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Most teachers would be aware of the research into highly successful teaching strategies conducted over the past decades by Robert Marzano and John Hattie. Although their methodology differs, there are striking commonalities in some of the highest return strategies each identify in the research.

Hyerle and Alper (2011) argue that visual representation Thinking Maps, ‘serve as a device for mediating thinking, listening, speaking, reading, writing, problem solving, and acquiring new knowledge’.

Tony Ryan, describes 20 thinking keys that can be used with students to expand their thinking repertoire.  Like other thinking routines, these keys should be explicitly taught, as should their appropriate uses.

The concept at the core of a Habits of Mind Framework, like the ideas espoused by Edward de Bono and discussed in the previous weeks’ blogs, is that thinking or patterns of thinking and, especially, different ways of thinking are skills which can be explicitly learned and with sufficient practice become a normalised and automatised part of behaviour. Coupled with this notion is the belief that, if such patterns of thinking can be learned, so, too, can they be explicitly taught.

CoRT is a series of thinking strategies taught during thinking lessons designed to develop the ability to think in a range of different ways to suit different needs. It was developed in Cambridge University by Dr. Edward de Bono. Court strategies and tools aim to build flexibility and creativity, as well as logical and analytical approaches to problem solving.

Edward de Bono’s book, six Thinking Hats was released in 1985. De Bono soon became widely known for his development of a range of thinking strategies designed to develop lateral thinking.  His aim was to develop a range of thinking strategies to complement traditional approaches to logical thinking and so help thinkers uncover new ways of solving problems.

See-Think-Wonder is a routine for understanding complex visual sources. The purpose of this routine is to encourage students to make careful observations and ask insightful questions. It aims to stimulate curiosity and develop inquiry. By separating the two questions, What do you see? and What do you think about what you see? the routine helps students identify the difference between observations and interpretations.

Term 4 is well underway which means the school year is almost over.  For many students, Term 4 is not only academically important, it is also one of the busiest times of the year.   It is the perfect opportunity to give a last-minute boost to grades, prepare for exams and brush up on test taking skills by working with a one-on-one educator.   

Metacognition, or cognition about cognition, is the ability to reflect upon how we process our thoughts.  One important trait of academically successful individuals is their ability to employ a variety of thinking routines or strategies for different tasks.

Australia’s attitude to education and learning, that most students focus upon grades rather than the abilities or dispositions that need strengthening. Part of our job is to start by refocussing such students. As Educators, we know that a focus on external goals such as Grades is less impactful than reshaping students’ understanding of learning and the skills and dispositions required to achieve external measures.

Researchers Richard Ryan and Edward Deci, articulated the Self-Determination Theory in the 70s.  It is a theory of human motivation that argues that intrinsic motivators are  more powerful than extrinsic motivators such as rewards and punishment. Self-Determination Theory argues that classrooms should aim to ensure students satisfy three primary needs: ownership, competence, and connection.

Create a plan of attack from now (yes, this week) until the day of the examination. Break your study up into manageable daily chunks. Keep spending a little time regularly practising and studying. This could be as simple as updating vocabulary lists, or re-doing a question you couldn’t do in class. Study one subject at a designated time.

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