On a recent visit to a London primary school I asked a Y6 pupil 'Is there a difference between thinking and learning?'. He thought for several moments and then said that there is a difference. Thinking is where he makes his mistakes and learning is what happens when he reflects on these mistakes. Metacognition is currently being talked about more frequently and here was an example of a pupil whose metacognition is well developed.
Recently we held our annual conference. The two days were filled with sharing ideas and experiences with delegates from six countries alongside teachers from many UK schools. Our three keynote speakers, Professors Paul Howard-Jones and Ruth Luckin and author Alistair McConville gave us much to think about (you can see a review here) and the sixteen workshops, mostly led by teachers, were all well received. There was a wonderful buzz and energy throughout the two days and already schools have been in touch to arrange the start of their whole-school approach to the teaching of thinking.
Onto news from overseas - we recently signed a partnership agreement with Hallagerbakken Skole in Norway and training with their team has begun. This continues in August and by September they will be training in other Norwegian schools (you can see an update here). In Thailand our partner has arranged sponsorship from corporate companies to provide training in nine pilot schools and the first one has now become a hub school within its region. In Lithuania training is taking place in several schools and we have been hosting visits to UK school with more in the pipeline.
There appears to be a general shift in attitude towards the role of 'thinking' taking place in many countries.
In China there is considerable demand amongst parents for their children
to develop a range of previously undeveloped skills and schools are now having to take this into account. Our Chinese partner, Garmen Chan from Moonshot Thinking, is finding that there is an increasing interest to develop thinking skills in many schools. She has started to hold weekend workshops focusing on the development of thinking skills which are very popular and already heavily oversubscribed.
This shift can be seen elsewhere and several countries have been
looking at their curricula as they recognise that young people need a
range of skills and dispositions if they are to take their place in
society and contribute to the economic well-being of the country.
Closer to home we have been working with Danescourt Primary School in Cardiff to provide support to schools in preparation for the new Welsh curriculum. For several years Danescourt has been a Thinking School accredited by the University of Exeter and it now has a team of Thinking Matters accredited trainers who are training teachers in the Thinking School approach across the city. The new Welsh curriculum places much greater emphasis on the development of the whole child including their cognitive skills - the Thinking School approach complements this emphasis perfectly.
Finally we have recently launched our Membership package and also an Induction programme for teachers moving to a thinking school. Details are on our website as is the list of Deep Dive Days which are opportunities to build on existing practice and expertise. Take a look ...