical and creative thinking tool for managing change)
  • Forced Associations (A creative thinking technique to break out of traditional patterns of perception and thinking)
  • PO (A creative thinking technique)
  • SCAMPER (A creating thinking tool)
  • Morphological Matrix (A creative thinking tool for creating multiple combinations)

Note: thinking tools and techniques don’t do the thinking, they only provide a means for organizing your thinking


Mind Map of Edward De Bono’sThinking Hats

White Hat

Blue Hat

Facts only

No opinions



Red Hat

Green Hat


Own view


New ideas

Black Hat



Yellow Hat



Mind Maps can promote all

types of thinking as well as

aid memory and learning

plus minus interesting



force field analysis





Force-Field Analysis

Potency: 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 :Potency

Forces driving change

Forces resisting change


  • The objective is to move the balance to the right, which can be achieved by:
  • identifying forces, their causes and strength
  • planning and acting to assist the driving forces
  • planning and acting to reduce the resisting forces
  • using some of the resisting forces against each other if possible
forced associations random triggers
Forced Associations (Random Triggers)

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.

Force Associate

with ‘Mirror’

po provocative operation
PO (Provocative Operation)
  • PO involves making deliberately provocative statements, which seek to
  • force thinking out of established patterns.
  • Examples: “Everybody should go to prison”
  • “Lets abolish schools”
  • Having made a provocative statement, it is then necessary to suspend judgement
  • and use the statement to generate ideas. For example, you can generate ideas
  • by examining:
  • The consequences of the statement
  • What the benefits could be?
  • What would need to change in order to make it a sensible statement?
  • What would happen if a sequence of events changed?








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



morphological matrix
Morphological Matrix

This tool encourages new possibilities through combining options



what are real world learning tasks

“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

What are ‘Real World’ Learning Tasks?

rationale for using real world tasks
Rationale for using Real World Tasks

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)

types of real world tasks
Types of Real World Tasks
  • Real work projects and tasks
  • Simulations
  • Problem solving through case studies
  • Problem-based learning (PBL) activities
  • Presentations
  • Any activity that essentially models what would be done by people in the world of work
example 1 design and conduct a small experiment to test the halo effect
Example 1: Design and conduct a small experiment to test the Halo Effect

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:

  • Clearly test the Halo Effect in person perception
  • Be viable in terms of accessing relevant data
  • Meet ethical standards in conducting experiments with persons
  • Follow an established method and procedure
  • Produce results that support or refute the hypothesis

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.

example 2 design a food package
Example 2: Design A Food Package

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:

  • identify the criteria for evaluating the marketability of a product
  • analyze the components of a product that constitute an effective design
  • generate new ways of viewing a product design beyond existing standard forms
  • predict potential clients response to the product given the information you have
  • monitor the development on the group’s progress and revise strategy where
  • necessary


steps in designing performance tasks
Steps in designing performance tasks

Step 1: Identify clearly the knowledge, skills and processes to be incorporated into the task

For this step it is important to:

  • Choose specific topic areas in your curriculum that encompass key underpinning knowledge (e.g., central concepts, principles, procedures) and skills essential for understanding and performance in real world applications.
  • Identify the types of thinking that are important for promoting student understanding and subsequent competence in these topic areas. For example, generating possibilities, analysis, comparison and contrast, inference and interpretation, evaluation, etc.
  • Identify other process skills (e.g., communication, team-working, managing learning, etc) that are important for competent performance in the identified areas.
steps in designing performance tasks1
Steps in designing performance tasks

Step 2: Produce the learning task

It is important that the task:

  • Clearly involves the application of the knowledge, skills and processes identified from Step 1.
  • Is sufficiently challenging, but realistically achievable in terms of student’s prior competence, access to resources, and time frames allocated.
  • Successful completion involves more than one correct answer or more than one correct way of achieving the correct answer
  • Clear notes of guidance are provided, which:
    • Identify the products of the task and what formats of presentation are acceptable (e.g. written report, learning materials, portfolio, oral presentation, etc)
    • Specify the parameters of the activity (e.g. time, length, areas to incorporate, individual/collaborative, how much choice is permitted, support provided, etc)
    • Cue the types of thinking and other desired process skills
    • Spell out all aspects of the assessment process and criteria.
key considerations in producing a marking scheme
Key considerations in producing a marking scheme
  • Performance areasassessed to reflect learning objectives
  • Performance criteriafor each performance area
  • Marks weightingfor each performance area to reflect table of specifications/assessment blueprint
  • sources of Performance evidenceto be used (e.g., written/oral questioning, product, observation, etc)
  • Formatfor marking scheme – checklist, rating scale/ scoring rubric
marking formats for performance assessments
Marking Formats for performance assessments

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?

decide format on the basis of whether the item involves high or low inference
Decide format on the basis of whether the item involves High or Low Inference
  • Low inference items are those where the performances being tested are clearly visible and there is a widely established correct answer (e.g., conducting a fire drill, setting up an experiment) Here a Checklist is most appropriate
  • High inference items involve performances that are less directly visible and/or more open to subjective judgement (e.g., creative writing, managing a team) Here a rating scale/scoring rubric is most appropriate

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

inference scoring.

scoring rubrics rating scale
Scoring Rubrics (rating scale)

A scoring rubric is a prepared scoring system for assessing performance in activities where professional judgement is involved in the assessment decision.

  • There are two main types of rubrics:
    • Holistic (focuses on overall assessment of a product, process or performance - without judging the component parts separately)
    • Analytic (assesses – scores – each individual ‘part’ of an assessment activity and then totals an overall score

There are benefits and limitations to each –

what do you think they are?

holistic versus analytic rubrics
Holistic versus Analytic Rubrics

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)

what rubrics can and cannot do
What rubrics can and cannot do…

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.

developing a checklist
Developing a checklist
  • Identify the important components - procedures, processes or operations - in an assessment activity
    • for example, in conducting an experiment one important operation is likely to be the generation of a viable hypothesis
  • For each component, write a statement that identifies competent performance for this procedure, process or operation
    • in the above example, the following may be pertinent:

A clear viable hypothesis is described

  • Allocate a mark distribution for each component - if appropriate
    • this is likely to reflect its importance or level of complexity

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)

assessment checklist for assignment 1 design and conduct a small experiment to test the halo effect
Assessment checklist for Assignment 1: Design and conduct a small experiment to test the Halo Effect

Performance Areas/criteria:

  • The context of the experiment is accurately described 
  • A clear viable hypothesis is presented 
  • The method/procedure is appropriate 
  • There is no infringement on persons 
  • Findings are clearly collated and presented 
  • Valid inferences and interpretations are drawn from the data

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

developing a scoring rubric
Developing a scoring rubric
  • Define the performance area/learning targets for an assessment (must relate to learning outcomes)
    • for example, ‘Valid inferences and interpretations are drawn from the data and comparison is made with existing data’
  • Identify and describe the key attributes that underpin competence for each performance area (preferably observable and measurable)
    • Using the above example (attributes – concept, types of thinking)
      • Validity
      • inference and interpretation
      • comparison and contrast
  • Write a concise description of performance at a range of levels from very good to very poor
    • for example, 5 = very good; 1 = very poor

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

Scoring Rubric for Example 1:Valid inferences & interpretations are drawn, comparison with existing data is made

Score Description

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.