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Does your school have a 'Thought' Curriculum?

This article really got me thinking: Are you teaching content, or teaching thought?

  • How do we make sure our students are getting the skills and understandings required to organise and deepen their own thinking as critical and creative thinkers?
  • What tools can be used to support them in becoming independent thinkers?
  • Are schools using a programme for this, and what tools do they choose to focus on - there are so many out there?
  • How do you make sure these skills and tools are used in an authentic, meaningful way, so that students do actually develop a toolkit that they can turn to naturally in the future?

I'm looking forward to sharing in the discussion about this complex and exciting aspect of learning.


  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 14 Apr 2014 3:57pm ()

    Thank you for sharing this article with us Carol, it’s incredibly loaded with some powerful considerations, that has really got me thinking - in particular, about how complex knowledge is. This statement caught my eye,

    “When we make content proficiency our goal, all of our resources are applied there.”

    imageIt reminds me of Jane Gilbert’s book on, Catching the knowledge wave, where she talks about how knowledge in a knowledge society is dynamic, fluid, generative,  - a process rather than an object or a ‘thing’ that is codified into ‘disciplines’. This puts out the challenge of understanding; what is knowledge, how it is develops and who owns it?

    This in-turn reminds me of Galileo’s interpretation of what Inquiry-based learning is and isn’t.

    “Inquiry is not a “method” of doing science, history, or any other subject, in which the obligatory first stage in a fixed, linear sequence is that of students each formulating questions to investigate. Rather, it is an approach to the chosen themes and topics in which the posing of real questions is positively encouraged, whenever they occur and by whoever they are asked. Equally important as the hallmark of an inquiry approach is that all tentative answers are taken seriously and are investigated as rigorously as the circumstances permit.”  http://galileo.org/teachers/designing-learning/articles/what-is-inquiry/

    imageFor me this challenges 'teacher-sourced knowledge' and pre-determined content - where the student fits the system of curriculum content delivery, rather than the other-way around.

    That’s not to say teachers don’t have a hand in designing tasks, rather co-constructing tasks that are more real-world, problem solving, relevant, authentic and timely in nature. Teachers become the brokers/ coaches facilitating authentic scenarios to ‘seduce’ students to be curious, inquiring, creative and critical thinkers.

    Designing a localised, thinking curriculum is a complex. Understanding taxonomies of metacognitive development is part of this process.

    You’ve asked what tools people are using Carol. Loads come to mind, but I'll limit it to 3 for now.

    • Understanding what’s new and different about the knowledge age with an overview of changes in education from the pre-industrial age till now.
    • HookED SOLO Five - powerful SOLO questioning sequence created by Pam Hook for students of all ages to use when reflecting on their thinking/learning. 
    1. What is one important idea that I learned from this?
[Define: Unistructural Question]
    2. What is this idea about?
[Elaborate/Describe: Multistructural Question]
    3. Why is this idea important?
[Explain: Relational Question]
    4. How does this idea apply to my life? (To what extent is this idea relevant to the social, political, cultural, ethical or spiritual issues I/we currently face?)
[Apply: Relational Question/Extended Abstract Question]
    5. What does this idea make me wonder? (What do I know that I still don’t know about this idea? What questions do I still want to ask?)
[Wonder: Extended Abstract Question]

    HookED Blog: http://pamhook.com/2013/10/20/five-powerful-questions/


    Images sourced from Creative Commons

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