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TSI Trainer Certification

Levels of TSI Training and Expertise

TSI strongly believes in facilitation and working in collaboration with our school partners and regional trainers to ensure that we all sustain the integrity of our purpose and the high quality of our change processes.  At every level of our training and certification process, every person has a clear road map and support resources for where they are going – with access to the expanding TSI resources and network.

Embedded in our training courses, guides and certification processes, is the use of research on learning and thinking.  All of our trainers follow the Learning Pyramid for engagement shown below and included in our Growing Thinking Students guide.  A very high percentage of the training we provide is focused on “discussion”, “practice by doing” and “immediate use” of strategies and models for thinking.

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Here are the four levels of Thinking School International Training Certification:

Level 1 - Participant Certification

Participants are people who have attended the 2-day training course/seminar using “Growing Thinking Students" guide. This seminar is normally attended by a whole school faculty or groups of educators who are interested in transforming their school into a Thinking School. Participants learn about the vision of Thinking Schools, specific and practical “starting points” for getting started in classrooms, and begin the planning process for creating their own vision of a multi-year plan of implementation. Each participant receives a TSI Certification of Participation in the 2-day professional development seminar.

Level 2 - Regional Facilitator

Regional Facilitators are certified to conduct the 2 day “Growing Thinking Students” seminar with the required use of our GTS guide for individual schools.  These Regional Facilitators have gained a Certification of Participation as a Participant (Level 1) and have successfully attended a 3 day “TSI Facilitator’s Training Course” led by a National or Global Trainer using the TSI Facilitators Guide.   This Level 2 Facilitator’s Training Certification enables a person to lead the 2 day seminar in their specific region (typically within a local area, state or province).  Certification is given to educators who demonstrate a mastery of the content of the seminar and a capacity to facilitate groups of educators (not simply to conduct training) at a high quality level. All of our trainers are mindful of the research on high quality facilitation and change processes.  The Regional Facilitator is required to work closely with the National Trainer (and/or a TSI partner representing us in different countries around the world).

Level 3 - National Trainer

National Trainers have successfully completed Levels 1 and 2 Certification and have demonstrated to TSI Directors that they have the knowledge base and capacity to facilitate, and model, high quality training.  A National Trainer—beyond completion of Level 1 and 2–must successfully complete a 4 day National Trainer course (or mentorship) led by a TSI Global Trainer, submit a portfolio of work demonstrating effective facilitation processes with at least one Thinking School, and gain a letter of recommendation from an existing  TSI Global Trainer who has observed their work.  National Trainers may conduct trainings at Levels 1 and 2 within a specific country or wider area only in coordination with TSI and licensees in that area.

Level 4 - Global Trainer

TSI Global Trainers have demonstrated a unique capacity to facilitate and train educators at Levels 1-3.  Importantly, they have shown a deep commitment to the work of TSI around the world by offering their insights (and time) to improving the TSI processes and exhibit a focus on their own and others’ continuous learning.  At present, TSI Global Trainers are those people who are intimately involved in the development of the content and processes of the “Growing Thinking Schools” Participants’ Guide and Facilitators’ Guides and training processes at each level.  They have become experts in the facilitation of Thinking Schools initiatives.  TSI Global Trainers are certified to conduct LEVEL 1-3 training in any country around the world in coordination with our representatives in different countries.

Clarity of Purpose and Guidelines for our Facilitators around the World

A step at a time: Our Role as Facilitators of Thinking

Most professional development groups focus on improving teaching, learning, and leadership by “training” people in a single program and then move on, or what is called 1st order change.  Every year educators receive workshops and online training courses that also helps them initiate new practices.  While we do offer training in specific programs and approaches, we also have a more “big picture” role. We see our role as facilitators in the process of working with you as YOU transform over multiple years toward becoming a Thinking School.  This is third order change as shown in this excerpt from our Growing Thinking Students guide:

Orders of Change

Our approach as facilitators occurs over time and is adaptive to your needs. 


Here are some basic guidelines we have set for ourselves and all facilitators who are certified around the world under the banner of TSI.

  • We are facilitators of the thinking and planning for each school.

  • As facilitators certified by Thinking Schools International, we are guides and offer our collective background, experiences and knowledge to help schools plan their own path over time as an ever-evolving Thinking School.

  • We do not believe that there is only one way to becoming a Thinking School.

  • Each school will create its own unique design for the ever-evolving process or journey toward a vision of a Thinking School.

  • We, as facilitators, may have answers to many of the questions we are asked—and when we don’t have a solution or answer–we will actively seek out our links to experts in the field for their views.

  • What we DON’T have is a solution for what your school “should” look like. This does not fit with the purpose of our work.

  • We strongly believe in the interdependency and networking Thinking Schools so we all share the “practice” of Thinking Schools, qualitative and quantitative research, and the development of new ways of approaching this work. 

We believe in the transfer of knowledge, so we have developed pathways for training and certification for individuals and school systems, organizations, and whole countries to develop their own Thinking Schools facilitators using our training guides.

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