Thinking Science and the importance of critical thinking
- On 21-06-2013
Rachel Grieve in her article recently in The Conversation discussed the importance of spreading the scientific thinking skills across the curriculum. And as researchers and teachers realise the more that we develop the cognitive abilities of students the more they can become independent learners and drive the learning.
However, the biggest barrier to implementation is not in recognising that developing students to be meta-cognitive is important but in the HOW. How could schools go about structuring their learning to have this happen? What could be some of the approaches that schools could embed to support the development of critical thinking, resilience and grit? I have put together some references, workshops and articles to start you on your way.
The University of Western Australia has developed the Cognitive Acceleration through Science Education (CASE) program which is an intervention program design to specifically develop cognitive abilities in students. The program is based on five principles: Concrete preparation, Cognitive Conflict, Social Construction, Meta-cognition, and Bridging. The evidence base for Thinking Science Australia shows a noticeable improvement in students’ ability, not only in Science but in English and Mathematics also.
Mt Alvernia College in Kedron, QLD has been implementing the Thinking Science program with their Year 8 students for the past few years and will be running a two day workshop on August 1 and 2 in Brisbane for all interested parties. The two days will involve hands on practice and training in “using cues and questioning to engage and facilitate student-based conversation and to promote intrinsic learning” and all the practicalities of how to develop a thinking environment. You can find out more information here.
This is a brilliant website reflects the work of Tait Smoogen and his foundation on developing extraordinary learning environments. Tait is in the midst of unpacking the principles of what leads to extraordinary teachers and extraordinary learners. What he has identified thus far include: The Power of the Puzzle, Deep Observation, Meta-Active Thinking, Talk-it-out, and Co-Constructing the Curriculum.
There are also a range of articles that are worth reading which flesh out this area