Focused Implementation – three pathways
We have discovered over the past ten years that most school leadership drive teams have created Action Plans that have focused on one of three practical, student-centered pathways that have a proven, significant positive impact on thinking, learning and teaching: Visual Tools for Thinking (including Thinking Maps®), or Dispositions for Mindful (including Habits of Mind®), or Questioning for Inquiry. The drive team takes direction from colleagues who have experienced these different approaches during the Growing Thinking Schools workshop. Focusing on only one pathway initially, is essential because we have also discovered that trying to implement a wide variety of tools, strategies, models and techniques is counter productive: it becomes disjointed and overwhelms everyone.
Here are summary descriptions of each of the three pathways we recommend, each of which is student-centered. This means that teachers immediately teach students how to apply these tools to content learning and the long term development of their thinking abilities.
Visual Tools for Thinking (including Thinking Maps®) for explicitly developing students’ abilities at every level (pre-school to university) for applying thinking processes, second language development, facilitating metacognition. This pathway directly improves content learning, reading and writing in all academic areas using the integration of visual, verbal, and spatial learning modalities. The Thinking Maps® language was first formally developed in 1990 and now is used around the world.
Dispositions for Mindfulness (including Habits of Mind®) for explicitly developing 16 dispositions for mediating and improving students’ problem solving, Emotional Intelligence (social/emotional learning), creativity, and qualities of character such as perseverance, metacognition, decreasing impulsivity and dealing with uncertainty. The Habits of Mind dispositions model has evolved over the past 30 years by Drs. Art Costa and Bena Kallick.
Questioning for Inquiry (including the RAP Model®) for Building a Community of Inquiry for explicitly developing student-centered questioning, compassion for others, cooperative learning, creativity and reflectiveness based on integrating several models. The authors of this approach bring together approaches drawn from decades of research on high quality questioning based on the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy, research based collaborative structures, and fundamental tenets of philosophical enquiry grounded in everyday classroom practice in the “cognitive age”.
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