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Last year I attended ECIS November Conference in Nice with a group of colleagues from my school. On the first day of the conference, I attended a full day workshop by Dr. Lesley Fern Snowball on Critical Thinking Skills in an Inquiry-based Classroom. We started the workshop by discussing why we should include thinking skills in our curriculum. The ability to think critically, creatively and compassionately is of fundamental importance as:
- A tool for an inquiry-based curriculum
- An essential life skill
- A fundamental element of global citizenship.
Lesley pointed out that the 3 C s have become 4 in the 21st century:
1- CRITICAL THINKING: Thinking deeply, analyzing.
KEY QUESTION: What does this really mean?
2- CREATIVE THINKING: Thinking broadly.
KEY QUESTION: What are the alternatives?
3- COMPASSIONATE THINKING: Thinking considerably.
KEY QUESTION: How will this affect others?
4- COLLABORATIVE THINKING: Thinking collectively.
KEY QUESTION: How do my ideas interact with those of others?
You can download this poster in its original size by visiting Mentoring Minds website.
During the workshop, Lesley emphasized teaching thinking skills explicitly to make learners aware of themselves as ‘thinkers’ and how they process/create knowledge by learning to learn (metacognition). She also focused on the significance of using graphic organizers as the human brain naturally looks for connections between old and new information and processes information most efficiently in chunks. She recommended using De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats and Bloom’s Taxonomy across all grade levels to improve high level thinking skills.
In the afternoon session, we first did a jigsaw reading activity on Cinderella. Then she teamed us in groups of six and asked us to discuss whether Cinderella should leave or stay when the clock struck twelve. Each team member put on one of De Bono’s thinking hats to analyze the situation from a different perspective. You can try this activity with your primary students to help them learn how to use De Bono’s thinking hats.
Here you can see some of the handouts from the workshop Lesley kindly shared with us. Enjoy:)