"In the context of a gathering on November 10, 2012*, nine leading voices on education and child development — Carol Dweck, Richard Gerver, Nikhil Goyal, Ken Kay, Alfie Kohn, Steven Jones, Wendy Mogel, Ken Robinson, and Yong Zhao — engaged more than 600 educators and parents from 125 private and public schools in reflection on our deepest commitments to the lives and the learning of school-aged children at school and at home. What follows is a statement of common principles — shaped by participants’ input and these leaders’ collaborative reflection and design — that may help schools and families to determine how best to support our highest aspirations for the welfare of the children in our care."
Questioning is a vital part of thinking, teaching and learning. We need to consider the purpose of every activity our students engage in while always looking to build higher level questioning into the daily routine.
Generative: Exploring the topic
• Authentic questions or wonders that teacher doesn’t know the answer to.
• Essential questions that initiate exploration of a topic
Constructive: Building New Understanding
• Extending & Interpreting
• Connecting & Linking
• Orienting and focusing on big ideas, central concepts, or purpose
Facilitative: Promotes the learner’s own thinking & understanding
1. Skills are not sufficient; we must also have the disposition to use them. Possessing thinking skills and abilities alone is insufficient for good thinking. One must also have the disposition to use those abilities. This means schools must develop students’ inclination to think and awareness of occasions for thinking as well as their thinking skills and abilities. Having a disposition toward thinking enhances the likelihood that one can effectively use one’s abilities in new situations. 2. The development of thinking and understanding is fundamentally a social endeavor, taking place in a cultural context and occurring within the constant interplay between the group and the individual. Social situations that provide experience in communicating oneʼs own thinking as well as opportunities to understand othersʼ thinking enhance individual thinking. 3. The culture of the classroom teaches. It not only sets a tone for learning, but also determines what gets learned. The messages sent through the culture of the classroom communicate to students what it means to think and learn well. These messages are a curriculum in themselves, teaching students how to learn and ways of thinking. 4. As educators, we must strive to make students thinking visible. It is only by making thinking visible that we can begin to understand both what and how our students are learning. Under normal conditions, a studentʼs thinking is invisible to other students, the teacher, and even to him/herself, because people often think with little awareness of how they think. By using structures, routines, probing questions, and documentation we can make studentsʼ thinking more visible toward fostering better thinking and learning. 5. Good thinking utilizes a variety of resources and is facilitated by the use of external tools to “download” or “distribute” oneʼs thinking. Papers, logs, computers, conversation, and various means of recording and keeping track of ideas and thoughts free the mind up to engage in new and deeper thinking. 6. For classrooms to be cultures of thinking for students, schools must be cultures of thinking for teachers. The development of a professional community in which deep and rich discussions of teaching, learning, and thinking are a fundamental part of teachersʼ ongoing experience provides the foundation for nurturing studentsʼ thinking and learning.
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