Creating Thinking Classrooms:Leading Educational Change for a 21st Century World has got me well, thinking about thinking. We all want to enable our learners to be critical thinkers and we can all agree that this is essential to providing our students with an authentic education that will prepare them for a rapidly shifting, increasingly digitally challenging world. We want the public to have confidence that we are providing our students with the skills necessary to be active, well-prepared citizens who can flourish in the post-secondary world, but what we can’t seem to agree on is how to go about doing all of this.
The questions remain: What does a 21st century classroom look like? How do we teach critical thinking?
Creating thinking Classrooms, written by Garfield Gini-Newman, and Roland Case provides the reader with a sound understanding of what a thinking classroom is and how to support the entire system in embracing the change needed to create these environments.
Creating Thinking Classrooms is based on 5 key principles that will support the change necessary to foster rich, thinking classrooms:
- Engage students
- Sustain Inquiry
- Nurture self-regulated learners
- Create assessment-rich learning
- Enhance learning through digital technology
Worried that this book is yet another item to be added onto all the other “musts” we have to do in our classrooms and in our spheres of influences? Refreshingly, what is made clear throughout the book is that the principles, and strategies are not the new “next” in Ontario education. This is not a new, shiny initiative that teachers are expected to learn and implement in their classrooms. The strategies discussed in the book are based on the same pedagogies that are currently in use as best practices in our classrooms today. The authors don’t advocate for scrapping everything we know about teaching, but rather they provide support to enhance current practice to align with current system goals. By honouring teachers’ professional voice, creating thinking classrooms has the potential for scalability across systems.
To achieve their goals, the authors stress the importance of relationships and conversations not only among educators at all levels who are involved in creating a shift in thinking and professional culture, but also with students in the classroom as well. When our students are at the forefront of these conversations we are always headed in the right direction.
The moral imperative is clear, and now the work begins on providing the opportunities and environments for thinking about thinking to happen.
Click here for my visible learning on Creating Thinking Classrooms