Year 11 student: ‘we all have our own ways of thinking but Thinking Skills lessons mean you look at other ways of thinking that help you to re-form your own thinking.’

Do you empathise with these Penny Dropping Moments?

Year 10 student: ‘it has helped make me listen to others and to make group decisions which would keep everyone happy. It has made me change my opinion by taking into account what other people think.’ Teacher describing Classification: I liked this approach, as an English teacher, as I feel it demystifies text for some students – you have the license to rearrange information until you get an understanding. Teacher describing Maps from Memory in a way that shows it’s a fun activity whilst leading to the development of understanding about an aspect of English: …it was clear that they could see that in a media text, the position of the information is key to its impact. Some students felt that developing their understanding of the position allowed them to think about the impact more effectively. And later, ‘the focus in English is not to reproduce but to analyse and explore media texts when we ask students to create their own texts. It is with this objective that they show a full understanding of how media texts are constructed. In retrospect, I feel that this activity links the teaching styles of modelling and analysing within the same task.’ Teacher on Taboo and the whole school impact: ‘one of the key benefits of an activity like Taboo is that it gets students to explore and experiment with subject specific language. Because of this it is an ideal tool to utilise in terms of cross-curricular literacy. Colleagues in school have been using it in this subject-specific way but we have also been exploring its use for more generic terminology. For example the language of exams: Explain, comment, describe and so on – to get students to explore the exact meanings of those instructions and what they may mean in different subject contexts.‘

Changing world of the teacher: ‘it is hard to let go of your control over student responses, especially where some teachers feel a tension between having to cover curriculum content and then developing a more rounded learner. We have had to learn to resist intervening in this way and to accept a range of answers and thinking whilst developing strategies to utilise these responses to enhance the learning within lessons. In an activity, students may seem to be going off track, for example in a classification activity they may not be selecting the categories that we want to see or predicted as outcomes. Because it may have been in our past model of good teaching, the temptation is to intervene and ‘put it right’. We have learned that we need to avoid this, you need to be ‘mentally sitting on your hands’ and must not interfere.

166pp A4 ISBN:1 899857 60 5

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