Inquiry and Thinking
Inquiry and Thinking
This paragraph strikes a chord with me:
“In most school settings, educators have focused more on the completion of work and assignments than on a true development of understanding. Although this work can, if designed well, help foster understanding, more often than not its focus is on the replication of skills and knowledge, some new and some old. Classroom are too often places of “tell and practice.” The teacher tells the students what is important to know or do and then has them practice that skill or knowledge. In such classrooms, little thinking is happening. Teachers in such classrooms are rightly stumped when asked to identify the kinds of thinking they want to do because there is ‘t any to be found in much of the work they give students. Retention of information through rote practice isn’t learning; it is training.”
The opposite is also a problem, that is when the class is full of activity, but the students don’t really understand the point of the activities.
In order to understand thinking requires:
1. Observing closely and describing what’s there
2. Building explanations and interpretations
3. Reasoning with evidence
4. Making connections
5. Considering different viewpoints and perspectives
6. Capturing the heart and forming conclusions
And two additional thinking moves;
7. Wondering and asking questions
8. Uncovering complexity and going below the surface of things.
Additional types of thinking that are useful in the areas of problem solving, decision making, and forming judgments include:
1. Identifying patterns and making generalisations
2. Generating possibilities and alternatives
3. Evaluating evidence, arguments, and actions
4. Formulating plans and monitoring actions
5. Identifying claims, assumptions, and bias
6. Clarifying priorities, conditions, and what is known
Our morning routine is working really well at the moment. Students are rostered to run the procedure where they say “Good Morning” to each student and mark the roll, go through the daily schedule, check that jobs have been done for the day, and then review learning by asking questions.
Usually the Manager for the day asks questions relating to multiplication facts. The answers are crossed off on a 0-100 sheet. Recently we have expanded this by including challenges such as, ‘Write a complex sentence using the word…(while).’ Today we expanded this further by getting students to underline the independent clause in the complex sentence!
It is working very well, especially since we introduced the idea of bringing student Assessment Folders and a white board marker down to the floor, so that each child does the thinking and recording.
The organiser poses the question, watches to see most students respond by recording their answers on their folder (with their whiteboard marker) and then pulls a popstick out of the box with a student’s name on it. In this way each child is active in the thinking process and one student calls out the answer. Each student gets a turn as the procedure is followed until all popsticks have been used.
Here is a great graphic representation which outlines the type of thinking at each level of the SOLO taxonomy.