‘Thinking students’ require ‘thinking teachers!’

For a number of years I have been trying to implement tasks that increase my students thinking and collaboration. One observation I have made is that introducing tasks that increases the depth of student thinking also requires deeper thought from the teacher. This was highlighted to me when I started including what I thought were fairly simple thinking tasks into a departments’ teaching program. I had very experienced teachers coming to me declaring in exasperation ‘that they couldn’t do the task how could we expect students to do it?’

One invaluable resource I find inspiration for these tasks is from the Innovative teachers’ companion (ITC). The ITC has thinking tools, explanations and examples scattered through its diary on a weekly basis. I have used the ITC diary for several years and have over time developed a number of tasks and approaches that have benefited the learning in my classes.  My personal application of theses thinking tools has been accelerated lately by subscribing to TeacherPD Online, produced by the same guys as the ITC it provides short videos on all the thinking tools and collaborative strategies fond in the companion, as well as templates and examples. The examples provided span all the key learning areas. The videos clearly explain the tasks in a way that writing them up in a program never could, and are invaluable to teachers that are trying to develop greater thinking in their students. Teachers will still be required to think deeply themselves about what they are trying to achieve. I often find that the most useful examples come from outside my own area of expertise, as they push my own thinking further.

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