Big Deal Media

K-12 Technology

Oct 03, 2016 2016-10-03

Mobile Learning

Approach for Cultivating Thinking Skills and Deepening Content Knowledge

Developed by Project Zero researchers in Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, Visible Thinking is a flexible and systematic approach to integrating the development of students’ thinking with content learning across subject matters. Visible Thinking is for teachers, school leaders, and administrators in K–12 schools who want to encourage the development of a culture of thinking in their classrooms and schools. An extensive and adaptable collection of practices, Visible Thinking has a double goal: on the one hand, to cultivate students’ thinking skills and dispositions; and, on the other, to deepen content learning. (By “thinking dispositions,” the researchers mean curiosity, concern for truth and understanding, a creative mindset, not just being skilled but also being alert to thinking and learning opportunities, and eager to take them.) At the core of Visible Thinking are practices that help make thinking visible: Thinking Routines loosely guide learners’ thought processes and encourage active processing. They are short, easy-to-learn mini-strategies that extend and deepen students’ thinking and become part of the fabric of everyday classroom life. Thinking Ideals are easily accessible concepts capturing naturally occurring goals, strivings, or interests that often propel thinking. Four Ideals—Understanding, Truth, Fairness, and Creativity—are presented as modules. Each ideal has associated routines, with activities that help to deepen students’ concepts around the ideal. The Visual Thinking website provides a convenient way to learn about Visible Thinking, as well as thorough descriptions of the ideals, routines, and activities developed from research in K–12 schools.

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