What Makes a Thinking School?
The late Professor Burden, University of Exeter, looks at Thinking Schools and provides a fuller definition of what it means to be a Thinking School...
‘Perhaps a more pertinent question is ‘what is a non-thinking school?’ Isn’t thinking a key component of most learning and isn’t student learning the primary function of all schools? Unfortunately, a great deal of evidence would appear to indicate that a significant proportion of pupils pass through their 15,000 hours of schooling without being required to do much real thinking at all. External tests and examinations are prepared for and passed at every level by means of drills and rote-memory exercises with the result that a great deal of superficial information may have been accumulated without any reflection on its value or the meaning. Meanwhile, the notion of an autonomous (and group orientated) learner and problem-solver has been completely lost.
The point here is not to blame schools, overwhelmed by the demands of covering a largely content-based curriculum and the potential costs of failing to do well in Ofsted inspections…’.
Our suggestion is that there is a viable alternative which has its foundation in a return to the purpose of producing educated citizens of the world. The indications are that placing cognition at the heart of the education enterprise and developing ways of establishing explicit links between critical and creative thinking and high quality autonomous learning and pro-social behaviour can have enormous benefits for the students, the ethos of the schools, and for the wider community.