Thinking Schools International Growing thinking schools from the inside out

About Thinking Schools International

Thinking Schools International (TSI) was established in 2010 and is a partnership between Kestrel Education in the UK and Designs for Thinking in the US.  The aim – to facilitate a whole school approach to the development of students’ thinking skills for organisations across the globe who are committed to develop 21st Century Learning.


Kestrel Education, working in partnership with the Cognitive Education Development Unit at the University of Exeter in the UK,  developed the whole school approach to the teaching of thinking and thinking skills.  This approach was strongly influenced by the work of Gill Hubble during her time as Associate Principal at St Cuthbert’s College, Auckland, New Zealand. Schools in the UK have been taking a whole-school approach leading to raised attainment, improved motivation, concentration and independent learning. The culture in schools has changed to one where teacher and students work together and place thinking at the heart of the curriculum. As the Executive Headteacher of Rochester Grammar School, Denise Shepherd, says ‘this approach has transformed the way we work at Rochester Grammar School’.

Designs for Thinking is a group of education consultants implementing Thinking Maps and software in learning communities, from pre-kindergarten through high school, including a focus on leadership and a desire to develop 21st Century Learning. Kestrel and Designs for Thinking crossed paths from as early as 2005, and the relationship began to grow.  Before long, it became clear to all that the idea of formalizing the facilitation of Thinking Schools internationally was a worthy and viable venture.  For more detail, see Origins of TSI.


Working under licence to TSI, there is now TSI Asia and Thinking Schools Ethiopia (TSE) as well as a new a partnership with two Lithuanian training agencies, Shibui Partners and Thinking Organisations, which has developed in order to build a team of 6 National Trainers to establish Thinking Schools Lithuania.  The first tranche of training for this team was undertaken in August 2014 and their work with primary schools commenced in Autumn 2014.  Additionally, we are working closely with organisations in India, Brazil, Northern Ireland, Norway and Dubai.

A major project is with the Malaysian Government where together we are aiming for all Malaysian schools become thinking schools. TSI consultants from Kestrel and Designs for Thinking have been training teachers in the schools involved in the project.

TSI facilitates and manages training in various countries for different educational organisations from single schools to whole districts. All these schools take a whole-school approach to the teaching of thinking and share good practice, resources and expertise. Within the TSI website there is a library of thinkings skills resources available to all schools in the network.



In the following video, David Hyerle and Richard Cummins introduce Thinking Schools International and consider the need for thinking skills for 21st Century Students in the Information Age

If you would like to talk to someone about this unique approach email

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