Right from page one, the authors of Making Thinking Visible challenge what we know about thinking in our classrooms. When posed with the question, “What kinds of thinking do you value and promote in your classroom?” I admit I was a bit stumped. I immediately thought of questioning. The idea to question students to get them thinking and leading them to answers rather than just answering the question, but that seemed too simplistic. I then thought of Bloom’s and Depth of Knowledge questions but knew they had to be talking about more.
What I love about this introductory chapter is that it emphasizes that thinking is an action, something we have to teach the students to do and recognize when they are doing it. The authors challenge us in the first pages of the book to ask our students about their thinking by posing the question, when you think “what goes on in your head?” then have students complete a concept map (an activity I will be incorporating this fall – great activity for teachers and students). As I read through this section, I wondered what my middle school students would have written? I’m a firm believer in telling students what they are learning (essential questions and objectives) and the specific standard they are working on, but how often did I discuss the types of thinking they were expected to do? Sadly, not very often.
One AhHa moment I had from this chapter is that thinking is not sequential. Both Blooms and Depth of Knowledge questions lead you to believe that thinking is leveled – you have to do one before you do another. As I stopped and really thought about learning a new task, I could quickly see how the thinking steps involved were a back and forth from Bloom’s lower level thinking (comprehension) to higher level understanding (application). It is not a one and done but a continuous thinking, learning, understanding.
As we explore the next chapters of this book, I look forward to learning how I can help students understand their own thinking. After all, isn’t the goal of education to prepare students for the future? What is more important for their future than to teach them how to think and problem solve.?
Please leave a comment below to let me know your thoughts!