Recently, I have been facilitating a PLC at school around “Making Thinking Visible.” And it has me thinking. . . how is it that education seems to have gone so far off course that teachers aren’t able to do their work anymore? You know, actually teach. Instead, we are living in such a high stakes testing environment, that teachers are pressured to cover the curriculum and prepare students for tests. Unfortunately, this has led to teachers focusing more on the completion of work and assignments than on a true development of understanding. Classrooms have become a place of rote practice. Students are not taught to think in order to understand. In fact, we aren’t teaching them to think at all.
While preparing for our next PLC, I began to dig a little deeper into thinking moves. Students need opportunities for authentic thinking within the discipline areas. That means that we need to teach children what it means to think like a reader, a writer, a mathematician, a scientist, and a historian. What does it mean to think authentically within these disciplines? It means that we teach students high leverage thinking moves:
- Observing closely and describing what’s there
- Building explanations and interpretations
- Reasoning with evidence
- Making connections
- Considering different viewpoints and perspectives
- Capturing the heart and forming conclusions
- Wondering and asking questions
- Uncovering complexity and going below the surface of things
I know that in this state of education, it is difficult to stand by our beliefs of good pedagogy. But, stand by them we must. Our students are counting on us. This, I believe.
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