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Lane Clarke Inquiry Processes

45 teachers, Principal's and staff, attended a 2 day seminar on the processes of Inquiry using the Lane Clarke model.

The first day was spent looking a the Macro and Micro Processes - looking at the Big picture, how children learn, what is Schema.  We were introduced to the Think Tools, and given an outline of how they are used in the classroom.

For us this is an ongoing learning tool.  We are following this up by an observation  visit to Ak in week 2 of term 2, observing Inquiry in action at 2 Auckland Schools - one using the lane Clarke Model.  There will be representatives from each of the 12 schools attending.

The second day, we were randomly placed in groups, different levels and different schools.  Each group was given approx. 45mins to unpack each of the Think Tools used in the process of Inquiry.  This proved to be very challenging and created much discussion on how this could be integrated into classroom practice.  Below is a summary of the 2 days - kindly supplied by Annie from Oromahoe.

Lane Clark  20.4.11

About the process for learning

Identify the "so what" at the immersion stage - What difference will this learning make to my life or the lives of others?  See p 116

Diagrams and symbols allow metacognition

Copying is a way of learning = but need to acknowledge the source




Teaching kids how to learn by replicating learning in the real world

Inquiry is just a part of the learning process

Think!nQ TM



Need to fill gaps in inquiry model to match real world learning

Where does learning start?

  • Not with a question!
  • Not with interest!
  • Not with desire!

Helpful to reverse engineer how you learn - eg trip photos

  • Interest gets you started but when going gets tough you lose interest
  • Relevance is the key

Skinny questions are OK, all that you can ask, when you don't know much, but they can indicate a real purpose or interest.

The process





  • Immersion is a much more useful motivator than interest.

Learners in the real world know the "so what" before they begin  See P 116

  • Brainstorm
  • Answer the skinny questions as part of the grand inquiry
  • Use tools to answer
  • Different time may be required
  • Keep it going
  • STOP & THINK - need to give children the opportunity to assess the criteria and decide if they are ready to move forward
  • Eg Dive certificate - put it into practice - you don't learn something so you can tell someone!
  • Figure out audience - how to use the learning to make a difference in someone else's life
  • Innovation - to make a difference need one eye back to the past ~need to have a way of monitoring the results eg Reduce Re-use Recycle posters - Did they make a difference? Need pre-data to compare
  • Evaluate whole process including tools

Within the MACRO process there are THINKING TOOLS

Learning is only as solid as the thinking

Must teach how to think

and understand relationship between thinking and learning

  • Internalising is essential to enable recording/reporting
  • For thinkers who cannot write well then they could record their thinking orally and refer back and use it later.
  • Suggestion to record lessons for later use with different group. Using IT to support learning. I don't like this idea as second group would not be processing, interacting, manipulating, doing
  • Suggestion that 6 computers to 24 kids is adequate ratio
  • TOOLS to promote thinking as a process

    Use webcam for students to self-evaluate by observing their own participation in group work.


Eg thinkbox and thinktower (a pictorial version of thinkbox for younger children)

  • Organisers help to manage data/information ~ essential to frame learning


  • T chart
  • Thinkchart - processing
  • Venn diagram
  • Mind map
  • Need a system to manage the team or self in the process for learning = frameworks
  • Sciencethink - a framework for quality investigation

= the same process from 5 yrs as in life - change degree of independence as learner progresses

= the first point of authentic integration in the curriculum

  • Solutionthink - a framework for problem solving

Keeps the "where to next, available?" - with independence

  • Techthink - create a product
  • Authorthink - literacy, performance, dance
  • Also thinkit, thinkitgreat and futurethink




Along with frameworks and organisers need planners for the management of thinking to produce results

Like a team action plan that bridges the gap between the idea and result, developed with the end clearly in mind.

Criteria for success built into this plan.

It is the scaffolding and eventually children will be able to design the planner themselves.

Note to self: need to read/discuss more about criteria - My judging rules - My writing criteria

Strengths /weaknesses/lightbulb

For older children ~ beg to develop/ at/ above

  • HATTIES research re inquiry also - Children are not doing deep thinking therefore not doing deep learning.

The use of the thinkbox or the thinktower enables children to be able to say

  • Where they are in the process
  • What thinking tools they could use
  • What thinking is needed


A key part of teaching learning = a thinkchart

Hattie's research = inquiry learning (often based on the assumption that engagement and motivation lead to learning) has no influence on effect size.

Recent writings on Human Cognitive Architecture describe the relationship between working memory and long term memory.

                        WORKING MEMORY          REM sleep                        LONG TERM MEMORY

            All processing                                                              Schema built and stored here

            3-4 pieces of information                                           reorganised

            30 sec retention without rehearsal                            retrieved

Schema pulled back for new learning


            Must construct schema

            Must tag important                                                       

  • The term ‘human cognitive architecture' refers to the memory structures, sensory memory, working (short-term) memory, and long term memory, which have been hypothesized as fundamental to how learners think, learn and solve problems. A key feature of human cognitive architecture is that it comprises a limited working memory (our consciousness), which can only deal with 2 to 3 elements of new information at time, and a long term memory (our unconsciousness), which can hold an unlimited of number of elements (schemas) on a relatively permanent basis (Sweller, 2004). Learning is probably transferred from working memory into long term memory during REM sleep.

    Physically integrating information previously placed separately was identified by Chandler and Sweller (1991, 1992), as a superior alternative to split-source instructions such as for example the glossary at the back of the text


    Researchers (e.g., Baddeley, 1992) have hypothesized that working memory can process a considerably larger amount of information when information is presented in a dual mode format (i.e., some information is presented in audio form and some information is presented in visual form) than when information presented using in a single mode. (They need to match in complexity and/or clarity for the learner)

    The redundancy effect (Sweller & Chandler, 1994) is another instructional phenomenon identified in research on human cognitive architecture. The redundancy effect usually occurs when two sources of information, which are intelligible in isolation, are presented in slightly different forms. A familiar example would be when an instructor simply reads, word for word, the contents of an overhead or Power-point slide. It is often mistakenly believed that reading from an overhead consolidates student learning. Yet, research (Sweller & Chandler, 1994) has found that this process requires the learner to deal with extraneous information, which places an unnecessary burden on working memory. The most effective way to deal with redundancy is to simply remove the identified redundant information. However some texts such as poems or excerpts of plays need to be visually presented, and read aloud, in order to be effectively understood.


  • One schema from Long Term Memory can represent much information which can be pulled back into working memory to be used for thinking process
  • Research has shown that

-                      Learners are not constructing schema

-                      Their processing is overloaded and therefore inhibited

-                      The schema they use is not explicit

-                      The schema presented for them to use is incomplete (teacher needs to have in-depth knowledge)

-                      Learners are not tagging the important

-                      There is no "so what" attached to the learning

-                      Learners are not engaged in multisensory learning experiences

Notes:        Teaching how to summarise is useless without a schema

                  A lot easier to construct schema than to unconstruct it

Teachers should know about the brain

Best time to review mind maps is just before sleep

So what are the new possibilities here?




Processing = finding out


It involves



  • Examining analysis
  • Judging  evaluation processing
  • Questioning and challenging synthesis


 NEW understanding 

Anything new = synthesis

Therefore understanding IS synthesis at a near transfer

Never going to understand without process

Therefore BLOOMS is out!  The only useful aspect of it is the terminology.


Higher Order Thinking Skills are required for all thinking



What does this mean? Thinking is not hierarchical - it doesn't happen in levels. 

There are TYPES of thinking, neither higher nor lower than any other, and LEVELS in each type.

The levels of synthesis or understanding enable the learning.

However separating thinking TYPES into discrete activities limits processing.

In THINKBOX/THINKTOWER model, all thinking is connected.  (Thinktower is pictorial and allows younger kids to aim for the top!)

Evaluation involves both synthesis and analysis.

Clark Real Thinking Process





Lane Clark's alternative to BLOOMS

Insert thinkbox -colour scan

  • All learners have some prior knowledge but not same amount of schema. Need to bridge the gap. Can analyse evaluate and synthesise at any stage but need some tools to do it better.
  • Can only transfer to the depth of the base (information, knowledge/comprehension)

Therefore need to do more finding out - developing depth and breadth

  • All tools can be used at different levels


  • Use S. W. SW. or PMI at the beginning and 6 hats later (need lots of knowledge and understanding to use these effectively)
  • Grouping according to tools not activity


  • Teacher shares one organiser for the team. Initial each member's contribution. So can monitor who is ready to be independent
  • Tools push the thinking not the teacher

Wonderings Wall            

Children write up questions as they occur - use a different colour for each week to show progress

Everyone has the potential to be gifted ("Outliers" Malcolm Gladwell)


9 Step Planning Process  (See P 102) insert summary P103

  • Can develop depth and breadth of processing through developing schema - criteria
  • S. W. SW. - seeks opinion of the learner - hooks them in
  • Eg Investigating fictional writing(Fairytales) - use a thinkchart - don't overload the writing but always include the process


5 Purposes for Immersion

1.      Develop foundational schema - thinkcharts bring in more specificity

2.      Test prerequisite schema - ASSUME NOTHING

3.      Collection of baseline data

4.      So What?!! ACTION. Identify how the learning will be used.

5.      Develop consolidated outcomes

think!nQ is the real learning process

thinkbox and thinktower are the thinking frameworks

- providing essential repertoire of tools

MACRO Process - real learning process

MICRO Processes  (frameworks)(See handout)

  • authorthink
  • sciencethink
  • solutionthink
  • techthink
  • thinkitgreat - for discovery of characteristics and criteria
  • futurethink - responsible future predictions, ownership and active citizenship

Teachers need to value the process - ie be able to answer "Why use it?"

Once the framework is completed by students need to debrief - use a debrief colour eg a pencil if lots of colours have been used.

Essential to develop a common language for the school - that fits with NZC

1.     a thinkchart is a tool

2.     thinkitgreat is a process ( need to know what something is before you can create it) - This gets you to the planner

3.     Leads on to authorthink or techthink

4.     All the processes have a framework that leads to a planner

Where to start?




  • sciencethink with the whole class - an investigation
  • Initials beside each contribution then those who can contribute able to go off on their own
  • Observations are colour coded - helps with paragraph writing (the bun!)
  • solutionthink at immersion (or a step on techthink planner)
  • thinkitgreat at organise, investigate
  • techthink at ideate

Example: to make a greeting card -    Immersion                  investigate

Use thinkitgreat process to develop criteria for a GREAT card and techthink process at ideate stage

Always need to use thinkitgreat before authorthink

Important to debrief - use a different colour (pencl) and maybe a cheat sheet.

Children should be able to explain to parents the tools they used and why.                                                                                                                                               


Create a baseline with no process eg making cards - then introduce first techthink, then thinkitgreat and techthink, finally immersion, thinkitgreat and techthink for a comparism.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        solutionthink - eg. - open ended problem solving in maths

 Can come anywhere in an inquiry

            sciencethink - truly is inquiry - teaching scientifically




  • Teresa Burn

    Hi Diane

    We have been working for the last year with Lane Clarke and she is running a 2 day worshop st our school again this week.  It would be good to get in contact to see where you are at using her work and if we can be of any help to each other.


    Teresa Burn

  • Diane Henderson

    Hi Teresa,

    Great to hear from you.  I am the Facilitator of a cluster of 12 schools.  Unfortunately not all the schools have continued with the Lane Clarke Process.  However, one school continues to use the Think It processes - Author Think, Science Think and Think It Great as part of their Inquiry.  Others have taken ideas, but are developing their own models specific to their school needs.  Would certainly love to hear where you are at - did you follow the Processess for Learning through as a school?  Does every teacher work through individually or do you work in teams?  We found that even at the Intermediate level it was very teacher directed as students had not had the processes taught or modelled at Primary.  All schools are now trialling this, modelling processes and skills to develop those thinking skills.  Hope this makes sense.

    One teacher made some amazing resources, based on the Think it Great Process - you may see the pics, this was a very useful exercise as it was on display in the classroom so students were able to work through, with the teacher on where they were at, expectations and where to next.  

Diane Henderson

I have lived in Kerikeri for 5 years, spent 3yrs as Facilitator for a group of 5 schools in and around Kerikeri and am now Facilitating a cluster of 12 schools in the Kaikohe and Hokianga area