‘Give Students a thought for a day and they’ll learn for a day. Teach them to think and they’ll learn for a lifetime.’
- David Hyerle -
St. MacNissi’s is one of only two schools in N. Ireland to have achieved an Accreditation as a ‘Thinking School’ from the University of Exeter. By adopting a whole school approach to the teaching of thinking; embedding thinking in the heart of our school and its curriculum, has many educational benefits.
What we have noticed is that, for our pupils Thinking Maps have been quite amazing. The children enjoy using the strategies and show:-
High levels of motivation in their work
An increase in their ability to manage their own learning
More confidence in risk taking
When they were asked to describe what Thinking Maps meant to them they said:-
‘Thinking Maps are the paper of my mind…’
Through our planning we support our children’s thinking by introducing strategies linked with ‘Assessment for Learning’, and three thinking tools; David Hyerle’s ’Thinking Maps’, Edward De Bono’s ‘Thinking Hats’ and ‘Philosophy for Children. The strategies are used throughout the school to develop and organise the children’s Mathematical and Literacy ideas and language and they empower the pupils to produce their own thinking in a unique and valuable way.
Have you ever met someone and wondered why it is that you can recall their face but can’t quite remember their name? Well we shouldn’t be surprised. Eric Jensen in his book, Brain Based Learning, (1996) told us that 90% of all information that comes into our brain is visual. Many studies have demonstrated the powerful effect that visual representations have on learning and memory.
Traditionally we have asked children to give answers in a very linear form, writing in sentences and paragraphs. Despite encouraging our students to ‘plan first’ before embarking on an answer we have seldom given them the tools to organise their thoughts.
What we have noticed is that, for our pupils Thinking Maps have been quite amazing. Children are empowered to produce their own thinking in a unique and valuable way. When they were asked to describe what Thinking Maps meant to them they said, ‘Thinking Maps are the paper of my mind…’
The Six Thinking Hats
The Six Thinking Hats is a time-tested, proven and practical Thinking Tool. It provides a framework to help pupils think clearly and thoroughly by directing their thinking attention in one direction at a time--facts, creativity, benefits, cautions, feelings, and process.
Each hat is a different colour which signals the thinking ingredient. In a group setting each pupil thinks using the same thinking hat, at the same time, on the same challenge.
It enables each pupil’s unique point of view to be included and considered.
Argument and endless discussion become a thing of the past.