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About Thinking Schools International

Thinking Schools International (TSI) was established in 2010 and was a partnership between Designs for Thinking in the US and Kestrel Education in the UK.  


The aim – to facilitate a whole school approach to the development of students’ thinking processes, dispositions, and problem solving for organizations across the globe who are committed to develop "student centered" 21st Century Thinking and Learning. 


As of April 2018, TSI is under the leadership of Dr. David Hyerle and the team at Designs for Thinking in the US. Our team has a 30 year history as a group of educational consultants, curriculum writers, authors and researchers that have been implementing Thinking Maps™ and software in learning communities, from pre-kindergarten through high school, including a focus on leadership for developing 21st Century Learning across whole schools. 


TSI facilitates and manages training in various countries for different educational organizations from single schools to whole districts, and countries. For example, TSI has worked closely with the Malaysian government to implement the iTHINK program, which include TSI resources and design across all 10,000 schools.  This include an online support program for all 10,000 schools, in coordination with 10 model sites for in-depth trainings and Training of Trainers. 



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Thinking around the globe


The evolution of education over the past 100 years from a static view of intelligence and brain development, rote learning and the focus on the “banking” system of imparting knowledge toward the dynamic facilitation and mediation of thinking across whole schools has been slow.  In the mid-1950s and even earlier, pioneers in the fields of psychology and education offered a vision of schools based on principles of collaborative classrooms and a vision of explicitly developing the minds of every learner.  With the rapid shift in global travel, communication, and new technologies in this new century—and the new brain research showing the dynamic plasticity of human development—the vision of Thinking Schools International matches the needs of our time, and of the future of the children around the world.

Over the past 30 years of accumulated evidence across whole schools, it is clear that there is a range of important elements for framing an effective Thinking School. There is an intentional, explicit, and long-term commitment to a process of teaching FOR, OF, and ABOUT thinking as described by Dr. Art Costa through his vision of "A Schools as a Home for the Mind."

Thinking Schools International grew out of the lifetime of work by Dr David Hyerle in the field of cognitive education and  by a small group of educational consultants beginning in 2004 and led by Kestrel Consulting in the UK.  Dr. Bob Burden, a long time educator and research in the field of thinking development, and Director of the Cognitive Centre at Exeter University, soon became interested in the work.  Kestrel offered schools a range of professional development approaches to the teaching of thinking, while the Cognitive Centre became a institution for assessing and certifying schools as Thinking Schools.  During the same span of time, Dr. David Hyerle from the United States, an international leader in the field of thinking process development through Thinking Maps® and other approaches, formed a non-profit organization Thinking Foundation with a primary focus on how to transform whole school communities toward a focus on cognitive, creative, and critical thinking along with dispositions/Habits of Mind and collaborative/social emotional learning.  In 2010, as the number of schools in the UK in the Thinking Schools network grew into the hundreds and the number of schools accredited by the Cognitive Centre grew to over 40, it became clear to all that the idea of formalizing the facilitation of Thinking Schools internationally was a worthy and viable venture.  Thinking Schools International, LLC was formed by in 2011 with support of colleagues in the UK and US. 

Of course, the historical antecedents to Thinking Schools International are many and varied as you will discover as you explore this website and engage with your colleagues. 


Dr. Hyerle's nonprofit organization, Thinking Foundation, now offers the exclusive Thinking Schools Accreditation Process (TSAP) for Thinking Schools International.


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