"I've Been Thinking" was the title of those a poorly titled book by a politician. I went to a meeting today organised by a couple of colleagues about thinking and more importantly the teaching of it to my Y9 class. I am pretty enthusiastic about this focus and I thought I would blog about it so as to clarify my thinking. (is reflective thinking a style?)
Lateral v creative
Lateral thinking needs the thinker to look outside the square. Sometimes called 'helicopter thinking' it needs a wee bit of suspension of rules so your brain can nonjudgmentally create options. But is it creative thinking?
Lateral thinking is a problem-solving thinking style. In fact I think three of the thinking styles our school "posterizes" are problem solving (analytical, logical and lateral), the fourth, meta-cognition, is not problem solving but seems a fundamental skill if you're going to be aware of what thinking style you're employing.
Have we got a problem solving bent to our thinking focus because of the way we set up the styles (a group of GnT students working with a Science teacher)? Or is thinking defined by the way it solves problems? If that's the case what is the creativity of the poet, the artists or the sculptor? Can artistic creativity be taught? If you wanted to take a arty photo you would need to know what parameters you had at your disposal to manipulate but perhaps that's analytical thinking? Lots of questions!
Types of thinking
So the "unknown" (the GnT students who first come up with Mackenzie's MALL (metacognition, analytical, logical, lateral)) came up with four styles. What did they sift out? I have become aware that I do teach thinking but implicitly not explicitly; are there other types of thinking I am implicitly teaching? I'll try and be aware of what the students are being asked to do to see as well as do some literature search.
How do you teach thinking? We got talking about graphic organisers and http://www.nctt.net looks like a site to explore.
More later as the focus develops. Comment is free and welcome!