Visible Thinking: Discover the Power of Thinking Routines

Table of Contents

Description

Critical thinking is a vital competence in the 21st century. The accelerating changes and ubiquitous digital surroundings have transformed how we access information, communicate, and learn.

With a huge amount of information just one click away, our classrooms need to provide students with enough opportunities to develop their thinking skills for comprehensive and autonomous deep learning, now more than ever.

However, thinking is, in general, an invisible process. We rarely get to “see” our students’ thinking process, rather only the results of their thinking. Therefore, to cultivate the competence of critical thinking, an important question for teachers is how to make this invisible process visible.

Making the process visible provides teachers with better opportunities to help students handle their way of thinking and build good thinking habits.

During this course, you will learn how to make the thinking process visible to facilitate your students’ cognitive engagement and understanding. Visible thinking is a research-based approach to deepen content learning and cultivate students’ thinking skills and dispositions.

Thinking routines are simple, but powerful tools that help visualize the thinking processes through a variety of graphic organizers. It has been widely used in different countries, among different subjects and levels, proven to be effective in enhancing student engagement and learning.

During this course, you will gain an understanding of the benefits of visible thinking in promoting deep learning. You will learn some practical classroom thinking routines to promote active and higher-level thinking that is visible to both you and your students.

This course uses the learning by doing approach: you will have the opportunity to practice using the thinking routines, and learn from reflecting and discussing the experience.

Last but not least, you will have a chance to reflect and discuss the opportunities and potential struggles of creating an environment that fosters and supports an active culture of thinking to learn in your classrooms.

By the end of this course, you will have gained a thorough understanding of the strengths of the visible thinking approach. You will be able to use the thinking routines in your classroom to make thinking visible to you and your students. Finally, you will be capable of supporting your students in the process of becoming critical and independent thinkers and problem-solvers, which will enable them to be responsible citizens in the 21st century.

Concept by: Pui Ying Law

Learning outcomes

The course will help the participants to:

  • Explore simple yet powerful thinking routines that make thinking visible in their classrooms;
  • Experience and practice the thinking routines firsthand;
  • Facilitate deep learning through the power of visible thinking;
  • Discuss the opportunities and potential struggles to promote thinking routines in their classrooms.

Tentative schedule

Day 1 – Introduction to the course

  • Introduction to the course, the school, and the external week activities;
  • Icebreaker activities;
  • Presentations of the participants’ schools.

Why visible thinking?

  • Goal setting: Generate personal/ and professional goals to be achieved in the course, and evaluate personal progress toward those goals;
  • Unpacking thinking: What is thinking? How is it related to effective learning?
  • The research-proven benefits of visible thinking for students’ engagement and understanding.

Day 2 – How to make thinking visible?

  • Evaluate current school practices of providing students with opportunities to think and describe strategies;
  • Discuss and explore: What if questioning, listening, and documenting are the prioritized activities of teaching instead of delivering curriculum?
  • What are thinking routines? What are they for?
  • An introduction to the 6 categories of thinking routines.

Day 3 – Thinking routines for understanding

  • Thinking routines for introducing and exploring ideas;
  • Thinking routines for synthesizing and organizing ideas;
  • Thinking routines for digging deeper into ideas;
  • Thinking routine practice workshop.

Day 4 – Thinking routines for engagement

  • Thinking routines for engaging with others;
  • Thinking routines for engaging with ideas;
  • Thinking routines for engaging with actions;
  • Thinking routine practice workshop.

Day 5 – Mindsets and skills of visible thinking practitioner

  • Common pitfalls and struggles when practicing visible thinking approach;
  • Exploring opportunities in bringing thinking routines to classroom practices;
  • Mindsets and skills to effectively engage students to make their thinking visible.

Day 6 – Course closure & cultural activities

  • Course evaluation: round up of acquired competences, feedback, and discussion;
  • Awarding of the course Certificate of Attendance;
  • Excursion and other external cultural activities.

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