Thinking Through Primary Teaching will help you to develop your pupils’ thinking skills with regards to their own learning. Achieving this successfully will help you to raise the academic standards in your primary class, and in the process, aid your pupils in becoming more effective learners

Developing children’s thinking and understanding of their own learning is a key factor in effective primary teaching. By encouraging your pupils to think about their learning, you will help them to grow into effective learners. So how can you achieve this successfully? Thinking Through Primary Teaching by Steve Higgins with Viv Baumfield can help.

Teaching your pupils how to develop their thinking skills will help raise standards in the short term, and in the longer term help pupils to become effective learners. Learning needs to be discussed, nurtured and celebrated. Pupils will then realise that their teacher may have taught them, but they have done the learning! The ideas and suggestions are exciting, engaging and challenging for pupils – as well as invigorating for teachers.

All material in this book has been developed, tried and tested by a large number of classroom teachers which ensures it is practical and appropriate for today’s primary classroom.

Thinking Through Primary Teaching will provide you with the following.

  • Practical starting points to develop more effective teaching.

  • Engaging activities to get pupils talking about learning, and thinking about thinking.

  • Effective strategies for wider application throughout the curriculum.

  • Exemplars in different curriculum subjects.

  • Approaches consistent with the Primary National Strategy, though they develop learning in and beyond such lessons.

  • A catalyst for more creative teaching and learning.

  • Informal assessment activities of children’s understanding.

  • Many manageable opportunities to infuse thinking in the primary classroom.

  • Knowledge of what works and why.

  • The opportunity for children to see themselves as successful learners.


  • Thinking Through Primary Teaching: Introduction
  • Levels of Use
  • Principles of Teaching Thinking
  • Strategies and Approaches – an overview


  • Introducing the Strategies
  • Odd One Out
  • Fortune Lines and Living Graphs
  • Mysteries
  • Writing Frames


  • Developing the Approaches
  • Creating a Community of Enquiry
  • Developing mental calculation strategies through metacognition
  • Using ICT to support thinking and reasoning

Effective Teaching and Teaching Thinking

  • Making it work: effective professional development
  • Metacognition and learning
  • Creating resources with ICT
  • Information on the Internet
  • Further reading

The Author Steve Higgins has taught in a number of first and primary schools at KS1 and KS2. He is now a member of the Primary PGCE team at the University of Newcastle where he has been a key member of the Thinking Skills Research Centre, alongside David Leat.

ISBN:1 899857 39 7

Published 2001

Editor: David Leat

Authors: Steve Higgins and Viv Baumfield